One of my biggest pet peeves of being a former bride and now as a wedding planner is when guests do not RSVP for weddings. As a bride you have done everything to make it simple for your guests by including a mailable card that is already addressed and stamped and all they have to do is check that they are attending or not and then put it in the envelope and stick it in the mailbox. Sounds simple enough, right?
What I tell my brides before they mail out their invitations is to make sure they have a spreadsheet (Excel is my personal hero) that lists who you invited, addresses, phone numbers and if by chance an e-mail address.
Be prepared for the flood of response cards, you can expect cards to be returned as soon as a few days after you mail out your wedding invitations. I love this time, this is the one time in your life where you will have so much mail with your name on it that you are actually excited to receive. The key is to record every response as they come in and don't let them accumulate around your house because chances are these little cards can be easily misplaced or accidentally thrown away.
When it comes closer to your actual RSVP date, check your spreadsheet and assess who has or hasn't responded by mailing in their card. DO NOT rely on your friends and family saying to you at a party or in passing that they are coming. Encourage your guests to send in their response cards.
The key thing to remember is to never assume that a guest will or will not be attending your wedding, having that response card is the golden ticket.
My biggest piece of advice is about a week or two to your RSVP date, contact those guests whose response cards you haven't received either by a nice phone call or e-mail. This is a task that SHOULD NOT be done by the bride a groom. This is a great job for your wedding planner or a pre-assigned family member or member of your bridal party.
Here are some reasons why guests haven't sent in their response card:
"I totally forgot about it. Thanks for reminding me."
"I never received my invitation."
"I'm not able to make it so I didn't think I needed to send it in." (Most common)
When talking with these guests, be polite and ask about their response cards. If they have lost their response card, this is the only time where it is acceptable to take a verbal commitment to you wedding.