If you have no clue what to put for your “RSVP by” date, you’re not alone! It’s probably one of the most frequent questions I’m asked by couples I’m working with on invitations.

Choosing a Reply By Date for Your Wedding RSVP Cards

First things first, if you haven’t already – check out this blog post on when to order and when to mail your wedding invitations. Keeping with these timelines can help understand exactly when to set your reply date.

Ultimately, I recommend sending your invitations 6-8 weeks before the big day. I caution on sending too early, especially with a long window to RSVP, because people forget and things change – like addresses and relationship statuses.

When it comes to choosing a reply date for the RSVP card, there are a few things you can consider!

Venue Headcount Deadline

When does your venue need the final count on the number of attending guests? Usually it’s 2-3 weeks before the wedding date. I recommend asking for your RSVP card back earlier than their deadline so you have time to chase anyone down who forgot to respond. Unfortunately, it does happen.

Secondary List

In the case of having more guests RSVP “not attending” than expected, you might be able to send invitations to guests who were on your secondary list. Not every couple plans for this, but in this situation I recommend asking for RSVP replies with enough time to send (and get a response) from your secondary list guests.

Day of Stationery

Planning to order pieces for the wedding day like place cards, menus, programs, and welcome notes? You’ll want your guest list confirmed ahead of finalizing these. Since the design process for day of stationery usually begins a few weeks before the big day, asking for RSVPs back in time is very helpful to make sure you get the right quantities!

Check out this post for more information on day of stationery, when to start the process, and how many to order!


As with all things wedding invitations, there are always exceptions. If you’re having a destination wedding, holiday weekend wedding, or another unique circumstance, you might be sending out invitations earlier, which means you’ll likely set an earlier RSVP date.

In conclusion, an RSVP date of about four weeks before the wedding is usually a safe bet. It’s what I recommend to couples I work with on invitations who don’t have any super unique circumstances.

Some of my favorite RSVP cards to date!

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