3 ways to chase down RSVPs from lazy guests

Guest post by thymeonmyside
When your “smart conversation rsvp” isn't the end of your rsvp conversations.

I'm five weeks out from my wedding, and I'm still missing about 30% of my RSVPs. We won't get into why it's so hard for people to send in a pre-addressed stamped card, send an email, type out a text, or make a phone call, but we all know it is.

Lucky for you, I've learned a couple of things in the process of thinking about how to chase people down…

Set a deadline that's two weeks prior to when you need it

If my deadline had been two weeks ago, I would have had a buffer. I would have had time to chase people down without feeling stressed about it. Instead, my RSVP deadline isn't for another week, but my mail has slowed significantly and I'm not really expecting all of the replies to come back as soon as I need them.

Use Facebook lists

Don't know how? See this post. The beauty of the Facebook list is that no one knows they're on it. I created a list with all the people who hadn't RSVP'd, and posted a chipper status reminding “everyone” to send in their responses by the card, email, or Facebook message, and just made that status private to everyone on the list. I got more cards over the next few days, and a couple Facebook messages. I also didn't harass people over Facebook who either already sent in their response or weren't invited in the first place, and I didn't have to call anyone out by name.

Get your parents involved

Most of the missing RSVPs were our parents' people, not ours. Extended family, family friends, etc. So we sent out the following email to each parent (we have five sets; complicated family tree):

Dear [Parent],
We're sending each parent a list of “their” people who haven't yet RSVP'd. We'd really appreciate your help in tracking them down!

  • The Smiths
  • Aunt Patsy
  • Uncle Bob
  • The Hamiltons
  • The Lambs

Thanks and love you, Thymeonmyside and future-husband

That netted me an email from my future father-in-law telling me that everyone in North Dakota was not coming, but expressing his shock that they hadn't RSVP'd; a text from my dad saying he would talk to his siblings this week, but that my aunt was coming alone; some Facebook messages from my mom's friends, to whom I assume she just forwarded my email; and a much calmer bride.

I know that these tactics won't take care of everyone. I'll still have to start chasing people down individually in a week or so, but these strategies really have lightened my load.

What other creative ways have you come up with to hunt down your errant RSVPs?

Comments on 3 ways to chase down RSVPs from lazy guests

  1. We made a Facebook event and invited everyone on there after the RSVP deadline went by and we were at 50% responses. That shook a few people out of the woodwork. I also got my parents to hassle their siblings, and learned that some of them had RSVP’d to my parents but not to me, which I can’t even fathom.

    • I’ve had a couple people do that, as well. It’s how it used to be done, when parents threw the wedding more often. What I don’t understand is the decision to completely disregard the very clear instructions on which phone number to call if they want to RSVP by phone.

  2. My issue has been the USPS either not delivering the invites, RSVPs not being delivered to us, or people going…OH CRAP YEAH…
    we are two weeks out and still missing about 80 responses….
    But you can’t post something on your facebook wall because then you get those people saying, “I haven’t gotten my invite yet…” cus ur not invited sorry….

    So I’ve resorted to facebook, text messages, and parents. Asking the person, “Hey what’s going on? Did you happen to get your invitation? No? well crap…(it was only sent 3 weeks ago…) Well you are invited, we’d love to have you, here’s our wedding site, if I have any spare invites I’ll make sure you get it. OR You did? fantastic! Have you had a chance to send in your RSVP? etc….

    This has been the most frustrating part. I can’t solidify the number of tables needed for my florist or venue. And I need to start paying people (like the florist) next week….

  3. Just YES! We have gone the entirely digital route (via greenvelope.com) and it has been really wonderful, and easy, a stress-relieving to see the “Yes’s” and “No’s” add up, and get put into a pie chart and…and..AND YET, we are 4 weeks away from our wedding and still have about 30% of people who haven’t RSVP’d. And all we require is to click on the “RSVP link, choose “Attending” or “Not Attending” and hit Submit. That’s it! No envelopes to seal, no post boxes to walk to, no nothing. Click and submit.

    Our deadline is TOMORROW, June 30th. On the invitation we have set it so that no one can RSVP after this date. I chose this date because it is 2 weeks before the final walk through with our caterers and venue, and it is 3 weeks before the drop-dead head count has to be in to the caterers. So for those who want to RSVP (and we will be doing the mandatory follow-up calls and emails) after June 30th they will be forced to communicate with us – uncomfortably, awkwardly, whatever it is that has some folk terrified of communication, they will be forced to do it. Oh, and did I mention one of our outstanding RSVP’s is from a couple who yadda-yadda’d all over Fbook about how people weren’t RSVP’ing and how hard was it to…Honestly, you just have to laugh.

    Actually early on in this whole invite-RSVP thing I remember a friend told me that the people who can come to the wedding will be the first to RSVP – those that wait the longest are usually procrastinating because they don’t want to say no, even though they will likely have to. So, for me it helped to just sort of say to myself that at this point – 1 day away from RSVP deadline – I can probably count those not-yet-RSVP’d out. 🙂

  4. I don’t want to sound like a grouchy mean old lady. But I won’t be chasing ANYONE down. We will give a deadline (point of a deadline is that if you do not meet it, there are consequences!) and I will politely and calmly let my invited guests know that, if we don’t receive an answer by the deadline we will assume they are not attending.

    • yep I agree. I am doing the same thing. Our rsvp’s are due back in 2 days and about 5 people haven’t even mentioned if they got their invite. They know when the wedding is and they know we’ve sent the invites and that they are invited so, they would have said something if they haven’t received them… If I have no received your RSVP in 2 days, than you will not have food. A seat – yes but no food.

  5. Awesome list! Thankfully all my guests RSVPd before time. Only bummer is we had a guy RSVP and then not show up. He facebooked another guest saying “CHUUURRR got a bbq and beers on if you wanna come”, and they replied, “actually we’re at R & M’s wedding, aren’t you supposed to be here too?” to which they got no reply, and my husband struck him off his list of friends. 🙂 No loss, IMHO!

  6. Calling guests “lazy” just because they haven’t R.S.V.P.’d leaves a bad taste in my mouth. You could have no idea why someone hasn’t R.S.V.P.’d. They may be dealing with an illness, a hospitalized family member, a personal issue. Who knows? It certainly wouldn’t hurt to try and contact people. I know a few years ago, my parents were invited to the wedding of a friend’s daughter (who they had known her whole life) Well, there was too much mail to fit all into their PO Box so the post office decided to hold it for them. Only they never received notification and it was never put in the box once there was room. They didn’t get it for a month+. The bride had elected to not check in with them, unfortunately, and so my parents ended up missing the wedding of an important family friend. No laziness there.

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