In todayâ€™s hectic and harried world, the simple courtesy of responding to an invitation seems to have, for many, fallen into the â€œoptionalâ€ category. Such an oversight may be merely an annoyance when youâ€™re hosting an informal weekend barbeque. But for an event the size and expense of a wedding, youâ€™ll find that getting an accurate headcount is a necessity; both for finalizing your contracts with your vendors as well as for ensuring the smooth progress of the entire event.
Etiquette (which is a fancy word for â€œcommon courtesy!â€) suggests that it is appropriate to respond to an invitation the day it is received, or at least within a few days. Knowing that few people follow this guideline, most couples opt to put a â€œreply byâ€ date on their wedding invitation response cards. This strategy not only offers guests a gentle sense of urgency, but also provides the hosts with a clear date for when it is appropriate to begin contacting guests who have not replied. Be sure to set this date a few days ahead of the deadline for providing the caterers and other vendors with your final guest count, to give yourself time to track down those guests you havenâ€™t heard from.
(And yes, it is perfectly appropriate to call or email guests who havenâ€™t responded to your invitation in a timely manner. With a bit of finesse, this contact can be handled politely â€“ and you can secure a more accurate guest count!)
The Abby invitation and reply card, in black ink.
One tip we like to offer our customers is to assign each invited family a number on your personal copy of the guest list. Lightly pencil these corresponding numbers in a tiny back corner of each reply card when mailing the wedding invitations. This way, if a guest returns the reply card, but forgets to write their name on it (this happens more often than youâ€™d think!), youâ€™ll have a sneaky secret for checking whose reply card youâ€™ve received.
Knowing in advance that youâ€™ll spend some time following up with â€œdeadbeatâ€ wedding invitees may help take the sting out of this irritating task. In the meantime, maybe we should start a Facebook campaign to change the general lazy attitude towards RSVPs?