First off, don’t take it personally
Before you get upset with your guests, take a deep breath. Planning an event is a stressful time, but people are busy. There are so many things in life that are constantly tugging at our attention. I’ve even found myself filling out an RSVP card, getting distracting by a text message or a new show on Netflix, and then not filling out the card until days later. We’re ALL guilty. The only thing you can do to help is to not take it personally. Your guests aren’t trying to make your life harder (even if they are).
Create a plan of attack
The best way to combat failed RSVP replies is to create a plan before you even send your RSVP cards out to guests. How will you keep track of your RSVP replies? How will you count them? Will you use pen and paper or use technology? The event planning field has changed a lot in recent years and there are many ways to mitigate failed RSVP card responses. RSVP websites, RSVP text message services, and RSVP email services have all been created to make this process a whole lot easier. The solutions are out there, you just have to know where to look. I’ve gone through all the options and detailed them below:
Option 1: RSVP Online
If you’re planning your wedding or have attended one recently, you probably know that wedding websites have become incredibly popular. Couples love the ability to create a wedding website and add a cover photo from their engagement photo session with a blurb about how they met and fell in love. You can also add logistical information about your wedding right there on the website so guests can see it. These websites come with the option of letting your guests RSVP online. TheKnot.com is a great place to start, you can setup your event for free.
How an RSVP website works
On your RSVP cards, instead of including blank lines for your guests to fill in, put your wedding website (or other type of event) URL on them. Guests will then go onto their computer (or cell phone), type the URL into the web browser or their choice and then fill out their RSVP reply. You can then login on theknot.com or whichever service you use, and view your head count and filter RSVP replies. If you are not planning a wedding and still want an event website for your RSVPs, there are other options out there like rsvpify.com. Rsvpify allows you to setup online RSVPs for any type of event.
Option 2: Use a text message RSVP service
If you don’t want to deal with receiving RSVP replies in the mail, opening them up by hand, and counting them by hand, another option is using a text message RSVP service. These take the online RSVP to the next level by allowing users to RSVP straight through their phone without getting on a computer or browsing to a website. replied.app is a text RSVP service that does just that.
How replied.app text RSVP service works
When you sign up for replied.app, you are assigned a dedicated “phone number,” which you will then share with your guests for your event. You can place the replied.app phone number on your RSVP cards and mail them, or share the number in other ways (email, poster, invitation, etc.). Your guests will text message the number, and the intelligent text platform will text them back and gather all their RSVP information through the text conversation. The guest doesn’t have to mail anything, or login to anything at all. The benefit of a text message RSVP service is that guests tend to reply faster because sending a text message is simpler than logging onto a computer or mailing a physical letter.
Option 3: Use email RSVPs
Sending RSVPs via email has been a norm for corporate events for a long time, but it’s starting to become more common for weddings, birthday parties, and other types of events. You can make this as simple or elaborate as you want. For the simpler side, some people send a email out to everyone being invited an ask for an email reply with their response and number attending. If you’re good at photography and web design, you can make the format of the email quite beautiful and elegant. If you’re not so good at design, you can use a 3rd party email RSVP provider like event greenvelope.com. They provide beautiful email RSVPs and RSVP tracking so you can keep count of your guests. The name “greenvelope” explains how they’re going green by promoting more people to use digital RSVPs and invitations instead of paper and envelope.
Option 4: Hire someone to manage your RSVPs for you
I’ve seen this more with corporate events and weddings recently. For weddings, I’ll see a family member or friend manage the invitations and RSVP responses which takes the stress away from the couple. For corporate events, they usually have the money so they’ll hire an event planner which also takes the stress away from the employees actually throwing the event. This doesn’t necessarily make the RSVP responses come back faster but it definitely makes one less thing for you to worry about.
Last resort – Give them a direct call or text message
If it’s getting close to your event date and you still haven’t heard back from a guest (or two, or three), shoot them a text message. If that fails, give them a call. They won’t take it personally and they know you need to get a head count for your event. This is the quickest and most effective way to knock out your last few RSVP replies.