Southwest invitation suite with watercolor painting
Photo: Charla Storey

Time for a little bride commiseration. No one is RSVPing and you are pulling your hair out. Do you need to order dinner for 30 or 300? Who knows? I've never understood why getting guests to RSVP is such a challenge. After all, it is no more difficult than the notes we passed to each other in the third grade: "Do you want to come to my party? Check yes or no." So how can you manage to get your guests to just commit already?

First, when you send out your invites, include pre-stamped RSVP cards. Yes, you need to add another line item to your budget for postage, but guests will respond more quickly if they don't have to go searching for that one stamp leftover from the pack they bought two years ago.

Second, make sure the timing is right. Save-the-dates are usually the ones sent out months in advance, but your wedding invites should do best in the 6-8 week sweet spot. If you send them out too early, people may not be able to respond firmly. Send them out too late, and the RSVP simply won't get back in time.

Third, think about also including the option to RSVP online via your free wedding website. Sometimes guests who will drag their feet to RSVP via snail mail are much easier to convince when they can hop online to take care of business.

Last, once you have a few weeks left, enlist your wedding party to do a little checking in on the non-responders. You shouldn't be the one to make the calls. Your bridesmaids should be excited and friendly, and not at all reminiscent of a Victorian school marm. Yes, they have messed up, but no, you shouldn't make them feel that way.

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