You may not have even realized it, but, in a way, your entire wedding celebration starts by mailing out a card to all of your invited guests. That card not only unveils the theme for your wedding but, most importantly, helps you secure a head count for the big day.
Without this information, your wedding day becomes a total guessing game. Either you overpaid for too many meals, or you don’t have enough to feed everyone, which would be embarrassing.
That’s why it’s so important your RSVP cards are written in a very clear, actionable way that encourages your prospective guests to give their yes or a no decision right away.
So, what do you write on that RSVP card that gets sent along with your wedding invitations? While there isn’t much that has to go on it, there are definitely some best practices that can ensure your guests respond to your RSVP deadline in a timely fashion.
We’ve researched the top etiquette tips when it comes to wedding RSVP wording and best overall practices. So, if you want to stay organized during this somewhat hectic time of your wedding planning process, read on!
Wedding Invitations and RSVP Card Best Practices
Before we get into the specific wording of your RSVP cards, we wanted to offer some practical tips that can make this part of your planning run more smoothly.
Send Your Invitations Early
Depending on who you talk to, you should send your wedding invitations out four to six months ahead of your big day. Of course, this isn’t a hard and fast rule and other factors do come into play.
If you’re having a small, intimate wedding, you can probably get away with sending out RSVP cards two or three months ahead of time. For larger weddings with 200-plus guests, though, you’ll want that six month lead-in time.
You have to assume people are busy and, the more people you invite, the odds of them forgetting to send back an RSVP response card increases.
Include a Deadline
To ensure each of your guests send back their wedding RSVP card, it’s imperative you include a very-clearly-labeled deadline on all of the response cards.
That deadline could say something more general, like “Kindly respond by the first of May,” or it could be more specific with something like this, “Please mail back your response no later than May 15, 2021.” If your invitations are more casual, feel free to plead with your guests: “We would greatly appreciate it if you send this back by May 15 so we can plan accordingly.”
Whatever you decide, make sure it’s printed in bold so your guests don’t miss it.
Use a Legible Font
With the exception of accidentally throwing out the RSVP card, one of the top reasons for guests not sending cards back on time, or at all, is that the font on the invitation wasn’t legible enough to read.
There are countless fonts to choose from for a wedding RSVP card — and you’ll be tempted to use something extra fancy — but make sure each word can be read easily.
Now, this doesn’t mean the entire invitation and response card has to be a boring Times New Roman font. You can compromise and use a combination of fancier cursive fonts, but make sure your call to action — the response deadline — is printed out very clearly.
Offer a Digital RSVP Option
If you really want to make the entire RSVP process even easier, offer a digital option on your response cards. This can be done a few different ways:
- QR Code — QR Codes are popular because it’s easy for your guests to use the camera on their smartphone to access a form that allows them to submit their RSVP information. Check out QR-Code-Generator.com to create your own.
- Link to your wedding website — If you do this option, make sure the URL is either simple for guests to read and type into their browser. If it’s too long, use a link shortener, like Bitly.
- E-mail address — You can also ask your guests to send you an e-mail with the required information, including if they’re coming and what they want for dinner.
Have Fun With Your RSVP
For some reason, many brides (and grooms go along with it) think the RSVP card wording has to be this formal document filled with flowery language. That’s the farthest thing from the truth.
Have a little fun with these RSVPs by adding some blank space for some creativity. Request your guests write down a memory of you, or a song they want to dance to at the wedding.
Embrace creativity and jazz up those response cards!
Keep Track of Your RSVPs
Receiving those response cards is only half the battle. You now need to keep track of those responses.
We recommend using a Google Sheet spreadsheet to track all responses. Make sure to share that document with your future spouse and a wedding planner, if you’re using one.
By tracking everyone’s response, you won’t be worrying weeks before the wedding about who’s coming and who’s not. Also, this spreadsheet will help you create your place cards and a seating chart and serve as a list for thank you cards.
Wedding RSVP Card Wording Ideas
So, what should your wedding RSVP card wording look like? We have plenty of great examples of wedding RSVP card wording to share with you.
But first, you must remember to include these must-have items on your RSVP card. (They don’t necessarily need to be worded this way.)
