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.
Image via someecards.com
So, here is the Waterfall RSVP card:
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!
Surprisingly a lot of flags!
Now, if you decided to RSVP online, you could search for your name on our website.
You would then reply for each person in your party and specify your meal choice. Done!
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!
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!
Image via www.rottenecards.com
Did anybody else loathe the RSVP process?
* All photos personal unless otherwise specified