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RSVP questions are the second most common questions I get about wedding stationery after “when do I mail everything?” The most common questions I get are:
You may have asked yourself these questions too. RSVPs are a necessary evil of wedding planning. It is important to collect them so you can account for every guest. Let’s go through and answer each of these questions.
1) How do I collect RSVPs?
There are 3 ways to collect RSVPs that I recommend- through mail, email, or online. Which method you choose is based on your preference and the way you think will be most successful in getting your guests to actually respond. There are pros and cons to each method. There are things to consider when choosing which route is best for you and your wedding.
Mail- This is the most traditional way of collecting RSVPs. Before the advancement of technology this was the only way you had guests respond. If you are having a formal wedding this is the route of collecting RSVPs that fits that style of wedding. Having your guests mail back their RSVPs is the most successful way to get your guests to respond, as long as you put stamps on the RSVP. Whether you choose a postcard or a card with envelope this method with the stamp provided is the most effective.
Email- I recommend using this method only if you have a dedicated wedding email address. If you use your regular email you have a higher chance of losing the emails in all your regular email. This also helps keep all of them in one place and you have a lower chance of overlooking.
Online- If you have a wedding website through any of the big wedding companies (The Knot, Wedding Wire, etc.) it probably includes the option to collect RSVPs online. The drawback to this method is that the RSVP function can be cumbersome to set up and may be difficult for your older guests to use.
2) Why do I need to do RSVPs?
There are two reasons why you need an accurate guest count- food and seating.
Food- Your caterer and baker will need to know an accurate guest count. They will need to make sure they have enough food to accommodate your guests. Whether you are having a buffet reception or a plated dinner your caterer will need to know how much food needs to be prepared. Your baker will want to make sure your cake is the right size. You also don’t want to pay for more people to eat than you have to.
Seating- If you are setting up seating for your ceremony you need to set up enough chairs plus an additional 15-20% in order to make sure everyone is comfortable and everyone can still find a seat where they can see the altar. If you are choosing to do a seating chart you will need to know very accurately in order to assign the seats for all guests. If you choose not to do a seating chart you will still want to be sure there is enough seating for everyone and not have anyone missing a seat or having families have to sit apart from one another.
3) When should RSVPs be due?
RSVPs should be due 1 month before your wedding. If your caterer or baker needs a final head count more than 14 days before your wedding date you should make your RSVP date 2 weeks before the due date. I recommend having the extra time because not everyone will RSVP so you will have to track down some people and that gives you enough time to do that and ease some stress.
4) How do I track RSVPs?
A simple spreadsheet will do wonders. You can use the same spreadsheet to collect addresses and track all information in one spreadsheet. As soon as you get an RSVP returned you can go in and mark the response as well as the number of guests. If you have guests’ responses like food restrictions or song requests those can go in the spreadsheet as well.
5) What about food choices?
If you are having a plated dinner with food options, you need to make sure guests know the choices and how to let you know of their choice. Email RSVPs typically don’t work for this because people will RSVP but forget to mention a food choice. Mailed RSVPs are a better option because with it right on the card people are much less likely to forget to complete the food choice section.
However you choose to handle RSVPs be sure to be detailed and diligent. This will be one of the most frustrating parts of the wedding planning process. I hope the answers to these questions help alleviate some of the stress.
Keywords: wedding, RSVPs, wedding day, wedding date, invitation design, invitation details