How to ask guests to rsvp on invitations

How to ask guests to rsvp on invitations

One of the most frustrating challenges that party hosts encounter is the guest (or guests!) who fail to RSVP, but there are ways you can encourage people to respond. Take a look at our tips below and watch your number of respondents rise.

1. Emphasize the deadline. To increase the chances of your guests respond, include a specific deadline within the invitation to make sure that recipients see the date upfront and either mark it on their calendar or respond upon receipt. You can even give people options on how they’d like to RSVP – through the site, phone, email or text – to make the process that much easier.

2. Include a reminder of “why” their response is crucial. It is also a great idea to make a note on the invitation that food and beverage will depend on their RSVP. If the recipient knows that a confirmed head count is imperative, they’ll better understand the importance behind their response.

3. Include all the event specifics. By including as much detail as possible in the invitation, you reduce the chances of guests needing to track you down to ask questions before they can respond. For example, sticking to the traditional Who, What, Where, When and Why components will avoid any back-and-forth or follow up emails and encourage people to respond as promptly as possible because they have all of the details upfront.

4. Make sure the contact info you have is current. If you haven’t exchanged emails or otherwise been in touch with someone in a while, make sure the info you have for them is up-to-date. Also, feel free to follow up—Evite allows you to message just the invitees who haven’t responded yet.

5. Use timing to your advantage. Send your invitations out on a weekday evening when most people are home from work and checking their personal emails. This is an excellent time to catch moms in particular, after they’ve put the kids to bed. Additionally, keep in mind how far in advance you should send the invite to allow for enough time for people to RSVP. As a rule of thumb, the more formal the event, the longer the lead time should be. (For less formal affairs, such as a very casual dinner party or get-together, 10 days prior to the event is suggested.)

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How to ask guests to rsvp on invitations

You go to the trouble of hiring a calligrapher and inserting a beautiful stamped envelope with specific instructions about replying to your invitation — and still they don’t.

The Wording

Include the date by which you expect a reply. That should be two weeks before the wedding. The actual wording can reflect your tastes as well as the formality of the event. “Please respond by. ” is simple and direct. “The favor of your reply is requested by . ” is more formal. Also pleasant is, “Kindly reply by. “

Make it Easy to Reply

Include the phone number or email address if you wish to receive RSVPs that way. Have a system for collecting all of the information you need. A reply card — stamped and addressed — makes it easy for your guests to fill in their names, their food choices if asked, and any other information you need from them.

When They Don’t Reply

Depending on the sort of crowd you are inviting, a certain number of guests won’t bother to reply even when given a deadline. It is quite proper to call them for an answer. If you are uncomfortable with that, but you need a definite count, a gentle approach is to ask your potential guests if they received your invitation. Most people will apologize profusely and quickly offer up the information you need. You then save face for them and you by explaining that you are only calling because those pesky caterers are bugging you.

Late RSVPs are a part of every wedding. Don’t stress. Instead, follow our guide to kindly reminding your guests to please RSVP for your wedding.

By Jenn Sinrich

How to ask guests to rsvp on invitations

It’s no secret that wedding planning involves a long list of to-dos for the couple. It also includes a list of to-dos for guests. What’s one of the most important guest tasks? Remembering to RSVP. If you sent traditional invitations, RSVP cards were likely part of your invitation suite. RSVP cards—and the postmarked envelopes that they come with–make it easy for guests to say yes they can make it or regretfully decline. However, that doesn’t mean they won’t forget. You need a headcount, though, so here’s how to remind your wedding guests to RSVP.

Why are RSVPs for weddings so important?

Your guests may not realize why you need to know if they’re coming or not. But many weddings operate on a “per person” basis. You need at least a close estimate of guest numbers to make a lot of decisions from the venue to the catering to the florist who will have to outfit the tables with centerpieces. You also can’t properly create your wedding seating chart without a set tally of yeses and noes.

How to ask guests to rsvp on invitations

How should I collect wedding RSVPs?

