3 Feb

Do I Really Have to Follow Up With Missing RSVPs?

Guest list tracking is definitely one of those not-so-fabulous tasks that comes along with wedding and event planning. From the very beginning, simply determining your guest list can be a challenge. Of course you want everyone you know and love at your ceremony and wedding reception, but that isn’t always feasible. Yet, a month before your wedding, while busy finishing up some of the more fun details like creating welcome bags for hotel guests and deciding on the perfect jewelry to wear, comes the task (sometimes the frustrating task) of tracking own missing invitation response cards because the ones you love just simply haven’t responded – or their invitation or RSVP was lost in the mail.

Why it is so important to do this?

  • The catering company needs to know your final number
  • Once you know how many tables you’ll have, your florist needs to know how many center pieces to make
  • A venue’s final layout needs to be updated with the correct amount of tables and chairs
  • You have to print your escort cards and place cards

This couple had 20 days between their RSVP due date and their wedding date. This ‘grace period’ between due date and wedding is necessary for the couple or event host to follow up with missing RSVPs, clarify special diet information, and communicate with their vendors. (Not to mention make their seating chart! A very important part to any event!)

While it isn’t ideal, the unfortunate reality is that this minor pain will be of great benefit later on. No one wants any unannounced surprised on their event day. It can cause a huge amount of stress, distraction and annoyance on a day when those are the last things you want to experience.

Enlist the help of a parent or other close family member, depending on how many you have to track down, and make a plan of action. Having help from a parent is especially true if the guest in question is one of their own. The best method is to speak with the guest directly, so arrange for a phone call or ask them in person. When you call, start by giving your errant guest the benefit of the doubt: ‘I wanted to be sure you received our invitation. I need to give final numbers to my caterer on Friday, and wanted to know if you’ll be able to attend. We hope you can!’ If you are worried this won’t cover it, you can always add, ‘I won’t be able to change the numbers after this.’

This couple gave themselves nearly a full month between their due date and the date of their wedding. While we have recommended setting the due date 2-3 weeks prior to the wedding date, it is ultimately your decision to create the timeline that works best for you. Take into consideration how important your guest count number is and what it affects so you have the right time to get everything finished that is needed.

Traditionally, wedding invitations are sent out about 6-8 weeks before the wedding, which gives guests plenty of time to clear their schedules and make travel arrangements if they are from out of town. Sending a save-the-date card about 6 months prior to the wedding helps your guest know your wedding is coming up and they won’t schedule anything on your wedding day in anticipation of their invitation.

The RSVP deadline should be two to three weeks before the wedding. It gives just the right amount of time to finalize the seating chart, make escort cards or an escort board, print place cards if needed, and get your final numbers ready for the venue and caterer. Also, if guests haven’t RSVP’d by the deadline there will be a week or two before the wedding for the missing RSVP phone call.

Invitation etiquette is important for both the host and the guest. Not all the etiquette of modern manners is on the guests’ shoulders, and following up with guests whose RSVP hasn’t been received is part of host responsibility. While it isn’t a fun phone call or conversation to have, it’s a necessary one and one that can make your wedding day infinitely less stressful if you don’t have to worry about guests popping up that didn’t let you know they would be there.



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