Sending out your wedding invitations is a super exciting milestone, but let’s be honest. With so much depending on your final guest numbers, the RSVP process can also be a headache!
From figuring out your RSVP timeline to considering etiquette and wording, there are so many questions surrounding the RSVP process.
When should you send them? How should you deal with kids and plus ones? And worst of all – what do you do when guests don’t RSVP on time, without turning into a total bridezilla?
The good news is, the RSVP process doesn’t have to be so stressful. From timelines to etiquette tips and wording examples, keep reading for some helpful RSVP guidelines to keep in mind for your own big day.
RSVP Invitation Options
First things first, have you considered how you’ll be sending out your RSVP requests? Making a decision on your RSVP method should be the first task on your list before moving forward with the invitations themselves.
There are a few different options when it comes to sending and receiving your wedding RSVPs.
If you’re sending out traditional invitations in the post, you can choose to include a separate RSVP card for guests to mail back. If you’ve opted to create a wedding website, you can include the relevant link and direct guests to RSVP online through your chosen platform. Or, if you’re taking the digital route with your invitations, you can send your RSVP requests out digitally, too!
If you’re worried about receiving your RSVPs back in a timely manner, the secret is to make the process as easy as possible for guests. This is where a wedding website can be super helpful by giving guests the option to RSVP online in just a few simple clicks. You can learn more about our digital stationery suites and wedding website features on the blog!
RSVP Timeline Etiquette
Now that you’ve decided on your RSVP method, you’ll need to figure out your RSVP timeline.
When it comes to sending RSVPs and setting a date for guests to respond by, there are no hard and fast rules to follow. You’ll want to consider your own unique situation and requirements to figure out a timeline that will work for both you and your guests.
However, a good rule of thumb is to send your RSVP invitations out between 6-8 weeks before your big day. This will give your guests a practical amount of time to make preparations and respond to your request in a timely manner.
Of course, if you’re planning a destination wedding or have guests travelling from interstate or overseas, you’ll want to allow more time to help them plan for their trip. In this case, send your RSVP invitations out as soon as possible. Around 6 months is ideal depending on the nature of your destination.
When it comes to setting your RSVP reply deadline, there are a few things you’ll need to take into consideration. For example, when do you need to finalise numbers with your venue and caterer? Some wedding vendors like your catering crew will have strict deadlines to allow them enough time to order the required food and alcohol.
You may also have other invoices to settle that are dependant on your final guest numbers such as stationery, tableware hire and even table flowers, not to mention a seating plan to create. It’s best to touch base with your vendors to confirm final invoice dates before making a decision on your RSVP deadline.
With this in mind, an RSVP date of 3-4 weeks prior to your day is usually ideal. Most wedding vendors require invoices settled by the 2-week mark, so this will also give you a buffer for any guests who might not respond on time!
If you’re planning a destination wedding, you may need to set an earlier RSVP deadline to confirm things like hotel block reservations and transport. In this case, aim for an RSVP deadline of 6-8 weeks.
RSVP Wording Examples
The wording of your actual RSVP invitations themselves is the next thing you’ll need to decide upon.
The good news is, RSVP requests are usually short and sweet. The bulk of your wedding details and need-to-know information will already be outlined on your wedding invitations or wedding website. Your RSVP invitation is simply a request for your guests to confirm their attendance, along with any additional information you may need such as dietary requirements or plus ones.
So what do you need to include in your RSVP wording? At the bare minimum, you should include:
- A request for response
- The RSVP due date
- A “yes” or “no” response option
It’s also common to include:
- A request for dietary requirements
- Pre-selection of menu choices
- A blank space to confirm the name of a plus one, if allowed
- Fun requests like a song for the dance floor
The wording of your RSVP request will really depend on the style of your wedding. It should also be consistent with the kind of wording style you’ve chosen for your wedding invitations and/or wedding website.
For example, if you’re planning a formal wedding, you’ll want to use traditional language. Whereas if you’re planning an informal wedding, you can use more relaxed or fun language.
You can learn more about formal and informal wording and language guidelines on our recent blog, or check out some RSVP wording examples below.