If you’re receiving physical RSVPs via cards, you will probably want to track responses digitally in a spreadsheet. Simply make a column with all of your guests’ names and then note yes or no, depending on their answer.

Another (arguably easier) way to track RSVPs is via an online guest list tool, such as Zola’s. With Zola, you can create a digital guest list that allows you to update RSVP statuses as responses roll in or that allows your guests to record their own RSVPs online via your wedding website.

When should I realistically expect RSVPs?

Traditionally, wedding invitations are sent in the mail about six months before the wedding date. This gives enough time for the invitations to get to your guests and for them to return their RSVP card within the requested timeline (usually by two months before the wedding date).

If you’re a little ahead or behind this timeline, there’s no reason to worry. This may impact when you receive any last minute RSVPs, though.

How do I remind my wedding guests to RSVP?

So your RSVP deadline has come and gone. Before jumping to panic, remember all the times you let invitations or emails slide without a timely response—it happens. Depending on the size and style of your wedding, the day you absolutely need a final headcount will vary. Ideally, you have responses two months ahead of your day so that you can plan your seating chart and other last-minute treats like wedding favors.

We recommend waiting for one to two weeks after your deadline to start nudging your guests. Then you can take to your guest list and start tracking down those “no responses.”

How to ask guests to rsvp on invitations

Photo Credit // Scratch Studios

How should I reach out?

How you contact the guests who have yet to RSVP will depend on your relationship to them. For example, for close family relatives and friends whom you see on a regular basis, you might consider simply asking them in person. For distant relatives or friends who you don’t speak to on the regular, a phone call, text, or email might yield the best response rate.

Social media is another great tool for reaching out to guests. However, be sure to avoid any group messages or posts that might reach friends or followers who did not get your original invite.

Generally, a phone call or quick email should do it. In the case of any of your parents’ friends, ask mom or dad to nudge as necessary.

What should I say?

First, be polite. Remember that, while it’s frustrating on your end that they have yet to respond to your RSVP, they have things going on in their life that may be preventing them from being as on point as usual. Then, build your message, including some of these key components:

  • Be sure to ask them how they’re doing.
  • Let them know—nicely—that the RSVP deadline passed and you still need a response.
  • Emphasize how much you want them there to share in your special day.
  • Wish them well and say thank you.

Ideally, they can give you a definitive answer right then. If for some reason, they can’t, it’s up to your discretion how much longer you can wait for a yes or no. Don’t forget that you’ll need a solid headcount to deliver to your vendors by a certain date to ensure that you not only have enough room but enough beverages, food, and supplies for each and every guest. For that reason, it’s also a good idea to go into your conversations prepared with a definitive deadline. If your guests don’t get back to you by then, it’s time to move on with planning without them.

Try not to get too stressed out or down about RSVPs. Late responses are a super common wedding conundrum—ask just about any bride. It’s not a reflection of you or your relationship or your big day. Don’t lose sight over the most important aspect of the planning: The celebration is all about you and the love of your life.

How to ask guests to rsvp on invitations

One of the most frustrating challenges that party hosts encounter is the guest (or guests!) who fail to RSVP, but there are ways you can encourage people to respond. Take a look at our tips below and watch your number of respondents rise.

1. Emphasize the deadline. To increase the chances of your guests respond, include a specific deadline within the invitation to make sure that recipients see the date upfront and either mark it on their calendar or respond upon receipt. You can even give people options on how they’d like to RSVP – through the site, phone, email or text – to make the process that much easier.

2. Include a reminder of “why” their response is crucial. It is also a great idea to make a note on the invitation that food and beverage will depend on their RSVP. If the recipient knows that a confirmed head count is imperative, they’ll better understand the importance behind their response.

3. Include all the event specifics. By including as much detail as possible in the invitation, you reduce the chances of guests needing to track you down to ask questions before they can respond. For example, sticking to the traditional Who, What, Where, When and Why components will avoid any back-and-forth or follow up emails and encourage people to respond as promptly as possible because they have all of the details upfront.

