RSVP: RÉPONDEZ S'IL VOUS PLAIT
You’ve ensured your guests have all the information they need in order to get to the celebration, and now you need to know whom you can expect to be there! The response card can be very simple and straightforward, or you can request further information, but you want to keep it basic enough that your guests don’t have to do much more than check a box or two, write their names, and drop it in the mail.
HOW TO WORD THE CARD
Similarly to the invitation itself, there are many ways in which to word your RSVP cards. Formal weddings require traditional wording, such as:
___ accepts ___ regrets
The favor of a reply is requested by March 12
The “M” is an indication that this is where the recipient’s name will go; the line after it is intended to be left blank, so that guests may fill in their own names like so:
Mr. & Mrs. James Carey
X accepts __ regrets
You can also use slightly less formal wording, such as:
__ accepts with pleasure __ declines with regret
Please respond by March 12
If you have chosen not to use inner envelopes in your invitation suite, you may wish to indicate whether a guest may bring a date, in which case you can add a line that reads:
___ seats have been reserved in your honor
- or -
We have reserved ____ seats in your honor
You may either have a number printed before “seats,” or you may hand-write the number of reserved seats. This is a better option than asking how many guests will be attending, as your invitees may find this wording confusing — should they include themselves in this number, or are you simply asking if they are bringing a date?
If you are having a plated dinner at your reception, you could also ask about dinner preferences on the RSVP card, like so:
____ chicken _____ fish _____ vegetarian
or similar, depending on the meal options that will be available. This is acceptable, though may be confusing if the RSVP card is for a large family and the guests use check-marks instead of which family members would prefer which meals. A better option is to simply call each family after the acceptances have arrived to ask about meal preferences.
For less formal weddings, some people choose less traditional wording, or even ask additional questions on the response card, such as “What is your favorite song to dance to?” or “What advice do you have for the happy couple?” For semi-formal or casual weddings, these are great ways to interact with your guests, but they do not belong on response cards for very formal weddings.
Sometimes a guest will forget to write his or her name on the blank line; some brides choose to label each response card with a number that corresponds to the number on the guest list. This number is typically written on the back of the card, in very small print or invisible ink. This sneaky tactic means the couple can still figure out who the response card is from, even without a name attached.
WHAT SHOULD BE INCLUDED
The blank response card should be tucked under the flap of the RSVP envelope, with the words facing out. The envelope should be pre-addressed to arrive back at the bride’s home. (If another family member or a member of the bridal party is collecting the response cards, have them addressed to that location instead.) You should also have the envelope pre-stamped. In this way, the guest’s only task is to mark whether or not he or she will be attending, put it in the envelope and drop it in the mail.
GUESTS: HOW TO RESPOND
Because of our increasingly digital culture, many people do not know how to properly respond to a wedding invitation. Here is how it should be done.
Respond on time. The response card will have a date on it; the family expects to know who will be coming by this date. After that, if you have not responded, you will receive a call asking if you will be coming. Planning a wedding can be stressful, and you want to make the process as easy as possible for all involved. The most courteous thing to do is to respond immediately, or at least before the deadline.
Write your name in the blank. The response card will have an “M” with a blank next to it. This is where you indicate the names of all who will be attending: “Mr. and Mrs. James Carey.” Do not leave this blank, as the couple will not know who is responding!
Send your acceptance or regrets. Select the correct box. If the invitation was to all four members of “The Carey Family,” but only two will be able to make it, the RSVP card should read, “Mrs. Laura Carey and Miss Sasha Carey accept with pleasure.” Do not indicate the family members who will not be attending.
Indicate meal preference, if applicable. If the response card asks for your meal preference, do not simply check which meal you would like unless you are the only name listed on the RSVP card. Instead, indicate the number of meals: “Mr. & Mrs. James Carey, Miss Sasha Carey, accepts, 2 chicken, 1 fish.”
Do not write in an uninvited guest. If your response card indicates that only one seat has been reserved in your honor, or if your inner envelope only listed your own name, you have not been given a plus-one, and you should not attempt to “sneak” one in by changing the number of seats or writing in an additional name. If you think your significant other may have accidentally been overlooked, you may call the bride to ask if you may bring your date, but be prepared that you may not receive the answer you were hoping for.