The biggest factor in your wedding expenses is directly correlated to the size of the guest list—catering. Therefore, handling your RSVP’s just right is crucial in keeping costs down and ensuring there is enough food and drink for all to enjoy. Here are some suggestions to keep your replies in order.
Invitation Response Card: When mailing your invitations, consider writing in the name(s) of the invited guest(s) on their response card. Imagine trying to decipher what appears to be hieroglyphics (also known as illegible handwriting) or that inevitable a blank card (whose reply is this). It is also less work for your guests, promoting a quicker response time (hopefully).
Indicate a Response Deadline: List a deadline about three weeks to a month before your South Florida wedding date for your guests to reply. Place this target date on their response card in a highly visible spot. If you decide to have an “A” list and “B” guest list, discuss this with the company representative or even better, a wedding planner so you can plan your invitations accordingly. This is a very tricky area so handling an A and B list should be done with the utmost care and timeliness.
Postage: First, remember to affix postage on your reply cards before they are sealed. Don’t laugh—this really does happen! Then make sure it is the right amount of stamps. Irregular shaped envelopes, heavy paper and wax seals may cost more so double check with your local post office if you are uncertain.
Spreadsheet: Time to embrace that Excel 101 course you took years ago and create a guest list spreadsheet to track mailed invitations. This sheet would hold names of all guests, plus ones (if any), their address and the date invitations were sent. Consider also designating a column for dinner preference, RSVP response, gift and thank you card.
Once invitations are sent, highlight that guest in one color and when they respond, indicate a yes or no in the column and highlight that in another color. Then keep a guest tally as the rest of the responses come in.
Gone Missing: Make phone calls to herd those cats, er, missing guests who have yet to reply past the deadline. Contact them by phone, text, or email about a week before your final guest count is due.
Keep the conversation positive despite any hurt feelings you may have (perhaps it was misplaced or they thought they responded). Start the discussion by mentioning that you hope that they received the wedding invitation okay. Blame it on the caterer! Add that the caterer needs the guest count and you wanted to reach out since you had not heard their reply. However, you can and should delegate this duty to a mom or Maid of Honor.
Hopefully with these tips, you will facilitate an accurate head count to convey to your South Florida caterer.