A lot of the final details for your wedding hinge on your guest’s RSVP by date. You don’t want to run around like a chicken with your head cut off working on seating assignments, and paying rush fees for your stationery designer to get you your seating chart and escort cards in time.
Lots of couples I chat with say they had to chase down 30% or more of their guest list. (That includes couples who opted for online RSVPs!) So if you include time for any chasing people down in the Trader Joe’s produce section, your stress levels to get your final headcount done are gonna be through the roof!
Last-minute RSVP stress is not worth the headache especially because you can absolutely avoid it.
Hearing that couples had ridiculous stresses over their RSVPS just breaks my heart. (I mean you need to be relaxing those last few weeks before the wedding! ) That is why I sit down with all my couples to figure out the perfect RSVP date for their big day! Because just like your wedding budget, every wedding and every couple is different and your RSVP date should be calculated on your schedule and your wedding details.
Today I am gonna show you how to avoid the ridiculous RSVP runaround and help you find the perfect RSVP by date for your guests. Don’t forget to download my interactive RSVP worksheet!
Your big day + a little buffer (for your sanity)
Start with your wedding date and work backward
The most important date on this worksheet is obviously your wedding date! Everything about your RSVP date stems from you meeting your wedding day deadline, and working backward is the best way to do this.
BUFFER RECOMMENDATION | I always recommend adding an additional 5-7 days here. You don’t want your programs, menus or well…anything really showing up the day before. Give yourself time to put out any unexpected fires that pop up along the way.
Seating Charts + Escort Cards + Personalized Favors…oh my!
WORKING WITH A STATIONERY DESIGNER:
Typical timeline for these items is least 4 weeks for design and printing. This can increase depending on your request (acrylic or wood items for example.) Reach out as early as possible to get on their schedule!
WORKING WITH A CALLIGRAPHER:
Typical timeline for these items is least 6 weeks. Some calligraphers will rush items, but it’s not very common and can be extremely pricey! Reach out as early as possible to get on their schedule!
GOING ALL DIY:
You are the only person that can put a timeframe on this. That being said…give yourself room to finish what you need to get done. Don’t be a hero and say you can write 200 escort cards in 1 day or 1 weekend even! The point is to decrease the stress, not add to it!
When is your final headcount due to your caterer?
You can typically find this date in your catering contract. I would love to tell you it’s always x days from your wedding date, but it varies so much. I can say it’s typically 1-2 weeks out from your wedding day, but some caterers (like farm-to-table) can be as much as 6 weeks!
Don’t forget to give yourself time to chase people down
I mean this in the nicest way possible, but people are lazy and your guests are no different. Either they filled out the RSVP, set it next to the door and forgot about it or your eight-year-old niece checked the mail and never gave it to your sister or….well the examples of crazy situations happening are endless. You just need to accept that this is gonna happen.
Since chasing down people can take a few days, I suggest giving yourself at least 5-7 days here. Plus, you have to know exactly how many people to tell your caterer. You’re gonna want to count up the RSVPs a couple of times once you get everyone’s response.
If you are doing assigned seating, then you may want this to be ten days. You will be surprised how much effort and time sitting guests with the right people can be.
Your perfect RSVP by date is…
So once you have entered all the dates and added all the buffers you have your perfect RSVP date! It may seem like a far off date from your wedding, but having room for the unexpected and to get information to your vendors in time is key to having as little stress as possible leading up to your big day.
Don’t forget to give your guests enough time to plan to attend
The typical length to give your guests to rsvp is 6-8 weeks. If you know a lot of guests are coming from out of town, or you are having a destination wedding 8-10 weeks is best. Your guests are excited to attend your wedding, but they will need time to arrange for a sitter, buy airline tickets or request time off work before rsvping.
Don’t forget to grab your find the perfect RSVP by date worksheet!
Enter your info below to download your free worksheet and figure out your perfect rsvp by date!