RSVPs are important, but guests often neglect to send theirs in. Without a proper estimate of guests, you may face an excess or, even worse, a shortage of food and beverages at your event. An accurate head count is crucial to venue bookings, seating charts, and catering. Here’s a quick guide on how to get people to RSVP to your event so that you can properly plan.
Sending a save-the-date card in the mail serves as a notice to your guests so that they have plenty of time to prepare and work your event into their schedules. A save-the-date puts the event in the back of your invitees’ minds. For larger or more involved events such as weddings, send out save-the-dates at least four months prior to the event. Two months prior is standard for smaller events or ones that involve less planning, such as baby or bridal showers. However, if your event will require many guests to travel extensively and save money for the trip—a destination wedding, for instance—send the save-the-dates eight months in advance.
Send the RSVP card with your invitations
Including the RSVP card in the envelope with your invitations informs guests of their duty to respond. Many guests will misplace, entirely disregard, or simply forget about the RSVP card—avoid this by making yours unique. Here are some tips for making your RSVP more memorable:
- Print your RSVP on a unique material. Skip the typical paper and go for a small piece of wood or cardstock instead.
- Instead of printing words in ink, consider having the information laser cut into your invitations. The process is actually quite cost-effective and will result in a beautiful, unforgettable invitations.
- RSVPs that stand out are more memorable, so pick a color that stands out from yet complements your invitation color scheme.
Don’t forget to give your guests options. Sending out a traditional RSVP card may help catch invitees’ attention, but getting them to go to the mailbox with a reply is much harder. Add an online reply option.
Set a “reply by” date
Sending out an RSVP is a great start, but without a deadline, you could risk last minute no-shows or add-ons. Give your guests a deadline—and stick to it! Note the deadline prominently on the RSVP card and on the invitation so that your guests are aware of it. About a week before the “reply by” date, send out a friendly reminder to any guests who haven’t responded yet. Include a link to the online reply option so that they can easily click and inform you. The day before or the day of the deadline, make personal phone calls to those last-minute nonresponders to get verbal confirmation of their intentions.
Making your RSVP card stand out and setting a firm deadline can make all the difference. Staying on top of late responders while remaining formal and respectful is a hard line to walk, but delivering a gentle reminder as the “reply by” date approaches and another direct reminder at the deadline is perfectly within reason.