First of all, congratulations on getting the invitation! If you receive a wedding invitation, you should count yourself lucky.
People usually only invite those they hold most dear to participate in their wedding ceremonies and receptions.
Typically, a traditional wedding will include an RSVP card inside of the envelope. There may also be a small, stamped envelope.
The point is for you to fill out RSVP details and send them back to help your host plan appropriately.
Fill the return card out with accurate information on who is coming and any other details it asks for. Then, put it in the mail as soon as possible to give them as much notice as possible.
You’d be surprised at how much etiquette is involved in everything related to a wedding. Manners and customs also apply when it comes to sending back a wedding invitation that you get in the mail.
Here are some tips on how to be a good wedding guest and how you can send back a wedding invitation the right way.
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Being a Good Wedding Guest
Unless you’ve planned a wedding or watched someone plan one up close, you really have no idea how much stress is involved.
Imagine planning a massive party full of family, friends, work colleagues, etc.; only it’s a party that happens on one of the most important days of your life.
There are plenty of reasons why people hire wedding planners, but a big one is that they don’t have to deal with all the stress alone.
Figuring out who is coming is a big headache. Based on the headcount, you have to:
- Pay for catering
- Book venues
- Schedule entertainment
- Find the right seating and more
There are a ton of details. However, you can make things easier on your host by sending back a wedding invitation as early as possible.
Don’t look at it and let it sit out on the counter for weeks or months. You’ll forget about it, and your host is going to wonder when and how they can politely remind you to RSVP.
Just take care of it and put it in the mail when you get it.
What to Write on the RSVP Card?
If you get a stationary RSVP card, it indicates that the wedding is going to be somewhat formal. In that case, make sure to do the following:
Fill Out the Card with Your Full Name
What you write down will likely be on a seating card at your table for the reception. Include your full name when sending back the invite.
Write How Many People Will Attend
The invitation should indicate how many people are covered with your invitation.
They’ll tell you that either you and the family are invited, or tell you that you get a plus one, which means you can bring one person.
You should report, though, whether you’re coming alone or if you’re bringing a guest. If you are bringing a guest, ideally, you’ll also write their name when you RSVP.
Don’t just show up with someone because they gave you a plus one slot. Tell them if you’re bringing someone along.
Meals and Meal Requests
The RSVP card is also your opportunity to choose a meal. This will usually be a straightforward choice.
This is the time for you to indicate whether you have any dietary restrictions.
Pointing out that you only eat gluten-free food or kosher meals doesn’t mean that you’re necessarily going to get it.
Wedding planners will do their best to accommodate specific meal requests, but sometimes they can’t handle every ask.
A wedding may be one of those times where you have to be happy with whatever’s served at the event. Of course, you can always go out for a late-night bite if you’re still feeling hungry.
Make Sure to Check “YES”
Typically, an RSVP card will ask you to specify whether you’re coming. Often, it will have some boxes where you check “yes” or “no,” depending on your answer.
Unfortunately, some guests at every wedding send back the invitation without checking either box.
They mistakenly think that sending the RSVP back is enough of an answer to tell the host they’re coming. Remember to mark the appropriate answer before putting it in the mail.
When You’re Not Going to Make the Wedding
If you’re not going to the wedding, the polite thing to do is still send back the invitation to let the host know that you won’t make it.
A non-answer doesn’t do much for them because many people don’t RSVP on time. If you don’t respond, you’re causing them more anxiety and stress.
They’ll have to figure out ways to follow up, like sending a link to the wedding website, texting you, etc., all with a friendly request to RSVP.
Then, you’ll at least let the host check the box and move on to other unfinished tasks.
Write a Personal Note
When you send back the invitation, it’s a perfect time to include a short note of either thanks, encouragement, or congratulations to the wedding couple.
The note doesn’t have to be an essay or anything. One or two sentences will do.
The message will be a nice touch for the couple as they go through responses and feel the warmth of the people who support them.
Tell them how happy you are for them and, if you’re going, how excited you are to be attending. Offer any assistance if they need it and express thanks for getting an invite.
Nowadays, most weddings have websites, and some even have social media accounts to help everyone get excited and keep people updated for the big day.
Digital RSVPs avoid things like lost mail and other issues.
If you do get a wedding invitation without an RSVP card inside, check to see whether there is a link where you can RSVP online.
If so, the same rules apply when hand-filling out an RSVP card. Please do it on time, with full details and any special requests.
What If You Miss the RSVP Date?
Missing the RSVP date happens all the time, so missing the deadline isn’t something to feel too embarrassed about.
Of course, it is a bit annoying to the wedding couple when they get late requests, but they’re usually happy that you can make it!
The one thing that you should do if you miss the cutoff is to make sure your response was received. Please don’t assume that mailing it in is OK. You need to get confirmation that you can still come to the wedding.
You never know, the couple may have allocated all the available seating in the venue, and your late response means it is impossible to attend. However unlikely that is, you still need to check.
Wait a week or so after you mail the RSVP back to allow time for it to get to them. Then, give them a call or send them a text to ask if they received it.
Apologize gracefully and tell them how excited you are to make it if you can still squeeze in.
Late responses are not the time to ask to bring more guests or request food that’s not on the menu. That time has passed. Be grateful that you can make it.
The happy couple wants you there for their special day and they want to know if you will join them. RSVP as soon as you can and remember to fill out the card with all the details.
All that’s left then is to go have fun at the wedding!