How to Write an RSVP Card
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Sounds a bit nicer than “Please, just let me know if you’re coming to my wedding or not so I can finish my seating chart and stop stressing!” Your RSVP card plays a really important role in the invitation suite, and you want to make sure that you collect all of the information you need to pull this wedding off without a hitch (or, with just the one intended hitch—sorry for the terrible pun). Besides what’s typically included on an RSVP card, spend some time thinking about what special information you need or want from your guests.
RSVP cards are traditionally sent out with the invite suite, even if you are requesting RSVPs via a wedding website. Here’s what you should put on your RSVP card in both circumstances:
When a wedding website is being used:
Request to RSVP online by a certain date: “Kindly RSVP by April 10th” is plenty.
Wedding website URL and password: Make sure to specify if any of the link is Case Sensitive.
When guests should mail back the RSVP card:
Guests’ names: Usually one decently-long line is enough for people to write in the names of the people attending. In the event that they are RSVPing for a family of 4+, make sure there is enough space to fit in all the names, or include a “number of guests attending” section, to simplify. Be sure to clearly address your invited guests on the invitation envelope to state who in a family is invited—you want to avoid receiving a reply for an unintended number of guests. “The Nguyens” implies the whole family; “Mike & Cassie Nguyen” implies just the two individuals, and “Mike Nguyen & Guest” implies you’re giving Mike an open spot to bring an OkCupid date.
Number of guests attending: If you’re inviting multiple people with one invitation suite (like the Nguyens example above), it might be helpful to ask for an explicit confirmation of how much of their crew will be joining them. Maybe Mike doesn’t feel like any of his recent OkCupid matches meet his dancing standards and will be attending solo. Alternatively, this section could read “We have reserved ___ seats for you,” and you would fill in the number of guests yourself before mailing invite suites out. This is a straightforward way to communicate that you’ve given someone a plus one, or that parents are invited but kiddos should stay home.
Accept/decline choices: If a guest can’t attend, they’ll check a decline option and leave the following sections blank. You can get fun here: besides “joyfully accepts” and “regretfully declines,” we’ve seen folks get cheeky with options such as “joyfully declines” or “regretfully accepts.” If you’d like something less cheeky, but still fun, we love “Wouldn’t miss it! / Will celebrate from afar” language. There’s no room for negativity on wedding RSVPs!
Meal selection: We find that rather than a checkbox, a blank space where guests can initial their meal choice is most useful. You should provide explicit instructions, as RSVP cards can be fairly confusing otherwise: “Please initial menu selections,” or “Please indicate how many of each plate is requested” are nice-sounding ways to ask for exactly the information you need.
Request to postmark the RSVP by a certain date: Again, this should be clear, legible, and obvious. Typically, caterers and venues want a final headcount 2-3 weeks before the event.
A return address: This is the address of the person who is collecting guests’ responses. Make sure to include a ZIP code; this is for the postal service to use and needs to be functional.
A stamp that covers the return postage: If you opted for a postcard, know that postage for these is cheaper than for a card and envelope. You can take a look at current postage prices here on the USPS website. Ephemora’s RSVPs are all size A1 (3.5” x 5” in a 3.625” x 5.125” envelope), except for Flor (4” x 6” in a size A6 envelope, 4.75” x 6.5”). All of our stationery falls within standard-sized guidelines, per the USPS.
Since this is an opportunity to get some nice written keepsakes from your family and friends, you might want to include some additional, fun requests if there is space on the card:
“Write us a love note!”
“What song will get you on the dance floor?”
“Help us make a married-life bucket list! What’s your suggestion?”
“Write us your best relationship advice.”
Some things to consider:
Preferred titles: Traditionally, invitations include a big “M” before the line on which guests are intended to write their names. The M is the first letter of Mr., Ms., Miss, or Mrs., letting guests specify how they choose to be addressed. We don’t really see this very often anymore in modern RSVP cards. Left to their own devices, people usually won’t specify their title. Also, these titles don’t consider a gender spectrum, and all of your guests may not choose to identify with these titles (or, they go by “Dr.”). We left the “M” off of our designs, because we find it’s not necessary and is even a little limiting to the personal expression of guests. However, if you find it helpful, you can certainly add an “M.”
Dietary restrictions: Do any guests have peanut or gluten allergies? Are they vegan? Do they not drink, and would appreciate other beverage options?
Make sure to think about any specific information your wedding planner, venue, or caterer needs from your guests when writing your RSVP language. Besides the necessaries, have fun, let your personality shine through, and hopefully inspire your guests to RSVP in a timely fashion—so you can get to your big day stress-free!