I have two frustrated brides right now that have had so many issues with their guests not responding and my heart just goes out to them. I spoke with one today and she said I needed to do a blog post on this topic for others in her situation to sympathize with, future couples to learn from, and potential/current guests to educate themselves. I feel their frustration and see first hand all the stresses this very topic brings them. So many of my couples have the very same issue and it boggles my mind as to why people are so disrespectful and uneducated on the topic. I guess etiquette is taught from an early age, but nothing says you cant teach a dog new tricks, send a friendly reminder, or help yourself-to help your guests!
So let me educate, remind and calm you….and everyone reading. (Here’s hoping the whole world reads this for all of our sakes)
Straight from the WIKI: "Répondez s'il vous plaît", a French phrase that translates to "please respond" or "respond if you'd please" and word for word means "respond if it pleases you". It is with this meaning that invitation cards and similar documents are often marked with "RSVP." In Western and European culture, not replying to an RSVP request, whether confirming attendance or declining it, is often considered rude.
TIPS to avoid the unnecessary stress of getting caught RSVP hell:
- Have the RSVP date 1 1/2 weeks earlier than you originally decided it to be. This will give you enough time to track down guests that have not responded on the designated date and leave enough time for your planner to update your vendors with the correct numbers without penalizing you to have to pay for more than you need. PLEASE NOTE: Final counts to your planner really needs to be at LEAST 2 1/2 weeks prior to your wedding and 3-4 weeks preferably.
- Make sure you have a RSVP option on your wedding website and add it to your RSVP card so that guests can respond online. Most guests that are technologically savvy may have more time to go online and respond, than fill out the card and mail it.
- Have your response card is self addressed to the address you want your RSVP’s coming to.
- Make sure you have the correct postage already placed on the RSVP envelope.
- For friends and family that might be on the many social networks you are signed up with (Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, etc) try sending reminders through your status, mass email, or wall posts.
- When you make your guest list, include a column for email addresses and phone numbers so you can send a mass email or call when the RSVP comes and then goes. (I have a great spreadsheet if you need one, ask me for it) You can always designate a family member or friend that wants to help, call your guests that have no yet responded to save you time.
The best tip I can give you, is to remain calm and understand that not everyone is on your timeline or may not have the level of respect you or I do. And more importantly, you need to know that just because someone has not responded to your wedding invitation, doesn't mean that you or your wedding isn't important to your invited guest. Some forget, some aren’t aware of the correct etiquette and some might be ashamed that they cannot afford to attend in these economical times. The people that are most important to you and want to be there, will do anything to be with you on your wedding day! That is all that matters…right? (you better be shaking your head “YES”)
You aren't the first person this has happened to, trust me. This happens each day in every aspect of life. Baby showers, dinner parties, military functions, graduation invitations and most importantly to you, your wedding. Need to vent? Give your planner, a trusted friend or family member a call and just discuss your options. They might be able to help you get the final responses you will need!
I can assure you this, I bet when you get an invitation in the mail, you will be the first to RSVP!