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How Much Time Should You Give Wedding Guests to RSVP?

If you give them too much leeway, they might forget to reply!

Contributing Writer
molly adam wedding guests
Photography by: Marissa Maharaj

Getting family and friends to let you know if they're coming to the wedding can be frustrating. This is what often happens: You'll get a flurry of responses right after people receive their invitation (thank you!), then a few will straggle in for the next few weeks. Expect a bunch of replies close to the deadline. And then there are those who never respond—you'll have to go after them. To make sure you give guests enough time to RSVP (but not too much that they forget), check out the guide below to figure out how much time you should really give your potential attendees to get their responses in.

 

Related: Your Ultimate Wedding-Planning Timeline

 

How many weeks should you give people to RSVP?

Assuming you've sent your invitations out in time (at least six to eight weeks before your wedding), then give your guests four or five weeks to RSVP. This is plenty of time for people to figure out if they want/are able to attend your wedding, as well as figure out any necessary travel arrangements.

 

When should the RSVP deadline be?

Have your RSVP due date be two to three weeks prior to the wedding. Your caterer will want a head count at least one week before the reception, and you'll need a few days to get in touch with people who you haven't heard from.

 

How does that all work out?

Let's say you're getting married on June 2. Mail invitations between April 7-21 (that's six to eight weeks ahead of the wedding). Give an RSVP date of between May 12-19 (that gives them four or five weeks to decide). Then, you're left with two to three weeks before the wedding to track down any late responders. Pretty simple, right?

 

Do we need to give guests a grace period before we ask for their RSVP ourselves?

Skip the grace period and start calling. Your guests had four or five weeks to get back to you! We recommend trying to get in touch with them the day after the deadline passes.

 

What should you say to people who didn't RSVP?

Ask them if they received the invitation and how you hope they're planning on attending but you haven't heard from them. Most likely, they'll apologize for their tardiness then quickly give you an answer. If they're unsure, ask them to call or text you within 24 hours, explaining you have to give the caterer a final number. If they still don't contact you by the next day, count them out.