Day 12: Wedding Invitation Anatomy – The RSVP Card

December 12, 2010 § Leave a comment

Okay, so yesterday I may have stretched the truth when I said today’s post on RSVP cards would be scintillating…

Would you settle for informational sprinkled liberally with witty comments and cheeky remarks?

Cracking on in our Hip Ink/The Invitation Blog 31 Days (of Blogging) Hath December series, we come to the RSVP. Who actually knows what RSVP stands for? Anyone?

Well, since I am Canadian and therefore had to learn French at a young age (and now don’t remember much except how to say “Can I have a beer, please?”, “Where is the toilet?” and “What a lovely pineapple you have Madame DuBois”), I can tell you that I looked it up on the internet and it stands for “respondez, s’il vous plait”, or in English, “reply, if you please”. Of course, there’s really no “if you please” about it, now is there? You expect your guests to let you know if they are coming or not, and it is, of course, the polite thing to do.

Once upon a time, way back when (you know, in the Dark Ages, before the internet), there was no need for the lowly RSVP card. When you received an invitation, the proper etiquette of the day was to whip out your personalized stationery and hand-write a repsonse to your gracious hosts, accepting their invitation with delight, or expressing your regrets at having to decline.

These days, since apparently everyone’s brain has turned to mush and their hands are incapable of picking up a pen, we have devised the RSVP card with its fill-in-the-blanks, checkbox, tick-here, circle-there, fail-proof spoon-feeding response method. Yes, people still !@$% it up anyway. We got three RSVPs back for our wedding with no names on them whatsoever – um, thanks for that. Luckily, I had devised a way of figuring out who the offenders were, and I will offer that tip later for your guest-list management pleasure.

What are the basics of the RSVP card? Generally speaking, the standard RSVP is 3.5 x 5″ (I like to use a larger 4.25 x 5.5″ myself, depending on the size of the invite) and includes a matching envelope, which you would handily address with your information and stamp so all your guests need to do is drop it in the mail. It is becoming more popular these days to have guests RSVP by email or online, which saves the cost of postage, but may confuse some of your older guests. Also becoming more popular as a cost-saving option (or just something different) is the RSVP postcard, which doesn’t require an envelope.

So, what exactly do you put on your RSVP card? As always, that question has many answers…

If you want to be traditional about it, but still include an RSVP, you can simply provide a card that says “the favour of a reply is requested” or “please reply by October 1, 2029” and let your guests write in the rest. This can be really fun, as many guests will write you cute little notes etc., and hopefully also tell you whether or not they are attending and who is coming. Some guests may decide to just call you or email you, which is fine too. It gives guests a bit more flexibility to respond in whatever way they see fit and is the closest thing to the traditional RSVP method.

In addition to the above, most formal RSVP cards these days have a line for guests to write their names (usually shown with an “M” before it, so they can write “Mr & Mrs Smith” etc.) and a space for them to accept or decline the invitation. In the recent past, it has become popular for couples to choose more interesting, fun and personal wording for their RSVP. Again, as with invitation wording, a good-old Google search for “RSVP Wording” will bring up more websites with wording examples than you can shake a really gigantic stick at, so I advise you to open up a new tab and get to work. Here, I’ll make it easy for you – Google:)

Other useful tips & tricks for RSVP cards?

  • To make your RSVPs more personal, have them pre-printed with your guests names (rather than the M line) – it adds a really nice touch and saves you from having people write in uninvited family members
  • Speaking of guests – some will write their names illegibly or not at all. The solution? Number your guest list, and then write the corresponding number for each invitation in very small text on the back of the RSVP. This way, when you get one back with no name, you can simply turn it over and cross-reference the number to the guest that invite belongs to
  • If you have a choice of entree for your wedding reception, the RSVP is the place to find out who’s having chicken, beef or fish
  • You may choose to include other information you want to collect from your guests as well – eg. a song they would like to hear the DJ play, if they are attending a pre- or post-wedding event etc
  • If you are having a destination wedding, you may have a number of events planned that you require guests to RSVP for – include these all on one card, unless you are sending out separate invitations

I usually have a (very) strong opinion on invitation matters (you may have noticed), but actually, I think the RSVP is one place where anything goes. I try to suggest, to my own clients, an RSVP style and wording that fits with their invitations, event and personalities – everything from the traditional formal response card to “mad libs”-style, fill-in-the-blank RSVPs.

Tomorrow, we’re moving on to the veritable plethora (a cornucopia even) of possible additional insert cards – from reception cards to deception (er, directions) cards, we’ve got it covered😉


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