4. Make sure the contact info you have is current. If you haven’t exchanged emails or otherwise been in touch with someone in a while, make sure the info you have for them is up-to-date. Also, feel free to follow up—Evite allows you to message just the invitees who haven’t responded yet.

5. Use timing to your advantage. Send your invitations out on a weekday evening when most people are home from work and checking their personal emails. This is an excellent time to catch moms in particular, after they’ve put the kids to bed. Additionally, keep in mind how far in advance you should send the invite to allow for enough time for people to RSVP. As a rule of thumb, the more formal the event, the longer the lead time should be. (For less formal affairs, such as a very casual dinner party or get-together, 10 days prior to the event is suggested.)

How to ask guests to rsvp on invitations

The rules of wedding etiquette are constantly changing, making it difficult for modern brides, grooms and guests to find up-to-date and correct information. That’s why we launched #MannersMondays, a weekly series in which we ask our followers on Twitter and Facebook to submit their most burning etiquette-related questions. Then, with the help of our team of etiquette experts, we get you the right answers to your biggest Big Day dilemmas. Check out this week’s question below!

@HuffPostWedding how do I politely invite “maybe” guests to reply faster to make room for other guests?#MannersMondays

Anna Post — great-great-granddaughter of etiquette guru Emily Post and author of Emily Post’s Wedding Etiquette — is here to help us answer this week’s question. Find out what she had to say below:

The best you can do is to check in with them. With a focus on your excitement at seeing them (rather than number-crunching), ask if they think they’ll be able to make it. You might get answers more quickly this way. But there’s no way to actually ask someone to RSVP before the RSVP-by date. As regrets roll in, be ready to mail out the next invitations to your B-list guests.

Timing is important here: If you are planning to invite B-list guests as regrets are received, it’s important not to let the “B” group know they weren’t on the A-list to begin with. Guests should have at least four weeks to consider the invitation before the RSVP-by date, which, in turn, is usually one to two weeks before the wedding (ask your caterers when they need a final count). So to give both groups plenty of time, plan to mail invitations at least ten weeks before the wedding and stop sending B-list invitations four weeks before the RSVP-by date to prevent any guest from feeling like a last-minute stand-in.

You can submit your wedding etiquette questions via Facebook or tweet them to us @HuffPostWedding with the hashtag #MannersMondays.

How to ask guests to rsvp on invitations

RSVP comes from the French phrase “respondez s’il vous plait” which means respond if you please. If described generally it means please reply to the invitation. It is mostly used in written and formal invitations at a special gathering. On the other hand, a lot of people choose to delay the confirmation of their presence due to being busy, forgetting or simply being unaware of what RSVP actually means.

RSVP might be considered a practice of the old times, as it dates back to the French royal court of King Louis XIV. Nevertheless, in recent times where former social graces are constantly ignored, there are a number of ways to use RSVP to a good effect.

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Make it convenient for the invitee to RSVP

Set a deadline to reply to the invitation. People will feel more obliged to respond when the invitation requires a timely response. Moreover, the RSVP deadline also suggests that this is an important gathering and they should think that they will miss out on the occasion if they don’t confirm their status in time.

Also make it easy for the guests to reply. They will RSVP in time if the process is not time consuming and does not take a lot of effort. Put a reply card with paid return letter. The invitee should be able to write his name, phone number and other details on the response card. The contact guy should be there to accept the RSVPs and can also be the organiser of the event.

Use simple and effective ways

Make the invitation simple and crystal clear. Tell the guests who to reply and how to get in touch with that person. Furthermore, call to re-confirm the invitees’ status so that even if he/she forgets he/she will be reminded by the follow up. Importantly, when you need to know the exact count of the guests, be aggressive in getting the confirmations.

Some days before the gathering, after the people have got their cards and have mulled over the event, call them and check if they are coming. You can call and say that I am hoping to see you at the event.

