RSVP’s are the most important piece of paper in your invitation next to the invitation itself – literally! We’ve got 3 pieces of easy RSVP advice to help you.
Step 1: Make It Fun!
Have you ever wondered why there’s all this brightly colored stuff around the cash register at the grocery store? It all started with Wrigley’s gum putting a small display of their gum in eye-catching packaging in a place that was frequently seen. It so happens you can use this same kind of logic with your RSVP’s! Think about where people will put the invite and RSVP: On the fridge, on their pinboard, or somewhere else where they will “remember to do it later.”
If you’ve got an eye-catching RSVP, it’s more likely that guests will be reminded to respond every time they see it. Even better, you can include the RSVP as part of a game, or encourage guests to send you a personal message. Making the RSVP more interactive than “Yes/No/Number” and “Beef/Chicken/Veggie” can be a great way to make them fun!
Step 2: Make It Easy!
At its most basic, an RSVP only needs a Yes/No, a space for names, and a reply by date. Yet we answer more questions about RSVP details than almost anything else! Here’s our quick guide to the most frequently asked questions:
“How long should my guests have to respond?”
Ask your venue first. They may require a final count a certain number of weeks before the ceremony. Otherwise, we recommend that the reply date be no more than 6 weeks and no less than 2 weeks from the wedding. Positive pressure is a good thing: if they have too long to respond, guests might forget about it.
“Do I need meal options?”
It depends. If you’re serving a buffet-style meal, then no. If you’re planning a seated dinner with a selection of entrees or would like guests to note any dietary restrictions, then yes. However, don’t go overboard. If you’d like to list the full menu, do so on a separate info card.
“Do I need to include a stamp?”
In the US, it’s customary to include a stamp for your guests. In other countries, it’s optional. If you have guests in another country, you can’t put your country’s postage on their RSVP. Either you provide their country’s postage, or they have to provide their own stamps. But, as you’ll see later, this can be less important if you give them good options.
“Do I need to use an envelope, or is a postcard RSVP okay?”
Postcard RSVPs are a great lower-cost option that will suit many couples’ needs. However, an RSVP sent back in an included envelope has two added benefits: Formality and privacy. It’s traditional – and therefore, more formal – to use an envelope with the RSVP. Privacy is another issue altogether. In some cases, guests may not want their dietary issues out there for every postal worker to see. In extreme cases, like a wedding at an military base, you may need to ask guests to provide seriously personal information like their drivers license number. Either way, if formality and/or privacy are an issue for you, go with an envelope. Otherwise, a postcard is generally fine.
Step 3: Give Them Options!
We recommend giving guests 3 options to respond: By mail, by phone/text, and by web. Your older guests may prefer the traditional option, whereas your younger peers may be more likely to have their phones on them and RSVP almost as soon as they get the card. (Of course, your Grandma may fire off a quick text too, so don’t get too tied up in that generalization.)
Don’t go overboard, though. We don’t recommend including social media as an option to RSVP. While your wedding website should include a way for guests to RSVP, keep it very simple. Don’t use a service that requires guests to sign up with their email or do anything that feels like they’re subscribing to a mailing list. Do have a very easy form that duplicates the information on the RSVP card itself. Remember, if your RSVP is eye-catching and fun, guests may want to hang on to the actual card as a keepsake, so give them options!
That’s it! Make your RSVP’s fun, make it easy, and give guests options. If you practice these simple principles, you’ll be well on your way to getting more R’s out of your RSVP’s!