Wedding RSVPs are an important part of wedding etiquette and the planning process–knowing when to send out your invitations and how to ask your guests to RSVP (and when to request responses be due).

When you begin planning your wedding, and you finally find the perfect date to tie the knot with the love of your life, you may naturally begin thinking about sending Save-the-Dates and receiving RSVPs.

According to The Knot, not sending Save-the-Date cards is a wedding mistake. Since the classic “cards'' can also now be sent over email, it makes it all the simpler to distribute Save-the-Dates to your future wedding guests. Even if you do send cards, they don’t have to be detailed, but it’s important to send them as soon as possible so that your guests can mark their calendars and make any necessary travel accommodations.

So, when is the best time to send a Save-the-Date announcement? Since they count as your official wedding announcement, it’s best to start sending these out a good 6-8 months prior to the event.

This will give your guests time to plan, make travel arrangements, arrange childcare if need be, and prepare to celebrate your beautiful union.

Since Save-the-Dates don’t need to be formal and detailed, they don’t exactly require formal RSVPs. Some folks may loosely RSVP depending on if you give them the option on your wedding website (which we recommend setting up prior to sending Save-the-Dates), but in most cases, they’ll wait for your formal invitation.

Once you’ve created your wedding website and sent out Save-the-Dates (again, aim to have those out at least 6-8 weeks prior to your wedding) you will probably be in the middle of the planning stage. It’s important not to let your formal wedding invitations slip through the cracks!

It’s recommended to send wedding invites 3-5 months prior to the wedding. At this point is where the hard RSVPs come into play.

You may have received a few soft RSVPs from some guests based off of the Save-the-Date, but now it’s getting serious. You need those RSVPs to begin planning wedding details like food, alcohol, seating, and more. Some venues and vendors will wait until the week of the wedding for final headcount, and others will need a month – make sure you take your vendor contracts into consideration when making your RSVP deadline.

You can expect RSVPs from your guests shortly following the wedding invitation, and most modern invites ask them to RSVP on your wedding website. This gives you the opportunity to supply all of the wedding details, while they can easily let you know whether or not they’ll be there without having to send a card. If you know a lot of your guests aren’t as good with a computer, opt for physical pre-postmarked RSVP cards that you include within your formal invitation. You can also create a QR Code to print on your Invitation that can take your guests directly to the RSVP page if you think they’re savvy enough for that creative option.

Your guests should have all RSVP’d about four weeks prior to the wedding. This gives them about 3 months to decide if they can make it or not. While this may stagger and not always be the case, you have to decide what timeline works best for you.

If you need those answers sooner rather than later, put a sooner date on the invitation. Make sure to give them a deadline so that you can begin those planning details! This is also helpful when you have a “B list” and need to send out back-up invitations for friends and family that might not have made the original guest list.

Sometimes, your guests may forget to RSVP entirely. We recommend giving them about a week of wiggle room after the deadline before reaching out. They may have the invite pinned on their computer or on their fridge, and could have just forgotten the exact day to RSVP by.

But if you haven’t heard back and you need to, just shoot them a text and ask them if they are able to RSVP. No harm, no foul!

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