Formal RSVP wording examples:
by November fifteenth, two thousand eighteen
-Accepts with pleasure
Your reply is requested
by June twenty first, two thousand eighteen
-Accepts with pleasure
-Declines with regret
Informal RSVP wording examples:
We can’t wait to celebrate with you!
Please RSVP by the 12th July, 2018.
-Wouldn’t miss it for the world!
-Will toast from afar!
We hope you can join us!
Please RSVP by 10.11.2018
-Will celebrate in person!
-Will celebrate in spirit!
Fun RSVP wording examples:
Are you in or what?!
Please let us know by 10.10.18.
-Yes, let’s party!
-No, and will forever regret this decision.
Be there, or be square.
RSVP by 10th November, 2018.
-Damn it, can’t make it…but we have a good excuse!
Just like your wedding invitations, your RSVP requests should help to set the tone for your upcoming celebration. It’s best to remind yourself of the mood you’re hoping to create at your event, and let this dictate the kind of wording style you choose for your RSVPs.
RSVP Etiquette for Tricky Situations
Have you decided to host an adult-only reception? Or maybe you don’t have the flexibility to allow a plus one for single guests? In this case, you’ll want to be tactful with your RSVP wording to ensure you set the right expectations without being rude.
It’s always best to make note of these kinds of situations via your wedding website, but you can also subtly get the message across with your RSVP requests, too.
We’ve previously shared some wording examples for tricky situations on the blog, but here are a few helpful tips to keep in mind for your RSVPs.
For an adults-only wedding:
Instead of directing your invitations using the family name such as “The Thompsons”, be specific and refer to your guests using their individual names. Then, on your RSVP requests, you can include the options “both attending” or “one attending” for your guests to confirm.
This will make it clear to your guests that the invitation is for the adults only, but you can also include a note on your wedding website too, just in case!
For no “plus ones” allowed:
As above, you’ll want to first make sure you direct your wedding invitation using the individual name of your guest (and obviously not including the phrase “and guest!”).
You can then state “we have reserved one seat for you” as part of your RSVP request, to let your guest know the invitation is for them alone.
This should set the right expectations regarding additional guests, but what do you do if your guest responds with a plus one, anyway?
In this case, you can either choose to let it slide and allow the plus one. For example, if other guests have declined their RSVPs and you can fit them in. Or, if you really can’t swing it due to guest list restrictions or personal preferences, you’ll need to jump on the phone for clarification.
Be kind and tactful and say something like “We would love for you to bring a guest, but this will be a very intimate affair / we are at venue capacity / our budget just won’t allow it”.
Honesty is usually the best policy, and your guest will more than likely be completely understanding once you explain your reasoning.
Late RSVP Etiquette
Despite your very best efforts to make the process easy and pain-free, there will always be at least 1 or 2 guests who forget to RSVP on time!
If you still have some outstanding responses after your RSVP deadline, don’t automatically assume this means your guests can’t make it. In reality, they’ve probably forgotten about your deadline altogether or maybe they’re simply assuming you know they wouldn’t miss it!
In any case, it’s important not to take it personally. Although it can be frustrating with plans to finalise and invoices to settle, remember that your guests haven’t done this to intentionally inconvenience you.
When it comes to following up late RSVPs, the best approach is to make a quick call for an instant response, as opposed to sending out emails or text messages that might be overlooked.
The other option is to be proactive and avoid this situation from occurring in the first place by sending out a friendly reminder before the deadline to prompt your guests. You might want to take advantage of an automated RSVP tracking system to streamline this process on your behalf so you don’t have to lift a finger!
Streamline the Process
The RSVP process doesn’t have to be a headache – we promise!
By taking some simple steps to streamline the process for both you and your guests, you can send and receive your wedding RSVPs without turning into an accidental bridezilla.
From creating your RSVP timeline to etiquette tips and wording examples, just keep the above guidelines in mind to ensure your RSVP process runs smoothly.
And the best news? Once your RSVPs are done and dusted, that means the big day is only just around the corner. Now that’s something to get excited about!