RSVP regrets

When the amount of people coming is not required to be specific, the invitation can say RSVP regrets only. This will tell the invitees that their presence is understood, but they should call to tell in the case they won’t be coming.

Simple Tricks to Get More Returned on Time

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How to ask guests to rsvp on invitations

Walter B. McKenzie / The Image Bank / Getty Images

Getting wedding guests to RSVP on time, and tracking them down when they don’t, can be an incredibly frustrating process. Even when couples follow response card etiquette in wording, they often find that a third of their invitees haven’t replied to their invitation. This isn’t just an inconvenience. It can be costly if you have to change catering numbers at the last minute or if you have to order extra favors just in case they all decide to come. Follow these seven simple tricks to increase your response rate.

Send Your Invitations Eight Weeks Before the Wedding

Etiquette says that invitations should be sent eight weeks before the wedding. That gives four to five weeks to respond, so you can make your RSVP date three to four weeks before the wedding. The timing is crucial—if you give guests more time than that, it’s likely the invitation will get put aside in the “things to deal with later” pile. If it doesn’t seem urgent that they RSVP, they won’t. But less time than that won’t give you time to track down the delinquent guests, or time to give a final number to your caterer by their deadline.

Send Save-the-Dates for a Destination Wedding

The rules are slightly different for destination wedding RSVPs. Send a save-the-date about nine months earlier, allowing people to start clearing vacation time from work and looking for travel deals. Send your wedding invitations about four and a half months before your destination wedding, and ask for a response two months before the wedding. That allows guests to look for travel deals during the window that experts say is best—two to four months before a trip. If you’re paying for guests’ hotel and/or airfare, you’ll need to send out a destination wedding save-the-date so you can get their travel information.

Spell out What RSVP Means

Some guests don’t know what RSVP means and they may not know what is required when they read “RSVP by May 6.” Instead, you may use these sentences:

  • “The favor of a reply is requested by May 6”
  • “Please respond by May 6.”

Make the RSVP Date Prominent

Some guests believe they only need to reply if they’re going to attend, or they don’t realize that the reply date is serious. Make the reply date prominent on the response card.

  • For a formal invitation, use “The favor of a reply is requested by May 6.”
  • For an informal invitation, you can say, “Please reply by May 6” or “Kindly respond by May 6.”

Provide Alternate Ways to RSVP

Some etiquette experts say that weddings are too important to use online RSVPs, but it’s now the 21st century. If it allows more people the ability to respond, so be it. You can use a wedding website, an email address, or even a telephone number for texts and audio messages for an informal wedding. Of course, you won’t have the extreme joy of receiving the RSVPs in the mail (and really it can be one of the most fun parts of wedding planning). But, you might get just as loving notes by emails or online forms.

Offer guests an off-line option just in case some don’t have regular online access. If you can afford it, send response cards along with a self-addressed stamped envelope, and at the bottom write something like:

“You may also RSVP by email to [email protected] or at our wedding website www.jackandduncanwedding.com.”

If you prefer to save money and paper, you can instead write at the bottom of your invitations:

“RSVP at our wedding website www.JaneandJohnwedding.com or to the bride’s mother at 555-3456. Kindly respond by May 14th.”

Make Your Reply Cards Interesting

Using a funny RSVP card or a beautifully decorated one can help it stand out in your wedding invitation envelope. If your guests are eager to show you how funny they are in response, it might motivate them to send it in. But don’t make it too elaborate or confusing—being intimidating rarely elicits the right response. Make sure you follow the response card wording etiquette.

Mention Your RSVP Cards

There’s no shame in casually asking guests if they got the invitation. You can even say:

“I hope you’re coming. We can’t wait to get your RSVP card back.”

Sometimes close friends weirdly think that they don’t have to reply because you’ll know they’ll be there. Just mentioning it can help get you those responses. Sometimes even very close friends have conflicts and won’t be there. Don’t count your guests until they’ve RSVP’d.

