Wedding invitations are often a great source of information for guests. While wedding websites also provide a great opportunity for couples to get the word out about their weddings and share pertinent details like the date and location of the wedding, many people are still unfamiliar with the concept of a wedding website, and therefore they rely on invitations as their primary source of information about a wedding.
One of the most important bits of information couples must include on their wedding invitations is the RSVP date. The RSVP, which stands for "repondez s'il vous plait," is a couple's request for a response to their invitation. The RSVP is typically a specific date by which guests must let the couple tying the knot know whether or not they plan to attend the wedding.
There are no rules that govern how far in advance of the wedding couples should ask their guests to RSVP, but some venues might want a final headcount or at least a close estimate of the final countdown three to four weeks before the big day. As a result, it's best to ask guests to RSVP at least three weeks before the wedding and preferably four to five weeks before the festivities commence.
If invitations are mailed two to three months prior to the wedding, that gives guests ample time to determine whether they can or cannot join in the celebration. While many guests will respond immediately or in plenty of time for couples to arrange seating and notify their reception venue, nearly every bride and groom has been forced to deal with guests who simply failed to respond to their invitations, a potentially precarious position for couples to find themselves in as their wedding day quickly approaches.
When guests fail to respond on time, couples should maintain their composure and not take it as a sign of disrespect or indifference. Guests might not be planning a wedding, but chances are they're busy, too, and their failure to respond is likely just a mistake. Before contacting those who failed to provide a timely response, wait a few extra days so responses that were mailed at the last minute can be counted among those that were received on time.
Once the deadline and subsequent extension has passed, couples can begin to contact those guests who have not responded to their invitations. If it's a close friend or family member who hasn't responded, simply call them on the telephone and politely ask if they plan on coming to the wedding. They won't need to mail the RSVP at this point, so just jot down their response and thank them before moving on to the next person.
When a person who hasn't responded is less familiar to the bride and groom, such as a parent's distant cousin or professional colleague, then it's perfectly reasonable to ask for help. For example, if a parent's neighbor has yet to reply, ask Mom or Dad to drop by their house or call them on the phone to determine if they plan to attend.
The majority of invitees, if not all of them, who fail to respond on time will understand when contacted directly and asked if they plan to attend, so couples need not be nervous or confrontational when making phone calls or writing emails. Keep things short and sweet and let guests know their attendance is appreciated or their absence will be felt if they cannot make it.