I have a community of over a thousand brides to be and the question of how to get wedding guests to RSVP vexes many.

Usually it comes as a huge surprise that, after all the time, money and energy you’ve ploughed into:

  • coming up with a guest list; 
  • choosing stationery and/ or a lovely wedding website design; 
  • crafting a complex insert or web pages with every imaginable question answered…

….. many people quite simply don’t respond!

So, rather than get stressed like the poor lady below, remember many guests have no idea how much work and money goes into planning a wedding, particularly if they’ve not been through it themselves, therefore they don’t appreciate the importance of responding on time and in full.

So we need to make it simple for them.

How to get wedding guests to RSVP

We’re not used to formal invitations

Lots of people are not used to receiving formal, or even relatively informal, invitations through the post these days.

That’s nobody’s fault – just the way things change.

This, combined with the fact that many of us just don’t read things properly, can translate into late and only partial responses.

Think how short magazine articles have become and how speedily we scroll through content, picking up the basics but often not correctly and not fully.


If possible aim for the invitation to arrive at the weekend, when people generally have more time and are more relaxed.

Don’t send invitations out too early – yes, honestly, you can send them too early!

Especially if you’ve already sent Save The Dates, unless you’re planning a Destination Wedding, in which case I’d recommend giving more time, around 10 weeks before the wedding works well.

Give guests around 4-5 weeks to RSVP and send you any other information you need. 

Much more than this and it’s too easy to put aside for later.

How to get wedding guests to RSVP

Explain WHY there’s a deadline

A simple sentence outlining the fact that you need:

  • numbers and dietary requirements for the caterer;
  • decisions about seats on buses so you have time to book transport, etc.

…gives more of a reason to RSVP on time.


Some people simply don’t know what this means, so if you think this goes for your guests, consider including alternative wording like ‘please respond’ or ‘kindly respond’.

Give people different ways to respond.

We talked about people not being used to formal invitations.

Include a simple, stamped and addressed, RSVP card with all the things you need answers to in your invitations.

Give folks other easy ways to RSVP be it email, wedding website or even via social platforms if that works for you.

For those responding in more relaxed ways, always reply and double check things just to confirm.

Provide as much information as possible

…as clearly as you are able.

This should stop the need for you to respond to endless questions.

Depending on the complexity of your wedding you might include:

  • transport details or cab numbers;
  • accommodation;
  • dress code;
  • outline timings for the day;
  • gift registry;
  • directions and addresses;
  • details about children;
  • menu choices.

Wedding Presents

Do a ring round the day after the RSVP date

Don’t sit there stewing once the deadline is passed – jump into action, or better still have someone else do it for you.

It’s guaranteed there will be those who haven’t come back to you so anticipate it and have a plan in place.

It’s always easier to ring or text on someone else’s behalf as there’s less emotion attached. As a planner I do this a lot for clients.

Think about the right person or people to do this for you.


Oh and by the way, if you manage to get every single guest’s full RSVP by your deadline, please tell me how!


Image Credits in order: David Garrison, Dasa Wharton, Studio M.

Leave a Comment