R.S.V.P., Find Out What It Means to Me!

Last week, I showed you guys the wedding website I created using WeddingWire. The main purpose of the site in my mind was to offer an online RSVP option. I’ve yet to receive a wedding invitation that offers online RSVP’ing, but I would seriously be SO excited! First of all, guests can reply instantly without ever having to leave the comforting, radioactive glow of their laptops to find the nearest mailbox. I also figured this would significantly reduce the number of late or forgotten RSVPs that I would then be forced to track down in the weeks leading up to the wedding. Since people could answer straight away, I thought they were less likely to throw the invite on top of their mail pile and forget about it. (Oh, how wrong I was!) WeddingWire also sends you an instant notification every time you get an RSVP (instant gratification FTW!), which was fun, though I’ll admit not nearly as thrilling as getting actual paper mail. Before we continue, allow me to let you in on a little secret I wish somebody had told me when I was planning my wedding. No matter how easy you make it for your guests to RSVP, there will still be people who can’t be bothered to do it. I’m not saying that I get it, but it’s just a fact of life. Seriously. Just accept it and move on, for your own sanity. There is nothing you can do about it. What you CAN do is plan ahead and leave yourself enough time to chase down the stragglers.

someecards.com - We're happy that you were able to come to the wedding despite not having time to RSVP with the self addressed, pre-paid envelope we sent you months ago.

Image via someecards.com

So, here is the Waterfall RSVP card:

RSVP

Sorry for the wonky lighting!

Initially, we toyed with the idea of only offering online RSVP’ing to cut down on postage and invitation costs, but decided that this would not fly with some of our older guests who weren’t as computer savvy, so we offered both options predicting that the older folks would stick to paper while the younger peeps would RSVP online…wrong again! As it turns out, a lot of our younger friends, whom we’d predicted would for sure RSVP online, chose to send their response by mail because, I quote “It felt fancy.” We even had two handwritten cursive RSVPs…maybe our friends are hipsters?

The other problem we ran into was postage. A lot of our invitations were actually international, and slapping a Canadian stamp on the RSVP envelope would have caused all of our international RSVPs to get lost in the mail. So, after much debate, we just sent out our invites without pre-stamping the RSVP envelope. (I know, gasp!—sorry, Emily Post.) Honestly, this was one of those situations where I had to put the etiquette books down for a second and think about what was more practical: spending hours tracking down all the different kinds of postage we would need, or letting those who wanted to reply by mail put their own stamp on it? And guess what, you guys? Nobody complained about having to put a little stamp on their RSVP! I’m all for putting your guests first and keeping their comfort and convenience in mind when making decisions, but there are limits! On that note, it was actually super fun to see all the different stamps that came back!

stamps

Surprisingly a lot of flags!

Now, if you decided to RSVP online, you could search for your name on our website.

FireSho04And then choose from a list of people with that name, in this example, the Waterfalls:

FireSho05

You would then reply for each person in your party and specify your meal choice. Done!

mealcho

A big bonus for the online RSVP function versus the traditional card is clarity. I thought our cards were fairly standard”¦fill in your name, and initial your meal choice”¦but people still managed to screw it up. First of all, a surprising number of people were confused about the “M.” line and didn’t know what it stood for. Secondly, the meal choices—so many people just wrote a number instead of initialing their choice, which apparently created some confusion when dinner was served during the reception. I refused to call those people to ask who wanted the beef and who wanted the chicken—seriously, ain’t nobody got time for that!

I also wish I had included a “We have reserved __ seats for you” line. I’d seen it done before, but assumed it wouldn’t be an issue with my guests. Well, don’t assume anything! SO many people wrote in plus-ones and it drove me absolutely crazy! We decided to only extend courtesy plus-ones to people in long-term relationships, not only because of money, but because it’s such an intimate moment for the bride and groom. Who wants the room filled with randoms that couldn’t care less about the promises that you’re making and are only there to take advantage of the open bar to get ridiculously drunk? We were also fairly accommodating if somebody called and asked if they could bring a guest, but a few guests still mailed back their RSVP card having added a plus-one, and it was infuriating!

someecards.com - I can't wait for you to meet my flavor-of-the-month boyfriend on the most important day of your life

Image via someecards.com

None of these things was an issue with online RSVPs since you had to pick from a drop-down list! (Well, except for one wise guy who used the “comment” feature of the website to write in his plus-one.)

