No one likes to admit it, but there’s a lot to be confused about when creating, organizing, sending out, and receiving RSVPs for any event. From etiquette, to timing, to style, to expectations of your guests, we’ve always been surprised by the number of questions we see from event planners when considering these things. With this in mind, we decided to gather nine of our most common RSVP questions into one handy guide for you as you plan your next event:
1. What types of events should I use RSVPs for?
These days, with the advent of digital and online RSVPs, we’ve seen this process used for everything from the traditional wedding RSVP or formal events like Bar and Bat Mitzvahs, to more recently corporate events, reunions, and social get togethers. With online RSVPs now becoming much cheaper and less tedious than the traditional snail mail variety, you can use them for any event that you plan to organize around a guest list, large or small.
2. Who generally gets a Plus One at a typical event?
Once upon a time, it was considered only that spouses were part of the Plus One crowd. However, modern trends have started to include significant others or long-term relationships in this fold as well. We’d generally recommend this – if the person is a close friend of yours, and you’ve got the room, you should default to a Plus One. If we’re talking more of an acquaintance, you should probably save the spot for others.
3. How long should I give guests to RSVP?
Most etiquette experts recommend setting an RSVP return date about a month after sending out invitations. However, here at RSVPify, we actually have a handy RSVP calculator that, based on our data from thousands of events, can give you an expected time of receipt for any given quantity of RSVPs. Head on over to the RSVPify Timeline Calculator to give it a whirl!
4. How many guests should I expect / plan for?
While the answer to this question (as is the answer to most questions) is of course, “it depends”, it’s not completely a black box. That said, to increase your yield of accepted guests you should work to get your Save The Dates out as early as you can to ensure your event gets on your guests calendars before they get double-booked. We’ve actually analyzed our data at RSVPify to calculate the average percentage of guests that accept their wedding invitations.
5. Isn’t an online RSVP considered a little tacky?
Once upon a time, this was certainly true. And many folks will still tell you that the actual wedding invitation needs to be sent via traditional snail-mail. However, the online RSVP has exploded in popularity and acceptance over the past couple years. While you certainly can send online wedding invitations, we recommend sticking to traditional paper invitations, but going for the digital RSVP collection option.
6. How long should I wait to follow up with guests who haven’t RSVP’d?
After a month or so, it’s more than acceptable to start following up with some of those MIA RSVPs. Be sure to be polite (these are your friends and family), but reminding them politely that you need this info to, ummm, host your event is always a nice touch too. You can read our recommended steps for reminding your guests to RSVP.
7. What kind of information do I need to include on the RSVP (or collect with it)?
Your RSVP can make your life a whole lot easier, or can be the source of frustration when you realize later on all the questions you could have gotten answered right away. From meal preferences to attendance at secondary events, make sure you come up with a detailed lists of the info you’ll need from all guests, to make the most of your digital RSVP.
8. How formal should my RSVP be?
That depends entirely on your event and personal preference. Formal RSVP wording is usually still the choice if you plan on going with a traditional, fancy paper invitation for your event. This usually entails an RSVP written in the 3rd person with a guest’s response already prepared (usually you’ll just ask them to check a box or sign). The nice thing about using formal language is it conveys a seriousness to the invitation itself – which might be a nice subtle way to get those replies back to you faster than usual. However, if the event is more informal, you probably want an RSVP that projects that instead. Get creative with your fonts or goofy with your wedding RSVP wording (or use a cute picture!).
9. Anything else I should know about the RSVP process?
Generally, people forget how important RSVPs can be to making sure your event runs smoothly. Whether it’s getting them out early enough to get a comprehensive guest list, or making sure to collect as much information as possible to help with the planning process, the more attention you pay to your RSVP, the easier your event day will be.