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Including an RSVP card with your wedding invitation is entirely optional, and many couples choose not to as the invitations are expensive enough without the extra card. Here are answers to some frequently asked questions regarding RSVP cards:
Including an RSVP card with your wedding invitation makes it simpler for your guests to reply; especially of you also include a pre-addressed envelope. Some guests may not realise that they should send a formal reply, and others may simply not get round to it. By including an RSVP card you are making it clear that a reply is expected, and a higher percentage of your guests will reply than if you don’t.
It is only polite to put a postage stamp on your reply envelope, and again this makes it easier for guests to reply and increases the likelihood that they will. Check carefully to make sure you are including the right postage, especially if you have out of town guests. For overseas guests it may not be possible to get the right stamps, unless you have a lot of guests from one particular country and you can ask someone there to buy the stamps for you.
An RSVP card can either be a small single card with a matching envelope, or a postcard with printing on one side and the address on the other. The first option is generally more formal, but both formats can be used for any wedding as long as the card complements the wedding invitation.
The date and time of the wedding should be repeated on the RSVP cards, along with the names of the guests. You should provide your guests with a way of indicating whether they will attend or not and leave additional space in case they want to add a personal note.
Unfortunately you will always get some guests that don’t reply. These invites will have to be followed up with a phone call in the weeks leading up to the wedding. Just including an RSVP card should be a big enough clue that a reply is expected. If you put ‘regrets’ as an option on the reply card, ticking that means the guest can’t attend. If you put ‘regrets only’ on the reply card that means that only guests who can’t attend need to reply; if there is no reply you will assume they are coming.
Even if you clearly address your invitation to individual guests, many will assume they can bring their children or a date, and will add these to the RSVP card. You can limit this by listing the names of the invited guests on the card and putting tick boxes for each one marked ‘attending’ and ‘not attending’. Unfortunately, however blatant you are, some guests will still add extra names to the cards.
Most couples set the RSVP date three weeks before the wedding to allow time to finalise numbers with suppliers, create a seating plan, and chase up guests that haven’t responded.
It is becoming more popular to set up a dedicated e-mail address for people to use to reply to your wedding invitation, and print this along with the RSVP date on the invite. This is a great idea because it is environmentally friendly; saving paper and printing, and it makes replying simple for the majority of people. Check out your guest list and decide whether people will embrace this technology, or whether there are some older guests that may prefer the formality of an RSVP card.