- Attending or Not Attending
- Meal Choice
- Dietary Restrictions
Here are some optional items you can include:
- Dress Code
- Song request
- Other weekend events
- Promotion of wedding website
For the wedding RSVP card wording examples below, assume you’re offering two meal options on the response card.
The Formal RSVP
Make sure to use the French phrase Répondez S’il Vous Plaît, which is the acronym for RSVP. In English, it means, “Respond please.”
Répondez S’il Vous Plaît
Your response is kindly requested before May 15, 2021.
▢ Happily accept(s)
▢ Regretfully declines
Entrée 1: ▢ Meat ▢ Fish
Entrée 1: ▢ Meat ▢ Fish
Dietary Restrictions: _________________
The Engaging RSVP
You can send out a classy invitation, but it doesn’t need to sound too stuffy.
Can We Plan On Celebrating With You?
Let us know before May 15, 2021!
▢ Can’t wait!
▢ Unfortunately, can’t make it.
Entrée 1: ▢ Meat ▢ Vegetarian
Entrée 2: ▢ Meat ▢ Vegetarian
The Humorous RSVP
Have some fun with your RSVP card and make your guests smile when they open it up. Here’s an idea inspired by Affirmations Designed.
Are You In or Not? Let us know by May 15, 2021!
Yes — I’ll be there. Why?
▢ Because a family member is making me come.
▢ Because I’m in the wedding
▢ Because I want to see something dramatic happen.
▢ For the free food and booze, obviously!
No — Can’t make it. How come?
▢ Who are you again?
▢ I’m… uh, busy?
▢ I have something more exciting!
▢ I’m really sorry and wish I could be there!
Make sure to include your menu options somewhere on the card as well. It’s a good idea to offer two meal choices for your guests.
The Destination RSVP
For a destination wedding, you should include some creativity in your RSVP card. Also remember to send these out even earlier — at least six to eight months prior — to allow guests to plan their travels.
Come Fly Away With Us! (And let us know by May 15, 2021!)
▢ The flip flops are packed — see you on the beach!
▢ Sorry, we can’t make the flight.
Entrée 1: ▢ Meat ▢ Vegetarian
Entrée 2: ▢ Meat ▢ Vegetarian
Wedding RSVP Add-Ons
Here are a few options to include on the bottom of your card for fun, but also to help in your planning. Asking what song they want to hear, for example, can help your DJ plan a better-curated playlist.
- Advice for the happy couple:
- I’ll dance if you play this song:
- I’ll stick around to the end if you’re serving:
- Your favorite memory of us:
Wedding RSVP FAQs:
How Can I Politely Have the ‘No Kids’ Conversation?
You need to flex your creative and sensitivity muscles when crafting wedding RSVP wording as it relates to not bringing kids to the wedding reception. In other words, word your wedding RSVP carefully. While most guests will understand, others could potentially be offended.
We recommend playing it up as a special night out for adults only. Try something like this:
- We love kids, but this is a special night out just for you.
- Call your sitter! This is an adults-only party.
- Enjoy a break from your kids! This party is adults only.
Should I Include a Section for the Number of Guests?
Obviously you want an accurate headcount for your wedding, but by leaving a blank space, you’re also potentially leaving the door open for too many guests showing up.
So, before including this option in your wedding RSVP card, make sure each wedding invitation is addressed correctly. If dates aren’t allowed when inviting a single friend or family member, then only include their name on the address. If they are allowed, address the invitation to your friend “and guest” or “plus one.”
If you’re allowing single people to bring a date, then we would recommend adding a section to your wedding RSVP card for the number attending.
Do I Need to Pre-Stamp An Envelope for the Wedding RSVP Card?
Yes. If you expect your prospective guests to send you back a response, the easiest way to ensure they do is to include a stamp and return address on an envelope for all wedding RSVP cards.
Obviously, this is an additional cost — especially if you’re having a big wedding — but if your guests have to buy a stamp to mail back their RSVP, the chances of getting it back on time drops dramatically.
Start Crafting Your RSVP Wording Today
Like we suggested, make sure you send out your wedding RSVP cards early. That means you need to start crafting your messaging right away.
And if you haven’t had your bridal shower yet, we can help with those invitations, too!