RSVP cards or reply cards are an essential part of planning your wedding. They help keep track of the number of guests attending your wedding and help organize special menu requests for your venue. Styling and formatting your reply cards can depend on whether you’re having a more traditional or casual wedding. But no matter what your style, there are some important rules worth sticking to. From sending your reply cards to tracking guest RSVPs, we’ve laid out some tips to help make an important part of your wedding planning a little bit easier.
Send Your Wedding Invitations on Time
The timing of your wedding invitations is SO important. You should plan to have your invitations sent out 8 weeks before your wedding to give guests 4-5 weeks to respond. Sticking with the 8-week rule can make a big difference in the amount of RSVPs that you will receive. Sending your invitations too soon, may cause guests to put them aside in the “things to-do later” pile. Likewise, if they don’t feel that their reply is urgent enough, they most likely won’t remember to do so.
If you’re planning a destination wedding, send your invitations 9 months before the wedding to give guests enough time to make travel arrangements. Then, require that guests respond 2 months before the wedding to encourage them to book travel arrangements in plenty of time.
Set a Deadline for Receiving RSVP Cards
Give guests a date to respond by and make it visible on the reply card. Typically, you should ask for a reply 3-4 weeks before your wedding date. This will give you plenty of time to finalize your seating chart and provide enough wiggle room incase you have to track down guests who don’t meet the requested deadline. Caterers will also require that you provide a final head-count 2 weeks before your wedding.
RSVP Card Wording
If you’re having a plated and seated dinner with a choice of more than 1 entrée, you should include a meal preference section at the bottom of the reply card for guests to initial next to their choice. You can then use escort cards at the reception to notify guests which table they are seated at, as well as place cards to assign them to a particular seat. Creating a map that has each seat and choice of entrée for each guest will make it easy for the venue staff to know which guests have selected which entrée. If you aren’t assigning guests to a specific table or seat, simply provide escort cards when guests arrive at the reception with their name and a colored ribbon or font to represent each menu selection when the venue staff begins serving.
To get an accurate head-count of how many people will be attending your wedding, you can provide a “Number of Guests Attending” line with a space for them to write in the number. Although, some brides worry that this option will give some guests the impression that they can bring the whole family or even extra guests. If you’re worried about guests bringing more attendees to your wedding, you can add a line that says, “We have reserved ____ seats in your name” and then fill in the blank with the number of invitees. This will notify guests exactly how many people are invited. If you feel that this option may come off a little tacky, simply address the invitation to each guest invited and omit the “Number of Guests Attending” line. If you want single guests to know that they’re free to bring a date to your wedding, make sure to add “and Guest,” after their name when addressing their invitation.
Addressing the RSVP Card Envelope
There are several options for addressing your reply card envelopes. You can address them by hand or even have a calligrapher, invitation designer or printing service do it for you. The 1st line of the response card envelope should include the name and address of the recipient on the center of the envelope. The traditional wording for guest names is “Mr. and Mrs. David Jones.” However, it’s also okay to print it as “David and Kelly Jones” or “The Jones.” When addressed to the couple, simply write the bride and groom’s first names only, i.e. “Daniel and Ashley.”
The 2nd line should have the recipient’s street address. On formal invitations, write out words such as street or avenue, while abbreviating directions such as N. or S. On informal invitations, it’s fine to use abbreviations such as St. or Ave.
The 3rd line should have the recipient’s city and state. For formal invitations, print the zip code on the 4th line centered below the city and state. On informal invitations, you can print the zip code on the 3rd line directly behind the state.
In the same format, print the name and address of the wedding guest on the top left corner of the reply card envelope. If your budget allows, provide a postage stamp on the top right corner of each reply card envelope.
RSVP Card Placement
Reply cards are typically enclosed with the wedding invitation. They should be placed directly in front of the invitation and facing up. Slip them under the flap of the reply card envelope, instead of all the way inside it. They should be printed on the same quality and style of paper as the invitations themselves.
Determine where you want your reply cards to be sent. Traditionally, reply cards are sent to the bride’s parents’ address. However, you can have them sent to anyone who will be keeping track of the RSVP details and contacting vendors. This can be family members, friends or even the couple themselves.
Keeping Track of Your RSVPs
The best way to stay organized and keep track of your RSVPs is by setting up a spreadsheet with your guests’ names, phone number and/or email address, responses (yes or no), meal preferences and number of attendees. Sites like Google Docs and Microsoft Office provide free wedding RSVP templates to organize all of your necessary information.
Guests Who Don’t Reply
It’s inevitable that some guests won’t RSVP or return the reply card. Don’t assume that means that they’re not attending. Since having an accurate head-count is important to determing the number of tables and seating, don’t hesitate to reach out to anyone who didn’t respond by the deadline. A simple phone call will do the trick and won’t come off pushy if you politely tell guests that you haven’t received their reply card yet, but would love for them to be there. The Mother of Bride or Maid of Honor usually makes these phone calls, but anyone who has the time to help out can definitely take on the task!
Our Top Wedding RSVP Card Tips:
• Send your invitations 8 weeks before your wedding date. Stick with the 8-week rule to give guests the right amount of time to reply, while still keeping it urgent enough for them to respond by the requested deadline.
• Give guests a deadline to respond by. Request a reply at least 3-4 weeks before your wedding date to give yourself enough time to track down guests who haven’t responded. This will ensure you have an accurate head-count to provide to your venue.
• Make sure your RSVP card wording will provide you with the necessary information you need from guests. Think about the RSVP information that you’ll need to know from each guest and make sure guests will receive the right impression as to who is invited to your wedding.
• Follow proper wedding etiquette when addressing RSVP card envelopes. For traditional wedding invitations, write out words like street or avenue. For non-traditional wedding invitations, it’s okay to use standard abbreviations like St. or Ave.
• Determine who will be receiving guest reply cards. Make sure your reply card envelopes are addressed to whoever will be tracking guest information and contacting vendors.
• Organize guest RSVPs by utilizing spreadsheets. This will make keeping track of guest information stress-free and efficient.
• Reach out to guests who don’t respond by the requested deadline. A friendly phone call expressing your excitement to have them at your wedding will allow you to find out if they’ll be attending and won’t come off too pushy.