Mastering the R.S.V.P (Reply cards)

I recently read an article in the New York Times about Queen Elizabeth’s Party Planner, Lady Elizabeth Anson.  For many years she has not only been the “right hand woman” to Queen Elizabeth’s elegant parties, but to many other celebrities both wild and proper. The article was truly interesting, down to the little details of handling the arrangements of a room to setting the tone with invitations.

I frequently say this to my couples, “Your wedding invitation sets the tone for the type of party you are planning”. Guests take note of whether your invite is formal/traditional, or informal/unique.  Along with the perfect wedding invitation design, an R.S.V.P or reply card can be the biggest hurdle for couples to overcome, as it is one of Elizabeth Anson’s biggest headaches as well!

Below are a few simple tips on how to handle your R.S.V.P.’s and reply cards with ease.


Make them clear

Not everyone understands what R.S.V.P. actually means (a French phrase Réspondez s'il vous plaît meaning "Please respond").  Sometimes making it clear by simply saying “kindly send your response by…” is an easy way for your guests to understand that there is a deadline to keep in mind. Clearly indicate the date of when the replies are due back to you. I highly recommend that you secretly cushion that deadline for yourself so you are not rushing to get a number to your caterer or planner.

Make them fun to fill out 

One of my favorite things to do with couples is to figure out ways to make their wedding invitations and paper stand out from the typical assortment of invites. The reply card is one of those places where your guests get the opportunity to personalize their reply. I’ve often seen custom made “Mad Libs” from couples, a choice of music for the play list, ideas for the honeymoon or a simple selection on food. When your guests feel they are participating with the planning, they will more enthusiastically fill out your reply card and get them in the mail faster.


Make it easier for them to respond

There are a few ways to approach making it easier for guests to reply. The First option is to provide a reply envelope with proper postage attached and your return address on the envelope. Guests can easily fill out their reply card, stuff it in your envelope and pop that card in the mail in no time. Second option is to ask for replies via email or through your website. If you wedding website has this feature, you can relieve yourself of the chore of creating your own spreadsheet and let the website do the heavy lifting.  Use of this option depends on how technically savvy your guests are. Option three, depending on the number of guests, is to have guests call you on the phone.  This can eliminate the extra steps of replying and sending the card back in the mail. Depending on your preference you might even have a wedding party member help you with organizing replies as well.

Additional hints to ease the painstaking work of R.S.V.P.’s and reply cards

Number your reply cards with invisible ink. I love this idea and used it for my own wedding. Mark each invite with a number on your spreadsheet then use the invisible ink to label the envelope and reply cards with that corresponding number.  When you get them back in the mail, you know who they are from and can easily update your spreadsheet!

Ask for help. Depending on your preference you could even have a wedding party member help you out with organizing your replies as well, utilizing spreadsheets or as a direct contact. This allows them take the heat off of you.

If you are interested in making custom invitations and reply cards for your wedding or party please get in touch with me today!

Article in the New York Times, Queen Elizabeth’s Party Planner is proud to wear $35 shoes