How Much Time Should You Allow for Wedding RSVPs Before Following Up?

Here's how to navigate this tricky guest list dilemma.
by Sophie Ross

To ensure you give your guests enough time to clear their schedules and make travel arrangements, you need to send out your wedding invitations at least six to eight weeks before the wedding (and your save-the-dates six to eight months before the day). Pro tip: If it's a destination wedding, give them a little more time with 8 to 10 weeks.  

But that's the easy part. How long are you expected to wait for your guests to RSVP? It might feel excruciating to not be able to finalize your guest count and seating chart until you receive official notice from each and every one of your friends and family members. Below, find out how long you should give your guests to give you an answer, and what to do if you still haven't gotten a definitive "yay" or "nay" from some of them. 

The RSVP deadline should fall two to four weeks before your wedding.

And absolutely no later than two weeks before your wedding day. Around three to four weeks is the sweet spot—that way, they'll have plenty of time after initially receiving the invitations a few weeks prior to officially make up their minds and pull off travel accomodations if necessary. (And on the other hand, if you leave too much time between the invitation send and the RSVP date, you risk your guests putting it off and forgetting about it). Add the date to your own planning checklist, and then on your website and invitations as well so your attendees are made fully aware. You and your venue manager, caterer and wedding coordinator will want to connect around the two-week mark as well to finalize how many table settings will need to be arranged, and who will be seated where. 

Give your guests RSVP options. 

Unfortunately, not everyone uses snail mail anymore. Besides an RSVP card tucked in your invitation, you can use our Guest List Manager that syncs with your wedding website so your guests can RSVP online (and so you can organize your attendees in a multitude of ways, from keeping track of who gave you what gift to reception meal choices). 

Follow up with the ones you haven't heard from. 

It's that easy. If you still haven't heard from several people past the RSVP date (and yes, give them until that date), the best option is to pick up the phone and give them a call. Once you have verbal confirmation, you can ask them to RSVP online too so your records are organized. Hopefully, you don't have to personally reach out to too many of your friends and family members during your wedding planning. And remember to express enthusiasm for their attendance throughout the process. That way, they'll know their presence means a lot to you, making them more likely to check "yes."

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