The Ultimate Guide to Wedding RSVPs


Managing RSVPs for your wedding can be notoriously tricky to navigate! From getting your timeline just right to tracking plus ones and dietary requirements, there’s often more work involved than you might think.

With this in mind, it’s important to understand the RSVP process before sending out those invites – or, you might find yourself in some stressful situations closer to the big day. Read on as we share our ultimate guide to wedding RSVPs below, including our expert tips to simplify the process (and save your sanity!).

Photo via Jarrod J. Photo

What Does RSVP Stand For?

Before we dive into the RSVP process, let’s take it back to basics. What does RSVP actually stand for, anyway?

The abbreviation RSVP comes from the French phrase “répondez s’il vous plaît”, meaning “please reply”. When you include an RSVP request on your wedding invitations, you’re simply asking your guests to confirm or decline their attendance on the day. 

Why Are RSVPs So Important?

Collecting RSVPs and managing your guest list is a crucial part of the wedding planning process – which might explain why it can become just so stressful. 

Remember, your guest numbers will have a direct impact on your budget and seating plan, not to mention allowing you to confirm dietary requirements, organise bus transport and make final payments to your vendors. 

If you don’t confirm your RSVPs correctly, you may find your budget blowing out at the last minute, or guests floating around without a seat at your reception! RSVPs are crucial to ensure each and every guest is accounted for, helping you avoid any unwanted surprises on the day.

Photo via Brogen Jessup

How Do You RSVP to a Wedding?

Ready to send out those invites? There are a number of different methods you can use to request and manage RSVPs for your wedding – from traditional RSVP cards to digital alternatives.

First, let’s talk about how to RSVP to a wedding the traditional way using paper invitations and RSVP cards. Typically, each guest receives an envelope including their wedding invitation, a separate RSVP card and a return envelope. The RSVP card should include prompts for your guests to fill in their name/s, confirm or deny their attendance, and outline their meal selection or dietary requirements (if relevant). Using the return envelope provided, guests can then post their RSVP card back to your preferred address.

Instead of including a separate RSVP card, you can also ask your guests to confirm their attendance via text message or email. However, this also means you’ll need to manually track their responses, which can be incredibly time-consuming if you have a large guest list.

While RSVP cards may be the most traditional method of confirming your loved one’s attendance on the day, it also requires the biggest investment of time and money. This could explain why so many couples are now opting for online RSVPs, instead!

Photo via Lulloo

How Do Online RSVPs For a Wedding Work? 

Online RSVPs are a modern, cost-effective alternative to traditional RSVP cards. By syncing with your wedding website, online RSVPs can be completed in the click of a button while also allowing you to store your guest’s details in one convenient place. But, how exactly do they work?

First, you’ll need to create a wedding website with a built-in RSVP function. Here at WedSites, we have a beautiful range of website templates that can be totally customised to suit your tastes. You can use your wedding website to share all of the essential details about your upcoming wedding, answer common FAQs and build excitement for the big day. You can even create a custom URL and set a password to protect your privacy. Read our guide on creating a beautiful, practical wedding website in 6 steps here.

Once your website is live, simply include the URL on your wedding invitations to have your guests RSVP online. They’ll be prompted to fill out your custom RSVP form, including their name, attendance status and dietary requirements. 

Here at WedSites, your RSVP responses will be automatically updated in your digital guest list database. This means you can quickly see at a glance who’s opened their invitation, who’s responded and who you’re still waiting to hear back from. Any additional information (such as meal selections or dietary requirements) will also be stored in your digital database, so you can easily share these details with your venue and caterer.

The best part about online RSVPs is that they can be used with both digital and paper invitations. If you’re using digital invitations, guests can click on your wedding website link and be instantly transported to your website. Or, if you love the vibe of paper invitations, that’s fine too – you can have the best of both worlds! Just include your wedding website URL and password on your wedding invitations, and guests can simply type it into their browser.

