How and When to Follow Up With Wedding Guests Who Have Not RSVP’d
When your wedding invitation RSVP date rolls around, hopefully you will have received all of your guest responses and can then submit your official guest count to your wedding venue. However, it’s most often the case that wedding couples are left waiting for a handful of non-responders’ answers, which can be very frustrating. You might think, “They received their invitations weeks ago! How could they not respond?”
But before you experience too much wedding stress, keep in mind that some guests’ response cards may have legitimately gotten lost in the mail, and some may have responded via email, which can occasionally end up in a lost message as well.
And then there are guests who simply forgot to respond.
Whatever the reason, the fact remains: you’ll have to contact guests who have not RSVP’d.
Here are some tips on how to follow up with guests who have not responded to your wedding invitation:
- Time it right. Give them one week after your wedding invitation response date before you contact them. Some guests may have mailed their response cards out on the RSVP date, figuring ‘better late than never,’ and you will look far more in control waiting a week, rather than calling on the RSVP deadline.
- Call, don’t email. Your email might wind up in your guest’s spam folder, which will lead to more frustration. When you make a phone call, your polite message of, “Just calling to see if you’ll be able to attend our wedding” will yield best results, since the guest can hear in your voice that you’re not angry. You’re just checking on them, since you do hope they can attend.
- Respond well. If the guest you call expresses surprise that you didn’t receive their response card, then you have your answer of, “Yes, we will attend,” and if your wedding response card also had a question of which type of entrée they’d like at your reception, you’ll get that information from them as well, which allows you to ask if anyone in their family needs a gluten-free wedding meal or other specialty dish that your wedding venue can accommodate. If they respond with the dreaded, “We’re not sure yet,” don’t respond with annoyance, or call them rude for delaying your guest headcount delivery. Just say, “Please do let me know by (deadline you’ve set) since we have to submit our headcount to the caterer.” Some guests aren’t aware that you face a deadline and will be happy to hurry up their response.
- Give them a set deadline to get back to you. But here is an important tip to help you get RSVP responses: Don’t say, “Please get back to me within 24 hours” or “48 hours,” since that can seem too bossy and dramatic. It’s far better to say, “Please get back to me by Tuesday,” which sounds better. Even if Tuesday is 48 hours away.
- Don’t overdo it with apologies. You may not want to seem like you’re rushing your guest for an answer, but in this instance, you do have a right to. You’ve requested their answer by a certain date, and their answer hasn’t reached you. Your wedding venue needs a headcount to finalize your menu plans and budget, and this guest does need to be courteous about that. So while it’s fine to say, “Sorry to call during the evening, but I’m just checking in to see if you and your family will be able to make it to our wedding.” Over-apologizing can create problems when a guest who doesn’t practice good wedding etiquette senses that he or she is in the driver’s seat, able to respond when they feel like it.
- Check in personally. While it might seem like a good tactic to have your parent call relatives for this answer, they might be uncomfortable with the task, make the call and then not be able to extract an answer, since the conversation veered into chitchat. Parents may be likely to give relatives extra time that you didn’t plan on. So make the call yourself and get that answer you need for your final guest head count delivery.