Wedding etiquette is changing all of the time, as any slightly confused couple currently planning a wedding can attest to. Just one of the areas that is becoming a little muddled is the wedding RSVP – and just how to get your wedding guests to respond to their invite.
Do get Your Timing Right
The general rule of thumb in regards to just when wedding invitations should actually be mailed is eight weeks, and that is just about right. Mail them any sooner than that and they are likely to end up lost and forgotten in some wedding guests’ ‘do it later pile’. Any later and you yourself may not have enough time to track down those who fail to reply on time or make changes to your plans based on the final response rate.
Do Ditch the RSVP
Yes, there really are people who do not know what RSVP actually means. Therefore make your wording a little clearer and more precise; ‘please respond by’ or ‘a reply is requested by’ may be better alternatives and both are pretty clear!
Don’t Forget to Make the RSVP Date Prominent
Some invited wedding guests manage to get it into their heads that they only need to respond to your invitation if they will not be attending. Therefore make the response date as prominent as possible. If the date itself is lost in a sea of text it is more likely that some people will miss the point and assume that by their silence your crystal ball will tell you that why yes, they are attending.
Do Offer Alternate Ways to RSVP
There are lots of people who haven’t purchased a stamp in years let alone been anywhere near a post office, or even a mailbox, to send out a personal missive. That is why, whatever the etiquette people say, it is best to offer an alternate means of response to snail mail. Offer the option of responding via email, or via your wedding website. It is not as exciting for you as opening up those reply cards but if it gets more people to actually respond then so be it.
Don’t Be Afraid to Make Some Follow Up Phone Calls
If your wedding day is getting closer and you really need to finalize those plans of yours guests who are slow in responding to your invitation can become more of a problem. Don’t be afraid to make a few quick calls to the stragglers to help solve the problem. The call does not have to sound bossy or accusatory, just a quick “hi, how are you and oh by the way can we look forward to seeing you at the wedding?” should be fine.
Don’t Be Surprised if Unannounced Wedding Guests Still Show Up
Despite your very best efforts it may very well turn out that a few invited guests (well hopefully only a few) who failed to RSVP show up anyway. The best you can do is try to be prepared for the eventuality, as refusing admittance is really not an option. Most of all, try to be graceful about the whole thing, on the day at least. As annoying and inconvenient as these surprise guests might be, it’s not worth spoiling your big day over.