RSVPs are essential for wedding planning — when you have an accurate guest count, it streamlines the process. If your guests haven't sent in their responses by your deadline, it might be time to consider a polite RSVP reminder.
Before you start reminding guests, keep in mind that every wedding RSVP timeline is different. If you sent out your invitation suite close to the wedding, your guests have less time to figure out their plans. As a result, they're more likely to be late with their RSVPs. The opposite can happen too; if guests have ample time to respond, they may simply forget. Either way, a gentle reminder can help get them back on track.
Read our article for tips on how to politely remind wedding guests to RSVP, along with RSVP reminder wording.
Why are RSVPs for weddings important?
When you first start planning a wedding, the RSVPs might not seem like a big deal. As the event gets closer, however, it's critical to know how many guests are coming. Your vendors will need a final list, and since you're often charged on a per-guest basis, an accurate number can help keep costs in check.
The headcount is particularly important for the venue. About one week before the wedding, the venue representative will ask you for a final guest list. They'll use this number to set out the correct number of chairs for the ceremony and the reception — that way, there's room for everyone, and you won't need to worry about empty chairs in the wedding photos. If you're using a seating chart for dinner, an updated guest list ensures that everyone has an assigned seat.
Caterers also need a headcount to make sure they have enough food to feed your guests. This is true no matter what type of meal you're serving. For plated meals, the guest list helps the caterer time each course and schedule an adequate number of servers. For buffets and passed appetizers, it ensures that food doesn't run low.
Some of the other vendors who depend on timely RSVPs include:
Wedding cake baker
Chair and table rental company
How do you make sure your guests RSVP?
Wedding RSVP etiquette suggests that you send out RSVP cards with the wedding invitations; you shouldn't ask for an RSVP with a save the date. To encourage your guests to respond on time, use these tips:
State the wedding RSVP deadline clearly. Place the deadline in a high-visibility spot on your RSVP cards, so guests can't miss it. Use a font that's large and easy to read. You can also add the deadline to your wedding website and online event to reinforce the importance.
Ask for guests' meal choices. Food is a major motivator — when guests have the option to choose their meal, they may be more likely to respond on time. All you need to do is add a list of options and request that guests select one for each person.
Give your guests time to respond. In general, you should send out the wedding invitations and RSVP cards at least eight weeks before the event. This gives guests time to plan and meet the RSVP deadline.
Offer multiple RSVP options. Make your guests' lives easier by providing more than one way to RSVP. If you're sending an RSVP card, it might be helpful to add postage in advance. That way, people can drop the card in the mailbox without a trip to the post office. You can also add an RSVP option to your wedding website, so guests can respond with a couple of clicks.
Track your responses. Keep a spreadsheet of all invited guests, and mark their RSVPs as they come in. As the RSVP deadline approaches, it's easy to spot the missing RSVPs at a glance.
Before you set your RSVP deadline, make sure to ask your caterer, venue, and wedding planner when they need the final guest list. Then, choose a date that's at least one week earlier. Late RSVPs are inevitable, and this strategy gives you time to reach out to guests who haven't responded on time. If you're having a destination wedding or you're paying for guests' all-inclusive stays, consider an earlier RSVP deadline.
When should you send RSVP reminders?
If your RSVP deadline is looming and you're still missing quite a few responses, don't worry — you don't have to wait until the deadline to send out a friendly reminder. Simply gather the names of the people who have yet to RSVP, and start reaching out. Send out a friendly email to remind guests that the deadline is approaching; just make sure to BCC each person to avoid public shaming. If you have a social media event for the wedding, you can even create a quick post for a low-pressure reminder.
When the RSVP deadline passes, you might need to get more assertive. Text each person individually, or better yet, pick up the phone and call them. Let them know you're hoping to see them at your wedding, and politely explain that your venue and caterer need a final headcount. Many people will RSVP on the spot, and you can record their preferences in your spreadsheet.
A phone call is also an easy way to avoid miscommunication. When your loved ones can hear your voice, they're less likely to interpret your reminder as rude or aggressive. That's not always true with texts, which can seem impersonal or curt.
If you're unable to secure an RSVP by the deadline, you may have no chance but to cut the person from your list. If it's someone important, such as a family member or a close friend, you might want to keep them on the guest list just in case.
RSVP Reminder Wording Examples
It can feel frustrating to send out RSVP reminders, but it's a common issue that most couples deal with. Don't take it to heart; chances are, the lack of response has nothing to do with you. Guests might not even realize they're late. In some cases, they may be dealing with private issues that take precedence. By keeping your emotions in check, you can preserve your relationships and maintain a positive vibe around your wedding.
Not sure what to say? Check out these RSVP reminder message examples to help you word both written and in-person reminders.
Before the deadline
Before your RSVP deadline, make sure to keep reminders light and friendly. If you're posting to social media, you might say something like:
Hi everyone! Just a quick reminder that John and I need your RSVPs by June 25. If you haven't done it yet, it's super easy — just go to amyjohnwedding.com. We're so excited to see you all at the wedding!
If you're sending out an email reminder, consider writing:
John and I are so excited to see you all at our wedding in July! We want to remind you that we need your RSVPs by June 25. It's coming up quickly, so if you haven't yet, please let us know if you're able to make it.
You can RSVP on amyjohnwedding.com or send us an email at [email protected]. If you have any questions about hotels or getting here, feel free to email or call me at (555) 555-5555.
Can't wait to see you,
Amy and John
A short reminder is a great way to get to the point, but if you want to make guests feel included in the process, consider sharing a few details about the big day. They build excitement and create a stronger connection to the event.
John and I are deep in wedding planning, and we're looking forward to seeing you all in July. We can't wait for you to see the venue — it's built inside a historic firehouse, and the upper level has a gorgeous view of the dance floor.
Our caterer is a friend of mine from culinary school. She's designing the most amazing Mediterranean menu, and her partner is flying in the wine from Italy. Make sure you choose your entree and mention any allergies when you RSVP! If you haven't yet, go to amyjohnwedding.com and let us know if you're coming.
Please feel free to get in touch if you have any questions about hotels or things to do. We both love the city, and we'd love to share our best tips.
Can't wait for July,
Amy and John
After the deadline
Has your deadline passed? You can start with a quick RSVP reminder email that's short and to the point, but still polite:
Just a quick reminder that John and I need your RSVPs for the wedding ASAP! You can RSVP on amyjohnwedding.com or by email at [email protected]. Or, give me a call at (555) 555-5555.
Can't wait to see you in July!
Amy and John
As the caterer and venue deadline get closer, you might need to reach out to guests individually. An easy option is to send a personal text:
Hi Catherine, I was just checking the wedding RSVP list, and I realized I haven't heard from you. Just wanted to touch base to see if you and Joel can make it on July 14!
If you're planning to make a phone call, start with a friendly greeting and a quick catch-up. Then, you can mention the RSVP and ask if the person can make it to the wedding without seeming abrupt or rude. If you need to leave a voicemail, get right to the point:
Hi Catherine, this is Amy. I'm finalizing the guest list for our wedding, and I don't have an RSVP from you and Joel. Can you give me a call or send me a text to let me know if you can make it on July 14th? John and I are so excited to see you both. Talk to you soon!
Browse Truly Engaging’s RSVP designs
RSVP cards are one of the best ways to encourage guests to respond to your wedding invitation. Explore Truly Engaging’s RSVP designs to find beautiful cards that fit perfectly into your invitation suite. While you're at it, check out our blog for more wedding-planning tips and information about wedding etiquette.