No one ever told me what a pain in the you-know-what RSVPs would be. When it came time to put together invitations, I thought there were only two options for RSVPs. Either you required them, or you didn’t, and if you required them then you sent a card and people were supposed to return that card to you by a certain date. For me, I knew I wanted to assign tables, so I knew I needed RSVPs (not to mention needing to know how much food to provide).
When my cousin sent out her wedding invitations, she did not put her own postage on the RSVP cards (even though she paid extra postage for square invitations). I thought that was tacky and thoughtless, and I thought putting stamps on the RSVP envelopes would mean everyone would send them back easily.
I was so, so wrong. We sent out about 125 invitations. By the week before our RSVPs were due, we had received 50. I went into panic mode, and no amount of attempted soothing from Dave was going to calm me down. We both knew that there was no way we would receive 50, let alone 75, RSVP cards in that last week. It was Thanksgiving, so I encouraged Dave to spread the word with his family when he went home, and I told him I was going to start calling people after our deadline of Dec. 2. By the time that deadline rolled around, we were still probably 60 RSVPs short, although that included some wedding party members and a few others we knew would attend. We still had a pretty lengthy list of people to track down.
A week into tracking down coworkers, family members and old college friends, I really wish I had those hours of my life back. The phone calls and online messages are just awkward and time consuming. We still haven’t gotten definite answers from everybody, including one who has a tentative role in the wedding, and I really just want to be able to finalize my seating chart and cross it off my to-do list.
If I had only seen this photo about three months earlier, I never would have suffered through this:
What a ridiculously simple thought. Ladies, let me tell you, those little RSVP cards are not exciting to scrapbook. They don’t add any fun to your corner of wedding supplies. And after the first week, going to the mailbox to look for them is a major source of stress, not a thrill.
Don’t require your guests to send in RSVP cards. You will end up resenting your friends and family for their role in wasting your time and money, because they ignored the card you took the time to type, and they threw away the 44 cents you placed on that envelope.
In this tech-savvy, overly-busy, forgetful world, people don’t want to be bothered with filling out a card and remembering to put it in the mail. If you need a definite headcount (and most of us do), then I highly, highly, highly recommend what this smart couple did, and just give your guests a deadline to let you know if they will be there or not. Make sure you give them that deadline, but allow them to give you their notice in whatever way is easiest for them. It will save you money on postage and some major headaches. And I would imagine it will save you a lot of time—there will of course always be people that can’t make up their mind, or manage not to talk to you for six months, but you will have a lot fewer people on your to-call list if you let your friend Sally text you that she’s coming, and have Uncle Don mention over Thanksgiving dinner that he will not be able to make it.