Dear Wedding Bee Babes,

I know I’m usually the one doling out advice like candy in a school yard, but now I have a question! Despite my research online, I can’t seem to find any kind of a straight answer. Our wedding is going to be on Oct 21st in Palm Desert, CA. Although I have a few friends coming from LA, for most it will be a destination wedding. The reception is going to be at my aunt’s house and the number of people who RSVP is going to determine the setup (i.e if we just do tables out in the backyard or end up needing the front courtyard as well). So, a lot is actually hinging on our final numbers.

We are sending out invites in early August (to give everyone lots of time) and I’m wondering when we should set our RSVP deadline date as? I’ve heard the two weeks before the wedding is standard, BUT, everyone who is coming will need to make travel plans and reservations, so it’s not going to be a last minute decision for anyone. Plus, the sooner we know how many people are coming, the better we can prepare (two weeks before really won’t give us enough time).

I would like to set the deadline reply date for Mid-Sept. However, my mother-in-law is telling me that this will create a logistical nightmare b/c we will end up with lots of people who say yes and then change their minds or vice versa. I disagreed only b/c of the travel factor (if people are coming to the wedding and they don’t know by mid sept, they likely won’t be able to get a hotel room or perhaps even a plane reservation).

The sooner we get that final number, the sooner we can finalize all of our reception plans, which are a lot more complicated b/c we are not dealing with a standard ballroom. Ok, what do you ladies think??

Miss Beetle


Mrs. Beetle

New York/Palm Desert
Boutwell Studio
Let Me Eat Cake
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  1. Guest Icon Guest
    daisy028, Guest @ 5:21 pm

    i did it a month and a day prior to my wedding date. that way there’s plenty of time on the guest’s end as well as the vendor’s.

  2. Guest Icon Guest
    peachy, Guest @ 5:29 pm

    my wedding date is also october 21st, and we’re getting ready to send out our invites in the next two weeks…

    … our RSVP cutoff date is september 30th, which is a full 3 weeks before the wedding. most of the invitation websites i visited said that was the best time-frame, to give you time to call, in case you don’t get them back.

    but i think because of the types of arrangements you need to make, it wouldn’t be too “faux pas” to set your date a week earlier than that, for september 23rd. four weeks isn’t too early, in my book.

  3. Guest Icon Guest
    Julie, Guest @ 5:30 pm

    You need to do whatever makes you feel most at peace. If you do it “someone else’s way” you will be stressed about the situation and won’t be happy. Set the RSVP date when you want it to be! I think mid-Sept. will be just fine.

  4. Guest Icon Guest
    Mrs. Firefly, Guest @ 5:38 pm

    my rsvp date was 4 weeks before the wedding date. we had a bunch of last minute cancellations, but most of these were in the final week before the wedding.

    There were lots of different reasons for the cancellations: sick father, grandma died, OTT guest who didn’t feel well, and one friend of my father’s never gave a reason — just dhl-ed the response card (he had phoned my father to say he was coming) and a check and followed up post-wedding with a small tiffany vase. I don’t think that an earlier rspv date would have lead to fewer last-minute changes …

  5. Guest Icon Guest
    SoCalBride, Guest @ 5:52 pm

    We had our RSVP date 1 month before our wedding – and we have almost 100% of them in!!

    You want to give youself as much extra time as you can because some people can be really lazy about responding.

  6. Guest Icon Guest
    The Dane, Guest @ 5:54 pm

    I’ve got a similar situation, destination wedding in Florida on 10/21, invites will go out mid-Aug and we’ve set a 9/30 RSVP deadline. Plus we sent save the date cards in May and our wedding web site (which was on our save the date card) has an RSVP form for those who have already made travel plans (and some folks have already done so since they need to make flight and Inn reservations).

  7. Guest Icon Guest
    Nony Mouse, Guest @ 6:45 pm

    Telling the truth about when you need your guests to respond by is fine. A month in advance for a destination wedding is reasonable, as I require that much advanced warning to make reservations, plans for pets, yada, yada, yada.
    The faux pas would be if you did not give your guests sufficient time to respond (due date a week after they recieve the invites), and real tackiness comes into play when one sends out the first round of invitations with an early respond date so there’s enough time to also have a B list invite, based on the number of declines… Oh, the things I’ve learned people do from reading

  8. Guest Icon Guest
    Heather, Guest @ 6:45 pm

    Our wedding is October 6th. My RSVP by date is Sept 8th. About 40% of our guests are o.o.t.’ers, so I sent out a Save the Date to everyone. And I’m sending our invites out by July 31st. So that gives us 2 months and then a month before the wedding we should have all our RSVPs. Our venue/caterer has to have a head count at least 10 days prior…so this gives us plenty of followup time and breathing room.
    I think you should do either a month or maybe even 5 weeks since you’ll still have to coordinate a lot.

