8 Tricks to get your Wedding Guests to RSVP on time

How to get your Wedding Guests to RSVP on time is no mean feat and possibly an area of your Wedding planning that you hadn’t yet given any thought! You won’t believe the lengths you may have to go to get Wedding guests to RSVP on time, and tracking down some guests when they don’t reply, can be an incredibly time-consuming and frustrating process. RSVPs are essential for so many reasons: they let you know which of your guests will and won’t be attending your Wedding; they allow you to give a head count to your hotel and caterer and enable you to create seating plans for tables. Here are our top tips to get ahead in the RSVP game!

get your Wedding Guests to RSVP on timeAniMac


  1. Make sure the contact addresses you have are current

Make sure you gather everyone’s addresses, emails and phone numbers together early in your planning so you have them when you need to follow up on those final missing RSVPs. A simple spreadsheet will suffice or even better, we advise couples to type up addresses on labels to save and print off which can then be used again when sending out Thank You cards for gifts received after the Wedding without the need to type them all up again!


  1. Send out your invitations in plenty of time

Wedding etiquette traditionally suggests that invitations should be sent around eight weeks before the Wedding date. Most caterers or hotel managers need a final headcount around ten days to two weeks before your event so if you set your RSVP reply date for three weeks before the Wedding date, that gives a good five weeks to get your Wedding Guests to RSVP on time and still leaves you time to chase up any late responses. If you give guests more time than that, the invitation may get put aside in the ‘things to deal with later’ pile. Bear in mind, if your Stationer is designing a beautiful Seating Plan for your sit down meal, they will need names forwarded to them in plenty of time too.

get your Wedding Guests to RSVP on time

Com Bossa


  1. Be Specific on an RSVP date

Clearly word your invitation with a cut-off date for RSVPs. Some guests don’t know what RSVP means so you could consider wording it ‘Please Reply’ instead of ‘RSVP’ so there’s no ambiguity. Make sure that RSVP date is prominent on the invitation card and not jostled into a bottom corner in font size 6.

The term RSVP comes from the French expression “répondez s’il vous plaît”, meaning “please respond”. If RSVP is written on the Wedding Iinvitation it means the invited guest must tell the host whether or not they plan to attend the Wedding.

For a formal invitation, it should read, ‘The favour of a reply is requested by [date].’ For an informal invitation, you could say, ‘Please reply by [date]’ or ‘Kindly respond by [date]’ or just, ‘RSVP by [date].” Your Wedding Stationer will be able to better assist you with specific wording to suit your situation.

If at this stage, you need to capture numbers for a bus you are providing from the ceremony to the reception, or dietary requirements, then it is a good idea to include a response card with ticky boxes to make this as easy as possible to get your Wedding Guests to RSVP on time.

get your Wedding Guests to RSVP on time

Skinny Malink

get your Wedding Guests to RSVP on time

Ivory Towers Wedding Stationery


  1. Give options for replying

This is a difficult area where the traditional and the modern rules of Wedding etiquette clash! The joy of receiving an RSVP in the mail, often with a hand written note, in days when hand written letters are so rarely received, builds the excitement level for your Wedding. Yet, there are other Brides who just want to know who is coming and so give email, mobile or Wedding website addresses too to make it as easy as possible for guests to reply.

If your parents are paying for some or all of your Wedding, they may not wish to receive replies by email and if you prefer to receive replies electronically, you still need to offer guests an off-line option of replying just in case some does not have regular internet access. Although you may wonder who on earth in the twenty first century doesn’t have on-line access, you would be surprised at Great Auntie Betty’s desire to send a pretty RSVP card.

get your Wedding Guests to RSVP on time

Florene & Bette

get your Wedding Guests to RSVP on timeBoutique 10


  1. Clearly include RSVP options

If you can afford it, send response cards along with a self-addressed stamped envelope, and at the bottom write something like, ‘You may also RSVP by email to or at our Wedding website’ If you prefer to save money and paper, you can instead write at the bottom of your invitations, ‘RSVP at our Wedding website or by telephone at 123-4567. Kindly respond by [date]’.​​

If you’re using RSVP response cards, make sure you include a pre-addressed and pre-stamped return envelope with adequate postage.

get your Wedding Guests to RSVP on time

Bottled Love

get your Wedding Guests to RSVP on time

Ja’Dillon Wedding Stationery


  1. Organise Responses as they come in

As the RSVPs start to roll in, make sure they are noted in one place so that you know both who has and who has not RSVPed, as well what their responses are. If you are not using an online service to organize your responses, start a guest list and RSVP spreadsheet. When you receive an RSVP, remember to add it to the spreadsheet right away so that nothing gets lost or forgotten.


  1. Follow up with a gentle reminder to reply

Although you are thinking about your Wedding 24/7, your guests are not. To get your Wedding Guests to RSVP on time, many will need a gentle reminder that the RSVP deadline is coming up. When you’re following up with guests on their RSVPs for your Wedding don’t start making phone calls on 13th May if you response deadline was 12th May. A lot of cards might have hit the postbox just at the reply deadline, so allow three or four days for the cards to arrive.

There’s no shame in casually asking guests if they got the invitation. You can even say, ‘We so hope you’re coming! We can’t wait to get your RSVP card back!’ Sometimes close friends think that they don’t have to reply because ‘of course’ you’ll know they’ll be there so just mentioning it can help get you jolt those responses. Sometimes even very close friends have calendar clashes and won’t be at your Wedding day but may be too scared to tell you!

Once you’ve given for a little extra time past the deadline RSVP date, it’s time to make some phone calls. Texting or emailing may be easier and might be the best way to get a response from the guests who are your age, but when it comes to Wedding etiquette and formality, a phone call is the best way to go. Be super polite, your guests may not have realised that they missed the deadline, and simply say, ‘We are really hoping you’ll be able to join us, have you had a chance to look at your calendar?’ If there’s other information you need, like a meal choice, be polite but direct. You should call your own friends and family members, while your fiancé should call his. It might be easier to get an answer from some guests if your parents makes the call instead.

If you are stressing and can’t face the phonecalls and decide email would be the best way to reach your tardy guests, don’t send a group email to everyone who didn’t RSVP. Instead, a personalized message to each guest or couple is more polite.

get your Wedding Guests to RSVP on time

Bonnie Day Studio


  1. Plan ahead

Don’t wait until three days before your catering numbers are due to start calling everyone in panic. Add some diary dates to remind yourself when to send the first gentle reminder and when to start picking up the phone. Expect one or two guests to drop out at the last minute and one or two others to call at last minute and ask whether they can still come. If you are mentally and logistically prepared for this to happen, it will be less stressful when it does, you have enough to think about in those last few days before the Wedding! We know of one couple who had eight guests not turn up on the day and that was eight meals already paid out for so it is worth doing that double check if you have not heard from certain guests.

get your Wedding Guests to RSVP on time

Laura Henderson Wedding Stationery


In the end, even given these tips, and given that you will be inviting more than a few people to your big day, it is unlikely that you will get all your Wedding guests respond on time and that’s just the human factor. That’s not to say though that you cannot reduce that percentage on tardy replies to a just a few with some careful thought on how to get your Wedding Guests to RSVP on time!


If you need further advice or inspiration with your Wedding Stationery, please do have a look at the wonderful Stationers Listed on

3rd July 2017