The last thing I would do differently would be to use a separate insert or Moo card for the website information, like so many bees before me. I thought I was being clever and saving money by including our website right on the RSVP card, but after people mailed their cards back, they no longer had the website info…so I kept getting calls and messages from people wanting to know what our website was…not my brightest moment, you guys!

If you look closely at the RSVP card, you can see that our reply-by date was April 19, almost a full two months before our June 15 wedding. We did it this way because of our rolling guest list. The plan was to send out the international invites first, and send out the local invites as more spots opened up, so we needed to allow ourselves plenty of room to send out all of the invitations with enough time to avoid hurt feelings. Overall, it worked out really great, and nobody’s feelings got hurt.

Also, thank goodness that we left ourselves plenty of time because by the cut-off date we still had about 100 people who hadn’t replied! Thankfully, my parents were able alleviate a lot of my stress and track most of them down with a few weeks to spare. In the end, there were about a dozen people whom we were not able to get in touch with, and I had several nightmares that they showed up at the wedding, expecting to be fed. Thankfully, that wasn’t the case!

Rottene

Image via www.rottenecards.com

Did anybody else loathe the RSVP process?

* All photos personal unless otherwise specified

BLOGGER

Mrs. Waterfall

Location:
Montreal
Wedding Date:
June 2013

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  1. Member
    skippydarling 1305 posts, Bumble bee @ 8:39 am

    Our RSVP cards are like a Dostoyevsky novel.

    We have reserved __ seats in your honor
    Then meal choices
    then lines for their names

    Etc. I’m sure it will just confuse people and they’ll assume they can bring their kids anyway.

  2. Member
    tealmarie 225 posts, Helper bee @ 8:48 am

    Haha! That last ecard is awesome. Our RSVP return rate is at about 10% with a month left before the due date. We even made it a mad lib so people could have fun with it and send it back even if their answer was a ‘no’. Yeah well, that didn’t work. At least with a destination wedding the chance of stragglers just showing up is pretty much nil. Glad yours worked out in the end.

  3. Member
    blonde17jess 1290 posts, Bumble bee @ 8:59 am

    HA, agreed! I feel like the whole wedding process shows you how crazy and inconsiderate people can really be! I’ll probably have nightmares about the process when we get there as well. I’m just mentally preparing for it now…

  4. Guest Icon Guest
    angel, Guest @ 9:40 am

    WOW I am so glad you pointed out why you shouldn’t put website info on the RSVP. I was 100% intending on doing that.
    thank you!

  5. Member
    Minaaakim 11 posts, Newbee @ 9:49 am

    Giiiiirllll, amen. Your whole post pretty much summarizes the RSVP process in general. We did add a “__ seats have been reserved in your name”, but as a heads up, people did not care and added more people.

    In the end, people are lazy/unorganized and even with a prestamped rsvp, they will still find a way to lose/forget/vomit on/dog ate it/some other excuse.

  6. Member
    leenh78 579 posts, Busy bee @ 10:01 am

    The Someecard makes me LOL, as we gave recipients pre-addressed, stamped response card envelopes. In my view, everyone who’s invited to our wedding is an adult — why should I have to be chasing after you for a freakin’ response?

    We do have some late stragglers — so frustrating. But we built in extra time — and plenty of it — for that purpose.

  7. Member
    rucksack 518 posts, Busy bee @ 10:11 am

    Reading this is giving me war-time flashbacks. Dear every bride ever, please share this post on your facebook when you send your rsvps out and urge your guests to read it. (That can be done nonchalantly, right?) I was so amazed at how many people didn’t send their rsvp cards, wrote in unwanted guests, or the best one: When I called my friend 2 days after the due date he said “Yeah I’m coming, I was just waiting to find a buddy to bring before I sent in the rsvp.” No, No, NO!

  8. Guest Icon Guest
    futuremrs.superman, Guest @ 11:41 am

    I really like the idea about mentioning how many seats are reserved per invite. Even if not everyone follows it (why make things easy, when you can just make it more difficult for everyone right?) I think it is a good way to make people not this is not an invite whomever you want event. I will definitely be doing that!