In the end, you probably won’t have all of your wedding guests respond on time. But hopefully, using these tips will increase the percentage so you’ll have less work tracking down the dawdlers.

Quick tips on how to invite people to your social event

How to ask guests to rsvp on invitations

The Spruce / Margot Cavin

Are you planning any type of event that requires sending invitations? If so, these tips might help you with the wording and tone. Whether it’s a formal dinner party that requires people to dress up in their finest attire, an outdoor children’s birthday party where guests may wear jeans, a bat mitzvah that calls for dressy attire, a brunch party with your closest friends, or a baby christening where you expect people to wear church clothes, you’ll need to follow a few simple guidelines.

Basic Information for All Invitations

There are some things that all invitations should include. You’ll want to let your guests know the purpose of the event (if there is one), the time (start and end), the place, special instructions (for example, costume party), and style (formal or casual). You should also ask your guests to RSVP so you are better able to plan.

Here are some other things you may want to include in your invitation:

  • Whether or not your guest may bring someone else
  • Special instructions specific to the event (i.e., flashlight for a children’s nighttime spotlight tag game)
  • If it’s a children’s party, whether or not you want the parents to stick around or drop off their child
  • Type of food being served in case of allergies
  • Request for allergy or food sensitivity information
  • Dress code

Formal Event Invitations

For a formal event, you want the invitation to match the tone. This is why many people will have them engraved or handwrite them. You may or may not use formal wording.

Here is an example:

Elizabeth Jewell and Gabriella Daniels
request the pleasure of Judith Walker’s company
at dinner
on Saturday, February eighteenth
at seven o’clock
7 Evenstar Place
123-555-1111

The above example uses a formal tone. However, if you are more comfortable with “invite you to” rather than “request the pleasure of,” that’s fine.

Casual Event Invitations

When inviting someone to a casual get-together, you may choose a more conversational tone. Another option is to state the facts. Whichever you choose, you’ll want the same basic information.

Here is an example of a casual invitation:

Hazel is turning eight, so come and celebrate with us!
Where: Bounce-and-Jump Trampoline Center at 123 Main Street
When: Saturday, February 18
Time: 2
4 PM
Wear comfortable clothes and socks
Phone: 123-555-1111
Please RSVP by Thursday, February 16
We hope to see you there!

An invitation that simply states the facts may be something like this:

What: Jimmy’s 8th birthday party
Where: 1234 Summerhouse Street
When: Saturday, March 11
Phone: 555-123-4567
Please RSVP by Thursday, March 9

What Not to Include on the Invitation

You don’t need to include anything other than what is listed on one of the above invitations. However, if you don’t want to receive gifts, you may use a simple statement such as “No gifts, please,” or “In lieu of a gift, please donate to the local animal shelter.” Or if the event is a fundraiser, you may state that.

Although many brides and grooms like to include the name of their gift registries on the invitation, it isn’t the proper thing to do. Instead, you may ask a close friend or relative to provide that information separately. Never ask for money in the invitation because it’s crass and can be very off-putting.

Before Sending the Invitation

Check your guest list. You need to make sure you have enough invitations and a few extras. After all, someone from your original list may not be able to attend, giving you a spot for someone else you would like to invite.

Whether you use professionally printed invitations or you handwrite them yourself, make sure you proofread them before you put them in the mail or hand-deliver them. That is quite a bit easier than having to call everyone to correct a date, time, or address after they are mailed.

When You Receive an Invitation

Remember that not everyone knows the proper etiquette of sending an invitation, so don’t get too upset if you receive one that doesn’t follow these guidelines. If you’re unclear about anything on the card, contact the person who sent it and clarify what you need to know.

If the event is something you’re not familiar with, please ask questions in a straightforward way. For example, if you’ve never been to a bar mitzvah or bat mitzvah, you might ask if there are any special requirements or traditions you need to follow.

Maintain a positive attitude when you send the RSVP to accept or decline the invitation. If you go, forget about the host’s faux pas and have fun. After all, the party is a celebration, and you were honored with an invitation.