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Choosing an RSVP Return Date


Wedding invitations come with more options and decisions than most people realize! From designs, to paper choices, to wording options and envelope colors . . . you will be faced with multiple questions to answer. One main item that couples overlook is their rsvp return date. Instead of just choosing a date at random, there are a few factors that you will want to consider.

Venue / Caterer The main factor that will play into your rsvp return date is when your venue or caterer will require your final count by. Your first task will be to speak with them directly to determine your deadline. Commonly, they will require a one to two week notice, but they will give you an exact date.

RSVP Return Date: 1 - 2 Weeks Prior to Wedding Date

Plated Another factor to consider is the type of meal you are planning; plated or family style. If you are having your meal served by the plate, your caterer may require an earlier notice. You will also have more preparation on your end. When having a meal served by the plate, your venue typically will require a tag or marking for each guest in order to display which meal the guest is receiving. Whether you have a wedding planner, a graphic designer, or you yourself are in charge of these items, make sure you allow yourself a week or two to create, proof, and print. No one likes a last minute job!

RSVP Return Date: 3 - 4 Weeks Prior to Wedding Date

Seating Chart If you are going to have a seating chart for your reception, you will want to allow enough time to figure out your layout and to physically create your seating chart displays. Rsvp’s trickling in one to two weeks before the wedding will cause issues with adding people to your chart and rearranging guests. If you require printing and/or folding, you will want to start physically creating your display or name tags closer to the two - three week mark. If you are writing your seating chart out by hand, you can complete your chart the week before the wedding. Always make sure you leave enough time for proofing and corrections.

RSVP Return Date: 3 - 4 Weeks Prior to Wedding Date

Size You know when you fill your plate with more food than you can handle. . . the good ol’ “my eyes are bigger than my stomach” trick! Well, it is known to happen where brides and grooms can sometimes have the same issue when it comes to the guest list! If you have found yourself in a situation where your guest list is larger than your venue, you will want to move your rsvp date up by a few weeks. Shoot for the three to four week mark. This allows you to:

1.) Hold on to a few invitations and when people send their rsvp’s in early, you can send a few additional invites out if you receive a few “unable to attend” responses.

2.) Have a few extra weeks to come up with a plan if your “able to attend” list is higher than what your venue allows. Whether it would be coming up with a different table arrangement, more food, having meals served in shifts . . . you will have the time to figure out why you invited so many people!

RSVP Return Date: 3 - 4 Weeks Prior to Wedding Date

Lastly remember, you will always have those few guests who push the limit and forget the rsvp due date. For this reason, I tell customers to pick the date they feel works best for all of the above factors and then add a few days to a week on to return date. This gives you a few days to hassle your guests that have not responded.

(Don’t worry this happens to everyone!)

Overall, two weeks is a good minimum and four weeks is a good maximum from the date of your wedding for your rsvp return date. Make sure you are giving both your venue, caterers and especially yourself, enough time to make all final preparations for the big day.

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