Working here at Heartwood Hall, I have a new found appreciation for RSVPs. Over my time here, I have seen mothers and brides alike struggle over their final head counts because, although they are desperately needed, RSVPs are a lost art.
As one of Memphis' top wedding venues, our whole wedding day plans are driven by the final head count of our events. This number allows us to set up the right amount of tables, with desired place settings, the correct number of chairs, as well as the proper amount of food for the reception and cocktail party. Without the time and effort dedicated from our brides on their RSVPs, I would not be able to do my job!
Now that we know how important they are, how do we get them? I've enlisted aid from our friends at theknot.com on our desperation for RSVP. Theknot gave a few Q&A to help here:
Q:What do RSVP and Regrets Only mean?
A:RSVP is short for, "Respondez, s'il vous plait," which means, simply, "Please respond" in French. That means you should respond either way, whether you're able to make it or not. If the couple has included a response card or postcard with the invitation, it's easy -- just send the card back saying you will attend or will not attend. (If there's no response card included, you should send a note letting the couple know whether you'll be there.) If you don't respond, the couple will be forced to call you to verify your attendance! Don't give them more to do -- just send your card back. "Regrets" or "Regrets Only" means that only guests who can't make it need to respond. This way, the couple assumes that if you don't respond, you are coming.
Q:If invited guests do not respond to a formal wedding invitation, even though a response card was supplied, should we call them to find out if they will come? Or can we assume that they're not coming?
A:As far as final head count goes, you should never assume. Call to see if they're coming. You never know -- maybe they think they sent the response card but it may be hiding under a pile of mail. If calling is a problem, assume that they are coming, and make sure there's food and seats for them. It's better to have extra grub and room than to have neglected guests wondering where to sit!
Q:How much time do you allow for guests to return reception response cards? My wedding is 11 months away. If invitations should go out six to eight weeks before the wedding, what date should I put on the response cards?
A:Your RSVP deadline should be set for no later than two weeks before the big day. If the date passes and there are guests you still haven't heard from, pick up the phone and give them a call so that you can give your caterer and other vendors a final head count.
Now this last one, although on the right track, I do have something to change. We've always told our brides that if you get down to the last weeks and you are still waiting to hear from a large number of RSVPs, there is a way to fix it. Emily Post says it is not proper to have the Bride, Mother of the Bride or Groom's Mother call, but she doesn't say anything about Aunt Susie or Bridemaid Kelly! Invite your bridesmaids and (willing) family members over for some snacks and drinks and divide the list of people left up between your girls! All they have to do is call the remaining people and say something like this: "Hi, this is Kelly. I am just calling on behalf of Matt and Kristin. They have you down for 2 people for their wedding on Saturday, May 16th. Will you still be able to make it?" This will give them an opportunity to say, "Why yes! I forgot to send in that little piece of paper, but we will be there!" or "Oh, No! We are going out of town that week!" Before you know it, you will have your list down to the bare minimum! If however, you still have some that you are missing, we always recommend to cut in half and add that to your final head count. That way you can guesstimate the ones that may still show up.
In researching for this blog, I looked on Pinterest (of course!) and found this website called RSVPify.com. It is a new resource you can either add to your wedding website or distrube among your guests to collect RSVP digitally! This would be tons of help and can be useful for those tech-savy brides!
At the end of the day, RSVPs are a big deal for your venue and for your budget. They are necessary for your wedding day, no matter how evil they may be. Enlist the help of friends and family, and do whatever you can to keep from feeling this way:
Until Next Time, Happy Planning! xoxo
Photos Found on Pinterest.com