How to Handle Late RSVPs for Your Wedding

See how you should proceed if you receive RSVP cards past the date allotted.

So your RSVP deadline has come and gone and your guest list is due to your caterers, but you’re still waiting on a dozen response cards. Even though you’re in the right, unfortunately you are going to need to buckle down and garner some responses out of these invitees. While it may be tempting to assume guests who do not RSVP either way do not plan to attend, it’s important to make sure that you won’t have anybody showing up unexpectedly. For those wondering how to handle the search for missing RSVPs, we have your guide on how to approach those errant guests. 

wedding invitations, late rsvps, late response cards
Photo by Laurie Bailey Photography; Planning & Design by Linda Howard Events

Despite stating a date for your invitees to respond by, not everyone will abide by your request. Sometimes it’s innocent: response cards get lost; couples miscommunicate about who put the RSVP in the mail; people mistakenly think a verbal RSVP is sufficient, etc. Give yourself some buffer time by having your RSVP due date be two weeks before your guest count needs to be submitted to the caterer. Allow a couple of extra days after the deadline you gave has passed, in case people put their response cards in the mail on the day of the deadline. After that, it’s time for you to make some calls.

While it is completely reasonable to be frustrated with a lack of response after all the time and money that went into sending invitations, it is important to make sure that frustration doesn’t come through your voice on the phone. If you are feeling particularly agitated, try watching a fun video online to put you in a good mood before making the call. If they answer the phone, be friendly but firm when explaining that you have to give your caterer a final number. Ensure that you hope to see them there (that is presumably why you invited them, after all), but add that you understand if they can’t attend. Perhaps they didn’t send a response card because they felt guilty about not being able to attend. If you reach someone’s voicemail, be as friendly as possible while explaining that if you don’t hear back from them by a date of your choosing you will have to assume they are not coming to the wedding.

Most importantly, be sure to divide this task with your groom. If it’s his fraternity brothers who haven’t responded, you should not be responsible for chasing them down. 

Find out how to get guests to RSVP to your wedding and learn what mistakes couples often make with their invitations

Authored by: Emily Lasnier