Wedding RSVP Wording Ideas

Not sure what to include on your RSVP card or digital RSVP form? Typically, you’ll want to include the following details:

  • A request for response
  • The RSVP due date and method
  • A “yes” or “no” response option
  • A request for dietary requirements
  • Meal selection (if applicable)

You might even want to personalise your RSVPs further by asking for a dance floor request or their best piece of marriage advice for the future!

While RSVP requests are short and sweet, there’s still an opportunity to get creative with your wording. If you’re planning a formal wedding, you’ll want to keep it traditional – but if you’re planning an epic party, you can have some fun with it. Check out these 5+ RSVP wording ideas here for inspiration!

How Do You Tell Guests to RSVP Online?

If you want your guests to RSVP online, you’ll need to mention this on your wedding invitations. There’s no need to include a separate information card with instructions – you can simply add your URL to the bottom of your wedding invitations, along with your RSVP due date and password (if relevant).

Try saying something like:

  • “For event details and to RSVP, please visit (insert URL)”
  • “Please RSVP by (deadline) at (insert URL)”
  • “To RSVP, visit (insert URL) using the password (insert password)”

You can find our helpful guide on sharing your wedding website with guests here!

Photo via Kaylee Chelsea Photography

When Should Guests RSVP By For a Wedding?

Okay, now let’s talk timelines. Sending your wedding invitations and requesting RSVPs can be a delicate balance. If you send your invitations too early, your guests are likely to procrastinate and may even forget to respond. But if you send them too late, you might not have enough time to finalise everything at the last minute!

Your RSVP due date is another important consideration. Remember, there are a few tasks that rely on your RSVP numbers, such as paying invoices and creating your seating chart. You’ll also want to give yourself some buffer room to allow for any late responses.

With this in mind, we’d recommend sending your wedding invitations at the 2-3 month mark, with an RSVP due date of 3-4 weeks before the day. This will ensure your wedding date is front-of-mind for your guests (and hopefully encourage them to RSVP sooner rather than later!).

If you’re planning a destination wedding, it’s a good idea to send your invitations a little earlier to give your guests ample time to prepare for their trip. For destination weddings, consider sending your invitations at the 6-8 month mark, with an RSVP due date of 2-3 months before the day.

What to Do When Guests Don’t RSVP

It can certainly be frustrating when you reach your RSVP due date and still haven’t heard back from certain guests. But, don’t take it personally! It’s unlikely they’re doing it to intentionally mess your plans up – it may have simply slipped their mind due to work, family or other commitments.

In this scenario, we’d suggest reaching out with a friendly reminder. A quick text saying something like “Hi (name), hope you’re well! We just need to confirm final numbers with our venue and caterer, and wanted to check if you’ll be joining us on the day? Hope to see you there” should do the trick.

Better yet, use an online RSVP tracker (like WedSites!) to follow up with late responses automatically on your behalf, giving you one less thing to worry about.

Photo via Emily Cuthbert Designs

RSVPs and Plus One Etiquette

Something else you’ll need to think about during the RSVP process is managing plus ones. You’ll want to make it clear whether a plus one has been offered or not, so your guests can respond accordingly. Not sure who actually needs a plus one for your wedding? We break it down here.

If a plus one is being offered, make sure you include both names on your wedding invitations or use the phrase “and guest”.  

If a plus one isn’t being offered, address the invitation only to the intended recipient, or use a phrase like “we have reserved one seat in your honour”. If you’ve synced your guest list with your wedding website, your RSVP form will only allow space for your intended guest to respond, helping you prevent any awkward scenarios! 

And if guests still ask you if they can bring a plus one? Be polite, but firm. Simply say something along the lines of “Sadly we are unable to accommodate any additional guests due to venue restrictions, apologies. Thanks for your understanding and we can’t wait to celebrate with you!”.

The Easiest Way to Manage Your Wedding RSVPs

Feeling totally overwhelmed? Here at WedSites, we’ve streamlined the entire RSVP process for you! You can create a custom RSVP questionnaire, track RSVPs online and receive instant notifications in your inbox. Our smart RSVP system seamlessly integrates with your wedding website and guest list database – saving you a bunch of admin time along the way.

Learn more about our online RSVP features here, or sign up for your free account with WedSites to get started.