  9. Guest Icon Guest
    kanipark, Guest @ 6:54 pm

    the sooner the better… everyone always turns them in late anyway :)

  10. Guest Icon Guest
    Lynn, Guest @ 7:27 pm

    Miss Beetle, My cousin’s wedding is also that same weekend and is also a destination wedding. She is requesting that all RSVPs be in by mid-September. One full month should be enough time. As guests…we already know that we are going and plane tickets and hotel arrangements have already been placed. Anyone else that is last minute probably will not attend.

  11. Guest Icon Guest
    Michelle, Guest @ 7:50 pm

    did you send out save the dates? i know that my friends who had destination weddings wrote that it was a destination wedding and put the location on the std.

    but mid september is a good time.

  12. Guest Icon Guest
    MizzPiggeys, Guest @ 9:23 pm

    Miss Beetle,
    It’s best to have all RSVP’s at LEAST 5-6 weeks prior to wedding date so you have time to plan out your guests. I plan to do that b/c I will (against my original beliefs) need to have a A|B list. My inlaws are paying for the banquet, so I am forced to narrow my list.

  13. Guest Icon Guest
    angie b., Guest @ 9:35 pm

    i think your initial choice of mid-sept rsvp deadline is fine. you’re right that people need to make arrangements and if they haven’t made reservations yet, the earlier rsvp date might help them to finalize their own travel plans. good luck :)

  14. Guest Icon Guest
    Miss Beetle, Guest @ 11:32 pm

    You guys rock! Thanks for all of the great responses. As is the case in most situations, I’m going with my gut! I’ll shoot for a mid Sept RSVP deadline. I totally appreciate everyone’s opinion :)

  15. mrsbee Member
    mrsbee 3235 posts, Sugar bee @ 6:52 am

    I would definitely go for the early rsvp date. We only had one cancellation and it was the week before the wedding. Our RSVP return rate was 100% I think well before the deadline. Guests will understand because it is a destination wedding, and it’s at a private residence which requires much more planning than at a regular wedding venue.

    You could always send out your snazzy rsvp confirmation post cards too after the rsvp deadline to reconfirm. =)

    Do what you feel best with. Nothing beats peace of mind!

  16. Guest Icon Guest
    ncmz, Guest @ 9:20 am

    Wedding is on August second and we request a RSVP by July second. By that time 90% had answer, so you can have time to call whoever did not responde and start planning the tables of the ones who were sure. One month should do it. And yes, you may get last minute cancellations but they will be like (worse come to worse) 10?? On 350 guests we had like 5 on my side and 8 on FI’s side. HTH

  17. Guest Icon Guest
    JB, Guest @ 10:09 am

    We have the same wedding date!! I just approved my invitation proofs yesterday, and we are shooting to have them in the mail by 8/21. The reply card asks for responses by 9.18. Good luck!

  18. Guest Icon Guest
    Daisy, Guest @ 2:09 pm

    I would do based how what the standard would be for making rental reservations for your front courtyard thing. It’s true that b/c it’s more of a destination wedding that family and friends will need more time to make reservations, so all in all I think 3-4 weeks in your case is okay.

  19. Member
    nittanybride 7 posts, Newbee @ 2:28 pm

    Hello all! I am so glad I found this thread. Our wedding date is August 7th and it is quasi-destination (about a 4.5-5 hr drive from “home”). And I say drive because nobody flies here, its way easier to just drive. My fiance and I wanted a really small intimate setting so we only sent invites (mailed out in May) to our immediate family and a couple very close friends who live in the town where we are getting married. We told them to RSVP by July 1st. Now, my mom had to tell my extended family (who all live in the same place ~5hrs away from wedding location) that we were having a really really small wedding.

    Now here is the problem, we are getting an alarming number of No’s from our friends who live there… there are still 7 weeks till our wedding, is it completely awful to send invites to some extended family with a different RSVP date? Are we too close to the wedding considering the 5 hrs of travel each direction? If not, what reason do we give them? That we decided to have more people come? I am so confused and worried that nobody will be at my wedding.

    And for the record, no, I don’t have one of those crazy families who wouldn’t show up simply out of spite. So what does everyone think?

  20. Guest Icon Guest
    Kimberly, Guest @ 1:09 pm

    I have already gotten married and we have decided to only have a wedding reception.

    I am not sure how soon I should start mailing invitations??

    What time frame (on RSVP cards) I should give ones to respond… ???

    Wedding reception is May 14, 2011

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