There was a time when people did not require response cards and then, there is now! RSVP, a French term meaning “Please Reply”, became a common term in invitation cards for obvious reasons; it elicited response from the invitees and gave the hosts a fair idea of the number of people they can expect at the party. While many wedding invitations bear this term on them as a subtle reminder to the recipient to write back, some come along with self-addressed and stamped response cards as an indication that a response is mandatory. As seamless as it sounds, this arrangement is neither all that black-and-white nor devoid of its own specific set of etiquette. So, if you have received a wedding invitation along with an RSVP, make sure you double-check your reply with the following list that we have laid out for your perusal. Please understand that your host would have a number of important decisions which would depend largely on the headcount that they expect in the wedding; so act responsible and let them know if you are coming. There’s no harm in not attending; just don’t leave them wondering!
Wedding Invitation RSVP Etiquette
- The most important thing here is to send you reply immediately. Whether you can or cannot make it to the marriage can affect a lot of your host’s decisions so, be prompt.
- If the invitation includes a reply card or a telephone number, call first and ask if they prefer a reply through mail. If they prefer a postal reply then make sure to follow up with a call or an email so that postal delays do not ruin the occasion for anybody.
- Most of the marriage invitations ask you for the choice of your meal. Ensure that you fill it in properly as food is quite a prominent factor in a wedding.
- If you are not able to reach your hosts by mail, make sure you telephone them and convey the details about your presence or absence.
- Etiquette mandate that you leave your children at home unless it has been indicated that your children are welcome too. If you are part of the family that belongs to groom or bride, never hesitate to call them and ask whether they welcome children.
- As RSVP cards and wish cards cost a fortune, you can call up the couple and convey the message that how special they are to you.
- The RSVP reply must be sent two or three weeks prior to the wedding day. From the host’s point of view, a guest who hasn’t replied till then is probably not coming at all.
RSVP Etiquette For The Host
- The hosts must include date, time, location and other important details regarding the wedding in the RSVP as well.
- Always give the guests an option to ‘accept with pleasure’ and ‘decline with regret. You can also include some words like ‘is/are looking forward to dancing the night away’ or ‘will have to miss the party’ if the former options look too formal and dodgy.
- To make sure that technical snags and postal delays don’t obstruct the proceedings, follow up on the invitees to know about their plans.
- To have a clearer picture of turnout, you can include a line such as, ‘number of guests attending’ in every RSVP card. This will give you an exact number of guests that you can expect at the wedding.
- The request lines must be put either in the first two lines or in the left hand corner of the reply card.
Addressing The Guests
- Insert an ‘M’ followed by a line for the guest to write their names and salutations. This would prevent any confusion arising out of unisex names.
- You can insert the word “will” separated by a line for their response followed by “attend”.
- You can also split the expected response of the guests into two viz., “will attend” and “will not attend”. Put checkboxes just before these responses and follow them up with a response line each.
Response card etiquette has evolved over the years and probably, would continue to do so. In early days, it were the social secretaries of households who sent hand-written replies to invitations but now, the changes in lifestyle and technology have given us faster and more reliable methods. Though considered improper by etiquette specialists, it has become increasingly common to see response cards which offer guests the option to reply by phone, email, or even websites. In whatever way you choose to do it, be sure to choose a method that both you and your invitees are comfortable with. It is a celebration after all!