Friday, February 2, 2007

RSVP and Response Cards

I assumed that since I'm planning my reception--doing the seating chart, giving head count to the caterer, etc.,--the response cards would be sent to me. But my mom says they must go to her, that it just doesn't look right for the response cards to go directly to the bride. However, she lives an hour away from me, and she says she won't open any of the cards, she'll just come by every weekend with a bunch of them. If she's not even opening them, what's the point of them being sent to her?

I don’t know Vicky’s feelings about this, but I am anti-response card (which eliminates the above addressee issue). Emily Post says they are not in good taste. However, recent editions of Emily Post on Weddings concede that they may be justified because, “Unfortunately many people today do not bother to answer a wedding invitation promptly.” (The sentence actually ends with “by hand,” but I’ll get to that in a moment.)

I will lead the charge against using response cards. They are cold and impersonal. In general, we are a society that chooses convenience over meaning. While it may be too much to expect hand-written notes in response, a phone call or even an email is more personal than a checkmark on a pre-printed card. It’s a great icebreaker for opening up communication with family members or old friends you maybe haven’t heard from in a while. It lets your invitee give heart-felt regrets if he can’t attend. If you are having a large wedding, you won’t be able to spend a lot of time with each guest during the reception, so spending a few moments talking with them beforehand will make them feel even more welcome.

If you are on a strict budget they are an additional expense, because not only are you buying the cards and envelopes (and paying for them to be printed), it’s expected that you include postage on the envelope. Those costs add up. Are there other elements of your wedding that had to be changed or removed because of the budget? Eliminate those cards and get back something you really wanted.

They are not eco-friendly. More paper means more trees being cut and more trash being produced.

Eliminating response cards demands that we also become better guests. You can start leading by example the next time you are invited to any event by responding immediately to the host. People will notice how you respect them and their event and will do the same for you when your wedding invitation arrives. Having a party is not one-sided. The guests must respect the host and vice-versa.

Unfortunately, even if you do include response cards with your invitations, there will always be some people who will not RSVP. That’s just life. Some of their reasons will be justified (falling into a coma the same day the invitation arrives) and some of their reasons won’t be (laziness). I can’t find Emily’s opinion on if it’s okay to contact those people for an answer. says it’s okay to contact them because you must provide an accurate headcount to the caterer. I find that The Knot gives us too much license to be bridezillas and that most caterers are prepared to handle a few extra or a few less guests. (I guess I’m leaning toward not contacting the no-responders, but we’ll see what happens when I’m actually in that spot.)

So, if, after all that, you still insist on using response cards, have them sent to whomever needs the guest list for the headcount and making the seating chart. That’s just logic. If it’s a question of your mom feeling left out, let her be the word-of-mouth contact person for gift registries and other similar information.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I sent "response cards" that gave three options to guests: RSVPing through the website, calling me, or emailing me. I am hoping to hear from everyone, but will be ok if I don't and this way I didn't have to pay postage for people who wouldn't mail something back to me.
Win-win for everyone!