Home DIY Projects + Tutorials RSVP and Enclosure Cards Do’s and Dont’s

Response cards (RSVPs) play a critical roll in planning your wedding because they give you an accurate count on how many people will attend. Not every guest you invite will be able to come to your wedding, but you have to make plans to accommodate the number you invite. It used to be customary for someone to receive your invitation and then RSVP on their own stationery. In recent years, the number of people who carry out this tradition has become fewer with the rise of the telephone and Internet. So now, the customary practice is to include a response card with the wedding invitation for guests to mail back to you.

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Response Cards by Jam + Toast Paper Goods

 

The response card gets slipped into the invitation’s envelope with any other enclosure cards like directions or where the couple is registered. Also, a growing trend is to have the guest RSVP on the couple’s wedding website. This method does save on printing and postage costs, but I personally love printed materials, and feel like the web can be less personal. It really just depends on your budget, time restraints, and personal preference.

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Response Cards by Jam + Toast Paper Goods

 

So now that I’ve clarified what response cards are, I want to tell you some do’s and dont’s about sending them.

Do: Discretely number the back of your response cards because some guests will forget to write their name on them. (I learned that the hard way!)

Do Add postage and self-address the response card envelopes so that it makes it even easier for your guest to respond.

Do Give your guest a specific date by which they should respond.

Do Allow for stragglers. You may get some response cards back the day after your wedding so take your actual number based on RSVPs and add some additional just in case.

Don’t Give your guest months to respond or else it will get forgotten. A good 3-4 weeks to respond is enough time.

Don’t Print your guest’s name(s) on the response card for them. This can add an additional cost for variable printing and can add up costs with a calligrapher. It is perfectly fine to have a line where the guest can write their own name.

Do or Don’t Add meal choices for the guest to pick if you are having a full meal at your reception. It seems like people are really torn on this idea because it is not proper etiquette. Personally, I think it helps your caterers plan more so you aren’t purchasing a ton of additional food.

Do or Don’t Allow your guests to write in the number attending. It can be nice to help with an accurate count but if you address it to the parents of the household, they may see this as saying they can invite all their kids. So you may have additional guests you didn’t plan for.

Are there other do’s and dont’s you can think of, or did you learn something the hard way?

9 replies to this post
  1. I read somewhere that it is not polite to include cards about where the couple is registered with the invitation, because it’s like asking for gifts, but then you say up there that people do it. I’m so confused! I feel like I’ve gotten them before in wedding invites, and I’ve never been offended, but then again I’ve got a very low offense meter.

    • Hey Kristy, For me I think it varies based on each couple’s individual situation. People like knowing where the couple is registered because it takes the guess work out of finding a gift that they like. I don’t personally get offended by them either but in proper etiquette you would not include them.

      My advice would be to evaluate the amount of money you have to spend on your invitations/printed pieces because enclosure cards do cost extra. Also think about your guests and if they would like to have a list or if they would prefer to do shopping on their own.

    • I agree, it absolutely IS bad etiquette to include your registry information in your wedding invitations. Instead, include the address for your wedding website on the invitations and put your registry information on the website. Also make sure your close family and bridal party know where you are registered so they can discreetly put the word out. Anything else looks like you’re gift greedy. The only time it is ok to put registry information on an invitation is in the case of the bridal shower.

    • I’ve always read that you shouldn’t include in formal invites, but get your wedding party to spread the news/subtly post about going and registering on fb…

  2. I get looooots of customers who ask me to add the meal choices in the RSVP, I never thought of it about not proper etiquete. I agree with you that it will help save costs on food that people will finally not eat.

    An additional info that I am requested a lot in the RSVP cards is to write their favorite song. I think is a nice detail for their guests!

  3. People don’t understand etiquette anymore. You send cards, you provided postage paid envelopes and half don’t come back. Then you have everyone listening to what is acceptable and not acceptable for the couple to do in terms of sending them or putting in registry inserts or what food you “need” to serve or what it “needs” to be served on. No wonder the there are so many bridezillas out there. Plan your day the way you want it, refuse to pay overinflated wedding vendor fees and take back your wedding as what it was meant to be. A celebration of two people devoting themselves to one another. And if people can’t RSVP, don’t expect a seat, a drink or food at my wedding!

  4. I agree with a few others about returning cards. We are planning this big day and there is a lot to budget for. The least those we are choosing to share the day with could do is respond in the time we have requested, With our situation, our reception venue has also has a capacity so we must limit our guests to those we specifically invite and cards not returned open up seats for those we would like to invite but didn’t make the painful first cut due to the limit.

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