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You can ask just about anyone and they can share a few RSVP nightmare stories from their own wedding planning experience. Luckily, I am here to help you tackle some of those potential nightmares before they come to be.  Here are some of my tips and tricks on enjoying a stress-free invitation experience and say “goodbye” to those RSVP nightmares.

  1. It all starts with being timely

Invitations should be sent out 8-10 weeks prior to the wedding. Any earlier and guests will forget to respond.  Any later you’ll be rushing to get your final headcount to the caterer (typically expected two to three weeks prior to the wedding).

  1. Online RSVPs may be easier for all

With technology being an integral part of our lives, online RSVPs are becoming more and more popular. Just because you have a traditional invitation, doesn’t mean you can’t politely ask your guests to respond online. Not only is this easier for guests, you are more likely to get responses faster.  It is also a great way to track everything from plus-ones to dinner choices without having to manually input the information into a spreadsheet.

PRO TIP: Older guests might not be as technologically savvy, so it may be wise to include a response card in their invitation.

  1. Be clear

Make sure there is no confusion when your RSVPs are due back. The deadline should be two to three weeks prior to the wedding.

  1. Delegate

Even with the deadline and online convenience, some guests will still not respond on time. For the guests that need a little extra nudge, a polite phone call may be needed. A great way to ease the pressure is to ask a friend or family member to make some of the calls for you. This gives those who want to help a wonderful opportunity to do so.

  1. Overwhelmed

If the thought of all of this seems too overwhelming, no worries! That is what wedding planners are for. It is way easier to leave it to the professionals. Your planner can track everything in a very efficient way, but also relay the information to all other interested parties, such as your caterer, rental company, and venue. We’ve got your back!

Here are some FAQs when dealing with inviting or inviting children and that “plus-one”guest.

How to communicate that children aren’t invited:

The decision to invite children or not to invite children to a wedding is a highly debated topic with no right or wrong answer. Ultimately it is a personal choice made by the bride and groom.  Here is how you can indicate that children are not invited to the wedding:

The subtle approach…

Addressing the wedding invitation to adults only is the simplest way of indicating that children are not invited. You can further cement this by including the names or number of those invited on the RSVP card.

The risk is that some guests may assume they and their kids are a package deal. This can lead to drama if parents actually bring their children to the wedding.

Straight-forward approach…

It’s simple, direct and there will be no confusion. Somewhere on your invitation or RSVP card indicate that children are not invited to the wedding. You can use any of the following statements:

  • No children
  • Adults only
  • Adult wedding and reception
  • Adult only affair
  • This invitation is extended to adults only

Although this method is effective, beware some sensitive guests may find it rude.

A light-hearted approach…

So you’ve got a lot of guests with kids or you also love kids, but for whatever reason be it budget, space or venue you’ve made the decision not to invite children. Approach the situation delicately with something cute and thoughtful:

  • In order to allow all guests, including parents, an evening of relaxation we have chosen for our wedding day to be an adult only occasion. We hope this advance notice means you are still able to share our big day and will enjoy having the evening off!
  • To give all our guests the opportunity to let their hair down and have a good time without having to worry about little eyes and ears we politely request no children.
  • While we love to watch the children run and play, this is an adults only kind of day.

The drawback is that this will take up a lot of room on your invitation or it may come at an extra cost to print out on an extra card.

How to communicate that a “plus one” isn’t invited…

This is a very common wedding etiquette question with regard to your guest list. Your wedding budget and reception venue size will play a big role in how many guests you are able to accommodate.  Here are my tips in the proper way to determine who will be invited.

Plain and simple…a “plus-one” is a must for anyone who is married, engaged, or in a long-term relationship for 6 months or longer.  No exceptions there!   Where this becomes a little tricky is if a “plus-one” is for someone who is single, but won’t have any other friends attending. It is just thoughtful to add a guest for them to bring but not required.  But if someone is single and will be among friends or family, giving them a plus-one is not necessary.

I am going to go one step further to say that “plus one” is not appropriate on the invitation, and that all invitations should be issued to a specific person. For instance, if a bride would like to invite an old college friend.  Yet, you are aware that she has been dating someone and would like to have that person included.  You should call to ask for the “plus one’s” name.  You could even go another step further and send out a separate invitation to that “plus one” guest, but this is not required.

How would you make it clear that you are not able to have any “plus one” guests?

On your RSVP card say “___ seat(s) have been reserved in your honor” and write in 1.

What should I do if someone RSVP-ed and adds in their own “plus one” guest?

First, you have to decide if you want to make it an issue or not.  It really depends on your relationship with the person.  However, if you have budget or room constraint and can not accommodate any additional guests, you have to make an “across-the-board” rule and apply it equally.  That way when you do need to confront someone, it’s not personal. Call them to explain the circumstances, and let them know that your budget or room constraints can’t accommodate their guest.

As weddings are becoming ever-more elaborate, taking the time to implement these few suggestions can lift a huge burden and make you love the wedding-planning process as much as we do!

Other related posts you may like:

Wedding Invitation Timing:  What You Should Know

Your Wedding Invitation:  Don’t Miss The Essentials

Wedding Planner’s Guide to Your Wedding Invitation Wording

Marsha VanArk at Distinctly Yours Wedding & Events