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It’s four weeks until your wedding day. The caterer is waiting on RSVPs. The all-important seating chart is waiting on RSVPs. And at night you’re starting to dream about your daily trek out to the mailbox in hopes that you’ll find a reply from the 32 guests you haven’t yet heard from. Needless to say, you do not want to be this bride!

In terms of wedding planning, RSVP stress ranks pretty high. As you’re anxiously waiting for replies to trickle in, you’re trying to juggle a million other details and last-minute hassles that, despite your meticulous planning, you never imagined would have popped up.

The good news is that a little preparation and forethought will go a long way towards getting your replies back early, so you’ll have fewer stragglers to chase down when you least have time for it. Follow our tips below to take the stress out of getting swift replies from friends and family.

Getting Organized

First of all, decide which RSVP options you are going to give your invitees. There are now so many different ways to communicate, and most of us have our favorites. The busier we are, the more we tend to fall back on our default method, whether that’s text, email, or simply picking up the phone. RSVP cards are fun to design, fun for your guests to receive, and fun to get back in the mail, but it may also be wise to provide a digital option or two for those who are too strapped for time to do anything that doesn’t involve their phone.

If you’re using a wedding website that has a mechanism for accepting and recording RSVPs, and you’re comfortable using it, that’s great—just remember to manually enter any phone, snail mail, or email replies you receive. If you’re more of an analog person, create a simple spreadsheet with all of your invitees’ names entered into it and print it out so that you can check off names and enter meal preferences as you receive them.

If you’re including an RSVP card with your invitation, a useful little trick is to assign each guest a number and pencil it in lightly on the back of the card. That way, when a guest forgets to fill in his or her name on the card—and this will happen—you’ll know exactly who it came from.

Finally, set yourself a calendar reminder to contact anyone who hasn’t responded after 3 or 4 weeks. Whether you decide to email or call, being proactive before the very last minute will help you in your final month of preparations.

Believe us when we tell you that taking a little extra time to organize yourself will pay off in a big way!

Invitation/RSVP Card Wording

However you will be informing your guests of the RSVP date, the key to painlessly getting responses is to be very clear that you in fact expect a reply and by which date you expect it. Using “RSVP” can be confusing; the phrase “Please reply by” everyone, regardless of their answer, must reply.

An RSVP card usually offers meal choices and will be sent back to you via snail mail, or it can simply direct guests to your wedding website or other digital means of replying. Where relevant, include a pre-addressed and pre-stamped envelope to make responding as easy as possible.

If you include the RSVP message on the bottom of the invitation itself, make sure that it is sufficiently prominent so as not to be ignored; putting it in small letters in the corner is a recipe for frustration and delays.

Some possible phrasing:

  • Please reply at our website www.JosieandJohnWedding.com by May 15
  • Please reply to the bride’s mother at 555-555-5555 by May 15
  • Kindly respond by May 15


A good rule of thumb is to mail your invitations eight weeks in advance of your wedding day, giving your guests a window of four to five weeks to respond. Most guests will lack a sense of urgency to respond if the date is more than two months away; less than two months gives you too little time to plan and follow up. Getting your invitations in the hands of your friends and family about eight weeks prior to the date is the sweet spot, both for your timing and theirs.

Following Up

Before you know it, your big day will be right around the corner. If you got organized per our suggestions above, your calendar will be pinging you at about 5 weeks before the wedding to remind you to follow up on friends and family who have either forgotten to respond to your invitation or are still undecided. A quick phone call, voice mail, or email to everyone you’ve not heard from should allow you to get a final tally in short order. If you’re busy with a million other details (and you undoubtedly are), delegate this task to your mom, your sister, or your maid of honor.

Once your list is complete, give yourself a little room for things to change. It is very likely that a few guests who intended to come will have a last-minute emergency, while a few others who originally declined may call you two days before the event to see if you still have room. Reserving a couple of extra seats may give you the peace of mind to know that you can easily accommodate anyone who changes their mind.

Beauty and Functionality: Paper & Posh

Paper & Posh is the Main Line’s premiere destination for custom wedding invitations that make an impact. Whether you’re going for a feeling of traditional elegance, modern fun and romance, or anything in between, Paper & Posh will help you to design the wedding invitation package of your dreams. We know how to create an invitation that is as functional as it is beautiful, helping you to choose the right wording and elements that make it easy for your guests to respond on time. Please call Paper & Posh today—we’re excited to hear all of your ideas and eager to help you create the ideal wedding invitation!

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