  9. Member
    msmongoose 264 posts, Helper bee @ 1:24 pm

    Love this post–like you said, no matter HOW easy you make the RSVP process, some people just cannot be bothered to respond–jerks!! I’m glad you assigned your parents to track down the people who didn’t respond instead of taking the task on yourself–I did the same thing and also assigned Mr. M to track down whichever RSVPs we were missing from friends.

    But in the end I was surprised that about 60% of our guests actually did send the RSVP on time (I made sure to have the due date be almost 3 months before the wedding, giving us PLENTY of time to know who was and wasn’t coming). Oh and I totally did the “We have reserved X seats in your honor”–we weren’t letting anyone bring someone we didn’t know. Period.

  10. Member
    mswaterfall 1403 posts, Bumble bee @ 1:52 pm

    @skippydarling: haha, probably!
    @TealMarie: I just don’t get why people can’t RSVP, it’s so easy!
    @Blonde17Jess: Girl, brace yourself! RSVPs are the work of the devil…lol
    @angel: I’m so glad someone can benefit from my mistake :)
    @Minaaakim: AMEN!
    @leenh78: Yeah, I don’t get it either. Some people…
    @Miss Rucksack: Hahaha. I laugh so I don’t cry. Seriously, it’s traumatizing. My fave was this girl who’d gotten married a few years prior (she’s divorced now), and I didn’t bring Mr. W out of respect because I felt like me and my family were already too many (6 people). She then had the gull to tell me that the best way to keep costs down is to keep the guest list short, but then she added a plus-one on her invite, without even a name. She just put “+ guest”. Oy…
    @Mrs. Mongoose: Wow, sounds like your guests were very on the ball. Good for you! And yeah, I’m so glad I delegated tracking down the missing ones!

  11. Member
    Sloaner 84 posts, Worker bee @ 2:10 pm

    We used Weddingwire, too. My FI wanted to do the only online RSVP, but I, too, thought older guests wouldn’t use it. Guess what? None of the younger guests so far have used it! My parents and one of their friends are the only ones that used the online RSVP option. Funny!

    We did a card from Vistaprint in our invites that had hotel information and the wedding website info, but people still are emailing and calling me because they can’t find the info. Seriously, we only mailed our invites about a week ago. I am scared about the number of calls I will get about where the wedding is taking place in October if they can’t get it together now!

  12. Member
    daniellekira 573 posts, Busy bee @ 3:38 pm

    Yes I did. I even put the “we have reserved x seats in your honor. ___ out of x will attend and ___ will celebrate from afar. I still had people wanting to add guests, not happening. I hade 8 people who never responded, and I hope they don’t show unless they bring a chair and sandwich. This and the seating chart are the worst.

  13. Member
    bracelet 1419 posts, Bumble bee @ 4:33 pm

    We didn’t have any problems with unexpected extras, but I’m still a bit peeved that there were many members of Mr. B’s family who never RSVP. We had to call their parents to hear “they probably won’t come”. Even their parents couldn’t give a definite answer.

  14. Member
    Druzakillia 9 posts, Newbee @ 8:35 pm

    I DIYed my invites, and what I ended up doing was to write “name(s)” in a small font underneath the line with the M. I think it really helped, so far nobody messed that part up :)

  15. Member
    gondola 1046 posts, Bumble bee @ 1:54 am

    Oh boy, I’m doing only online RSVPs. I hope it all works out well.

  16. Member
    FalseAmazon 1 posts, Wannabee @ 8:34 am

    Haha, I’m using WeddingWire as well and hoping that people actually go to the website! As it is right now, my site just has the “enter name and number of guests attending” blah blah and I’d really like to have it set up like yours where they don’t have the option of adding another person because their name is already set. Can I ask what part of the site you fiddled with to have them search by name?

  17. Member
    futuremrsdino 73 posts, Worker bee @ 9:39 am

    We didn’t send out rsvp cards with postage either. We figure we had given them a pre-written and addressed card, and also the website to RSVP on, so if people didn’t want to pay for a stamp, they had the internet to do it ‘free’!

    Most people sent back the card which really surprised me! Our website has had a few hits but not as many as I thought.

    We didn’t have to chase a single person before the deadline though, which I think is pretty amazing, to be honest!

  18. Member
    OliviaPope 8 posts, Newbee @ 6:16 am

    I love this idea

  19. Member
    miamimavencita 207 posts, Helper bee @ 11:03 am

    A year later, and I feel your pain. I think 90% of people are never going to RSVP.

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