RSVP cards are a rather traditional way to request a reply to a wedding; however, they are still used quite often in wedding invitation suites for modern brides. Some brides opt to go with an RSVP online, or with a postcard RSVP card instead of the traditional card & envelope pair.
If you are a bride who has decided to use a RSVP card for her wedding invitation suite then this article is definitely for you, especially if you don’t know where to begin with your own RSVP card. The rest of the blog is organized into 5 comment questions about RSVP cards, as well as my answers for them!
1. What does the capital “M” with a line next to it mean?
This is something I found myself wondering when I created my RSVP card a couple of years ago! I actually refrained from adding the capital “M” with the line to my design because, even though all the RSVP card examples online had it, I didn’t know what it meant! Turns out, if an envelope is addressed traditionally, it will read something along the lines of “Mr. and Mrs. John Smith”. The “M” on the RSVP is the first letter of “Mr.”, “Mrs.”, “Miss”, or “Ms.”, whichever one applies to your guests.
Your guests are technically supposed to fill in the rest of the line to write their own names “Mr. and Mrs. John Smith” and then they can check off the appropriate response for accepting or declining your wedding invitation. The nature of this tradition is that many guests sometimes don’t understand how to correctly fill out the RSVP card (and some people forget to add their names altogether, but I’ll cover that later on).
If you would rather opt for a more modern approach, you can write “Names” or “Guests” on that line instead, making it more obvious for your guests where they are supposed to add their information!
2. How do you determine how many guests are able to come?
When I sent out my wedding invitations, certain households, for example, had 5 guests that were invited to the wedding (2 adults, 3 children). In some cases, not everyone in the family will be able to attend the wedding, and I wanted to make sure that I was able to account for that! Instead of writing an option that said “delightfully accept(s)” with a check box next to it, I wrote a line that read “ ____ # of guests attending out of ____”. By making this an option, I was able to write in exactly how many guests in the family were invited, and therefore able to keep an accurate count when they sent the RSVP back with how many guests would be coming! You can see an example of one of my returned RSVP cards below. P.S. I totally kept all my RSVP cards because a lot of them have really kind notes on them from some of the guests.
3. What is an appropriate “reply by” date?
In order for you to have an accurate guest count far enough in advance of the wedding, you want your “kindly reply by” date to be at least a month before the wedding! Most wedding venues, planners, caterers, etc. require a final guest count around two weeks before the wedding. This gives you a two week buffer for guests who might lag on their RSVP, or any sudden changes that might come up! In my case, I had a couple of friends who originally RSVP’d “no” and then later found out they could actually get enough time off to come to my wedding! I was easily able to add them to my “yes” list without feeling too much stress about last-minute changes!
4. Is it possible to add a personal touch to an RSVP card?
It is definitely possible to add a personal touch to any RSVP card! Even though the cards usually measure 3.5x5.5 inches in size, you can still fit small details on the card to personalize it and make it interactive for your guests! On our rsvp card we included a small space at the bottom for a “Song Request”. This was such a fun way to interact with our guests and also build our playlist before the day of the wedding! Our guests had so much fun responding with the RSVP cards (even if we did have to chase some of them down eventually, which is bound to happen).
In addition, you can also personalize the RSVP card by adding design details that were incorporated into the other elements of your wedding invitation suite. If you hire a custom stationer, most of the time this is something that they will do for you! One of my favorite RSVP cards I ever designed was for a bride who got engaged in Cologne, Germany. We actually went with the postcard approach for her RSVP. One side of the RSVP was a beautiful sketch of the Cologne Cathedral, and the other side was the actual RSVP in a postcard layout. There are photos of the exact RSVP below! We went with a 4x6inch card so that all of the details would be readable and the guests would have enough room to write their names! Not only was the sketch of the cathedral a personal note, but the floral design was incorporated to match the rest of her suite.
5. Do RSVP cards mail normally? And do I need to provide a stamp?
RSVP cards do mail normally even though they may feel extremely small to some people! However, be aware, if your guest adds a return address sticker to the RSVP envelope, or writes their return address on the envelope, there is small chance that the postal scanner will read the return address instead of your mailing address. I had this happen to a couple of guests that added return address stamps to the back of the RSVP envelope. For some reason, the scanner picked up the return address better than the mailing address (for my home) on the front. Part of this may have been due to the fact that my address was in a white font on a dark envelope, but it also could have been due to the fact that the envelope was so small, making it extremely hard for the postal scanner to differentiate between two different addresses since they were probably similar sizes. Either way, you will most likely have to follow up with many wedding guests and this unfortunately is part of the process of using USPS for mailing wedding invitation items.
Traditionally, if you are expecting your guests to mail back an RSVP card, you should be prepared to provide the postage to do so. There is a long-standing rule behind this reasoning, so if you feel that you don’t have the budget to add stamps to your RSVP envelopes, you can always consider the more modern approach of having guest’s RSVP online instead!
6. What if a guest forgets to write their name on the rsvp card?
It will happen. I had multiple RSVP cards show up without names on them; some of them with “delightfully accepts” and others with “regretfully decline”. To this day, this trick I am going to share with you was actually some of the best wedding advice I received! One of my friends who had already been married told me to number the back of each of my RSVP cards, and respectively number all the addresses on my guest list. For each invitation I stuffed, I made sure to include the correctly numbered RSVP card that correlated with the number by the guest’s name on the address sheet. It made my life so much easier. Not to mention, I almost got excited when one showed up without a name because then I was able to refer to my hand-dandy numbered address list to solve who’s RSVP it was! Nerdy, I know, but also useful nonetheless!
I hope that these tips & tricks for wording, designing, and mailing your RSVP cards have aided you in your own wedding journey! If you have any other questions, or if you’re interested in having me design your wedding stationery, don’t hesitate to reach out to me HERE.