When you receive a wedding invitation from your friends or family, one of the first things you should do is look for a small RSVP card or reply card. This is a very important part of the formal invitation because it helps the couple make up their wedding guest list (and thus, wedding budget). If you don’t reply to the invitation in time, you might lose your seat at the wedding table, so never postpone your answer for too long. The bride and groom planning their wedding have so much on their minds that they can totally forget about those guests who don’t confirm their attendance.
RSVP card (reply card or response card) – small card included in the formal wedding invitation. Its purpose is to let the bride and groom know if you accept their invitation and will be attending their wedding. Why is it called “RSVP card”? It’s from French phrase “Repondez, s'il vous plaît” (Respond please).
Some people lose this small card when they review the invitation or forget to mail it back to the couple. But it’s not only impolite, but you can even lose your seat at the wedding table if you just ignore the reply card. The fact that your friends or relatives have sent you an invitation doesn’t mean they expect you to come whether you answer them or not.
When do you need to send the RSVP card back to the bride and groom?
To make it short, ASAP. When you get the invitation, check the date and your possible plans for this day first thing. Decide if you’re free and able to attend. If it’s a +1 wedding invitation, pick the person quickly and confirm if he or she is free on the particular date. As soon as you’ve decided to come to the wedding, fill out the reply card and mail it back to the couple. Don’t wait till the last moment to do it, otherwise, you might end up out of the wedding guest list. Remember that the bride and groom plan their wedding long in advance, and they need to know the exact (or almost exact) number of guests before they book the venue and food vendors. The guest list is one of the main things that influence the wedding budget.
Even if you’ve confirmed your attendance with the couple via a phone call or personal conversation, you still need to mail the RSVP card. Because they can forget about your call in between a thousand wedding prep chores.
How to fill out the RSVP card?
Don’t forget to put your name on the reply card! So many people forget about it. And all of the cards are identical, so the couple won’t know it’s from you, unless they keep it together with the envelope (and they probably won’t). So, the first thing to do is to sign your full name – if they have escort cards, wedding place cards, and other signs at the reception, the bride and groom will need your full name for those.
Fill in your +1’s name if you’re going to bring somebody. Also, a full name or name preferred by the person. In case you haven’t made up your mind yet as to who you’re taking with you, mention this. Say that you will have a +1 but can’t sign the name yet. When you’ve picked a person, let the couple know the name (and please don’t do it as late as the day before the wedding – they need time to print cards and etc).
Check the yes or no tab. Don’t assume they will understand that you accept the invitation just because you’re sending the reply card. A lot of people mail the card with a “no” answer and an explanation. So, if it’s a yes for you, check the right tab.
Some RSVP cards also include info about your choice of entrée – chicken, fish, beef. Check the tab of your preferred choice.
If you have any dietary restrictions, share them in your reply card as well. It will help the couple and their caterer to make up the menu for the wedding dinner. For example, if you eat only gluten-free food or are allergic to peanuts or have any other dietary restrictions, mention this.
Also, you can add a short pleasant comment for the couple in your RSVP card. Tell them how you’re happy for them and excited about the future wedding. It will improve their mood and take some of the stress off.
What to do if you forgot to send the reply card in time?
Sometimes, it happens that you postpone sending the card until you make up your mind and then totally forget about it. What to do if you’ve just found an unsent card on your table or in your purse? First of all, call the bride or groom and tell them about it, ask if you still can attend the wedding (because maybe their guest list is already set). If they say yes, great, but you still have to mail the RSVP card back.
How to reject the invitation politely?
If you can’t attend the wedding for some reason, send the reply card back with a “no” tab checked and a short explanation, or at least say you regret not coming to their big day. Also, call them to say this personally, don’t just rely on a small card. Wish them good, and don’t forget to congratulate them on the day of the wedding or shortly after.