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St. Simons Wedding Planner :: Island Destination Weddings | RSVPs
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How To Get Guests to RSVP to Your Wedding or Event

RSVP This has to be one of the most frustrating parts of planning for brides when it comes to their weddings:  handling the RSVPs.  Some guests assume that you know they are coming so they need not send a response in.  Others are procrastinators, cards are misplaced or worst yet, they come back without a name on them. What’s a couple to do?  Your best bet is to make your guests feel like the world will utterly shatter and spontaneously combust if they do not receive your response. Okay, not that bad, but make them feel included!  It has been a staple in planning to know that the wedding invitation sets the tone for the event and prepares your guests for what is ahead.  While this is true, most couples and designers fail to put much forethought into the most important and needed card in the invitation suite:  the RSVP card.  Here are some ideas to help your RSVPs roll in: Photo RSVP Photo RSVP Card Here, your guests can see your personality and excitement, and they’ll “have to say no/yes to your face”.  Get creative enough and your guests will know there is a major party ahead. Themed RSVP Cards Themed RSVP Card Unique RSVP Cards Full Invite with RSVP attached Themed invitations, and by default the RSVP cards get people extremely excited for your wedding and event.  If you’ve put this much thought into the invitation, surely the party will be just as or even more phenomenal, right?  They are fun, clever and make an impression on your guests who will actually stop to respond. Change Up the Wording

RSVP Cards with funny wordingModern RSVP

Fun wording for whimsical RSVP Fun Options/Story on RSVP Card for WEdding Graphic Choices  with Fun wording on RSVP One way to inexpensively shake up the RSVP routine is to add your personality with the responses guests have to choose from. Go Interactive Full Interactive RSVP Card Mad Libs RSVP Cards Interactive RSVP Card Multiple Event RSVP Allow Guests to Doodle or Make Notes on RSVP Special Note to Couple on RSVP Card Let Guests Leave A Note on RSVP Card Mad Libs on RSVP Card Allow Guests to Pick Songs Music Requests on RSVP card Interaction is always fun!  Don’t believe me?  Look at the spike in photo/video booths at weddings. People love to have fun, be heard and make their mark.  Doing something as simple as adding an additional line for guests to add their favorite songs  or leaving empty space for them to leave an endearing note, words of advice or favorite recipe for a future family cookbook, involves your guests in a special way.  Want to really have fun?  Cook up the Mad Libs from your childhood as part of your RSVP and have them on display during your cocktail hour for great laughs.   Other Tips for Handing Your RSVPs Use invisible ink on the back of your RSVPs to track If the unfortunate circumstance happens where your guests forget to put their names, you can write it in invisible ink to track them later.   Another way is to number all of your RSVPs on the back and refer to that number on your master list when tracking responses. RSVP Basket to separate responses Need a way of separating your RSVPs during the process? Have basket for those who will attend and those who will send regrets. Two different RSVP Cards for Yes and No An easier method is to have two different RSVP cards– guests will choose the one with their response and send it back. For more great tips on RSVPs and your wedding, dig into ourdelicious post full of advice.

Tracking Your RSVPs Like a Pro


After you’ve selected your gorgeous wedding invitations, you now have to prepare for the onslaught of your RSVPs.  For some brides, this can be a completely harrowing process, but it doesn’t have to be if you have a plan or a wedding planner 🙂  If your wedding planner includes RSVP tracking as part of your service, take this moment to call them and profess your undying love for them.

If not, here are some tips that will help you get through the tracking process with minimal physical or emotional injury to anyone else.

First thing comes when you provide your wording for your invites and RSVPs.  Here’s a tip:

If you offer meal choices, be sure that your instructions on your RSVP card are clear.  For example, if you offer beef and chicken, and you invite Jane and Dick Doe to your wedding, and their card is marked for beef and chicken, how do you know who gets what?  Providing instructions like: “Please initial next to your meal choice”  will prevent you from having to call them and ask for their meal choices when you need to plan your place cards.

Selecting your date your RSVPs are due is essential as well.  Here’s a tip:

For most destination weddings, invitations need to be sent out 8-10 weeks prior to the wedding to allow your guests to secure accommodations and travel arrangements.  Depending on your agreement with your caterer or venue, your final count is due anywhere between 3 and 14 days prior to the wedding.  That being said, you do not want your RSVP due date to be on the day your count is due. Instead, if your due date is wedding is September 26, and your final numbers are due on the 19th of September, a good time frame for your due date would be between August 22- September 5th (and even then, I would lean towards the earlier side of that spectrum).  This is because guests will be late sending their replies and you do not want to be caught scrambling to tracking responses and hunting down those who have not responded.  If you make your RSVP date September 5th, it gives you at least a week to record any received responses and the next week can be used to track additional responses and track down stragglers.

Next, let’s talk about after you’ve received your ordered cards—it is time to think about how you will track your RSVPs when they come in.  Here’s a tip:

You can create a spreadsheet in Excel or keep track in a notebook.  There are programs out there like I Do for Couples which assists you in tracking your RSVPs.  You simply categorize your information by Title, Name, Address, Meal Choice (if applicable).  I strongly suggest that you assign an RSVP ID or number to each outgoing invitation.  Once you have made a list of all invitees and have assigned them all an RSVP ID, flip each RSVP over and write the ID on the lower right hand corner of the card.  This will save you from scaring your cat when you yell obscenities because you cannot read the name on the response card or they fail to write one in altogether (trust me, it happens).  You can simply turn it over, check the number and notate their response in your spreadsheet, program or notebook.

Get a system for tracking your RSVPs…and stick to it!  Here’s a tip:

It never fails, even if you have your system in place, there will be a few responses that will throw a monkey wrench to it.  Your RSVPs will come in daily.  Set them aside and make a point to track them every week.  Provided you have given yourself enough time between your RSVP date and the date your numbers are due to your caterer or wedding venue, you will not find yourself disgusted with the process.  You want to make sure that your final report of names is accurate as possible, as this is what you will use for your escort and place card design.  The best way to do this is to make sure your system works—take your time.  Naturally, keep your Regrets and Will Attends in separate piles. If you offer meal choices, further separate those into groups.   It makes it much easier to track the two lists later to confirm numbers.

Set your drop-dead-I’m-not-taking-any-more guests date…but don’t tell anyone!  Here’s a tip:

You want your RSVP due date to be well before the drop dead date.  This allows you some time to say to yourself, “Ok, self.  I’ve taken on all the RSVPs I am going to take and am content with my guest numbers”.  This may mean you will have to turn some late responders away.  It happens.  Remember, your numbers are due to the caterer on September 19th.  After this, more likely than not, your caterer will allow you to add additional numbers,but you will not be able to decrease your number. It is for this reason you will want to have an accurate number of who will be in attendance, and not a wishful thinking number.  Otherwise, you will find yourself paying for guests who had no intentions of showing up anyway.

There are other sticky situations to deal with:  guests that invite other guests or children (seriously, there was an instance where we received an RSVP card that said “+24”; and no, those +24 were not invited), guests who respond late or not at all, or those who are unsure of their attendance.  Consult everyone involved and make sure that you, your fiancé and parents all have a united front and what to do in these situations.

Happy Tracking!