One of the most crucial things in planning your wedding is to find out how many guests will be attending. You need to know this for so many reasons: the venue, the catering, the favours, the seating plan etc. So, when you send out your wedding invitations you need your guests to reply to the invitation to let you know whether they are attending or not.
The problem is; your wedding is the most important thing in your life. For your guests it is not. So you have to make it really easy for people who have busy lives to respond and an RSVP card can help.
Your RSVP card needs to say how to respond e.g an email address, telephone number or physical address and it needs to say when to respond by.
The timescale for responses should be round about 3 weeks before your wedding day. You can work back from when your suppliers need final numbers – if the venue needs 2 weeks, give yourself a week before the deadline to chase non-responders. If your response deadline is too far in advance – say 6 weeks or more – you may have more changes of plans or less respondents as some people are unable to plan that far in advance due to work commitments etc.
If you are going to use the RSVP card as a means for guests to respond, the card needs to be addressed and stamped. You need to give them space to write their name(s) and give them an easy way to accept or decline. The wording can be formal or informal and we suggest the very simple:
Are pleased to accept/unable to accept your invitation to your wedding.
Please reply by 22nd September
A little tip is to put a number on each RSVP card, then if respondents forget to write their name or you can’t read the writing, you can double-check the card number with a number on your guest spreadsheet.
If you think some of your guests may try to add extra plus ones or children who are not invited (not everyone understands wedding invitation etiquette) you may wish to either print the names of the guests on the card or write “We have reserved x number seats in your honour.”
Even with a stamp on the RSVP card many people would rather email or telephone, so it is well worth giving these as alternative methods of response to encourage more replies. However easy you make the response process, you will still have to chase some people up by telephone or email, just timetable in some time to do it.
Other information on the RSVP card
You may want to find out other information from your guests to help plan the wedding. Most commonly this would be a choice of main course if you are giving an option. You may also wish to ask about any allergies or other dietary requirements to help with catering – but beware, you might get a list of intolerances and dislikes as long as your arm! You do need to know about nut allergies, but not that Uncle Peter hates broccoli.
Other information you may include is a request for music for a playlist and details of your wedding website, if you are having one.
The RSVP card is not the place to write your Wedding Registry list, directions or local Hotel information – it takes away from the main purpose of the card as a means to finding out final numbers.
Our recommendation is to keep the RSVP card as simple as possible and to include the rest of the information on your wedding website or Facebook page. Just brief someone in both families to assist guests who are not used to computers.
As always, we are happy to advise you on the wording for RSVP cards, so please feel free to talk your ideas over with us before ordering.