Aug 26

How to RSVP for a Wedding

This might seem like a silly post. Everyone knows how to RSVP for a wedding, right? It seems so obvious. But oddly enough, it’s been one of my biggest battles this year – gathering the guest count!

Minted Wedding Invitations | The Day's Design | Bradly James Photography

Photography: Bradley James Photography

So here we go – whether you’re a bride sending out those precious invites or just something planning (or not planning) to attend a summer soirée, here’s what you need to know about that little card inserted within the invitation, commonly known as the RSVP card.

To start, I strongly believe that RSVPs should be done through the mail. You’re not saving yourself any time by accepting them via email, Facebook messages, text, etc. You already receive enough emails regarding your wedding and you’re not always near someplace to track the RVSP if you collect those via phone/text. Purchase the cute little card that matches your invitation. Then make sure that it’s address to where ever you’d like these little RSVPs to arrive – your house, your parent’s home… whoever is going to be responsible and keep them in a safe place. Put a stamp on it. Make it easy and convenient for your guests.

Near the top of an RSVP should be a date. This is the date that it is due to be returned by. Place it in the mail prior to this date. This is so the bride and groom can collect final counts for not only the caterer, but the number of tables and chairs that need to be rented, the number of centerpieces needed, the number of programs, menu cards, favors and desserts. And after that data is all processed, they can then begin the daunting task of table assignments. If you RSVP late, your run the risk of being unfed and shoved at the “reject table”.

Under that date is a line. That line typically starts with an “M”. It looks something like this:


I cannot count the number of times that I’ve been asked about this “M”. That “M” is just a starting point, it might stand for Mr. or Mrs., Miss or Madame – fill in the rest of the blank however you’d like the be addressed. Some modern invitations eliminate the “M” and just leave a blank line or perhaps they say “Guest Names” which is really specific for you. Whatever it says, make sure that somewhere on that card is your name and the names of those who will be attending with you. If you do not put your name on the card, they cannot track who the RSVP came from and you will be bothered later with a phone call wondering why you have not responded to the wedding invite.

Entrée selection. This might be listed on the RSVP card but it might not. It just depends on what is being served and whether or not the guest has a choice. For the purpose of this article, we’re going to say that the guest is being given a choice of entrée. That means you must choose one – one for each guest RSVPing. So that means if there are 4 names on the card, there should be 4 entrees selected. Bonus points for letting us know who is eating which entrée (initials or something similar is extremely helpful), otherwise you might be playing the switch-a-roo game later.

We changed our minds. It happens. But realize that this is an inconvenience. If you’re no longer attending, the bride and groom may have already paid for your meal, set an extra seat, paid the calligrapher to create you a tag, etc. If you decided to attend afterall – the bride and groom now have to get in touch will all of these various people and make sure that they can squeeze you in at a table somewhere. To be a good guest, make a decision and stick with it.

Everyone must RSVP. That’s right, EVERYONE. If you received an invitation, it included a card with an envelope that already had a stamp on it. Don’t waste that stamp, send it back to the bride and groom. Even if you’re the mother of the bride or best man, don’t assume that they know you’re coming. The bride and groom might not be the ones tallying up the RSVP cards – they may have delegated that to a bridesmaid, sister or wedding planner who will not know to assume that you’ll be there. And they definitely won’t know what you want to eat or how many are in your party.

And finally, only the people who were clearly listed on the addressed envelope should be attending. If the outer envelope is addressed to Mr. and Mrs. John Smith. Then there are 2 people invited, only 2. I don’t care that it’s an out of town wedding and that you have to travel with your 6 kids, those 6 kids were not invited. Don’t hassle the bride and groom, it’s their decision and I’m sure it wasn’t made lightly and there are probably lots of reasons unknown to you as to why your children were not invited. If the children are invited, it will say on the invitation Mr. and Mrs. John Smith and Family or it will specifically name the children who are invited. Children who are over 18 or not living in the same household will be sent a separate invitation.

So brides, there’s the detailed info on how to create and send the RSVPs. And guests, make it easy on those brides, they’ve got a lot on their plate – return those cards properly filled out.



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