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The RSVP, Another Tradition Nearly Lost

In twenty years of working in the wedding industry I have seen traditions come and gone.  None pain me more than the loss of the RSVP.  It is as if people have forgotten why an RSVP is so important.

What does RSVP mean?

RSVP abbreviates the French phrase Répondez s’il vous plaît, which means Please reply, as is known by every adult worthy of receiving an invitation to anything good.

RSVP as a phrase has existed since 1845. The RSVP has seen many near extinct moments over time buy has always managed to keep itself alive.  They are still considered part of wedding stationery and are sold to match just about every wedding invitation in today’s marketplace.  So, it’s actually not the RSVP itself that is going extinct but rather the importance and true purpose of its use.

The RSVP is intended to announce that a person or persons WILL or WILL NOT attend a particular event.  The response being required by the host/hostess of the event, you’d think people would simply follow the instructions to respond.  But times have changed.  The RSVP is not less important to the host/hostess of any given occasion its just become less likely that your guests will actually send it back to you.

You may think that not getting your RSVPs back is no big deal.  But a not-so- good trend is developing.  Couples are paying too much for their weddings.  How is this happening?  Well, as the Bride and Groom you are committed to providing a wonderful day with food and drink for your families and friends at your wedding.  Of course, you don’t want to run out of food or drinks!  But, without a clear idea of how many people are in fact attending you will end up with either not enough or far too much food.  You might have bought or rented too many tables, chairs, table clothes…

The RSVP is about money.  So, here’s some ideas that will help you to get that RSVP back:

  • Put a meal choice on it – Fish or Chicken – I know I would definitely reply if one of the meal choices was something I don’t even like.  You can still serve a buffet in the end, if you wish.  This not only compels those attending to reply with their preference but it also helps you plan how much of each food to put on the buffet.
  • Put a stamp on the envelope – if you mail out printed RSVP cards with an envelope for their return, pre-address the RSVP envelope AND put the stamp on it.  It will cost you a little bit of postage but that is so much better than paying hundreds of dollars more for too much food.
  • Use an easy online RSVP service – there are a few online RSVP services.  If you are booked with our venue, we have one on our website.  This saves you money.  You don’t have to purchase a printed RSVP card or its envelope and there is no postage required.
  • Follow up – if you have guests who do not respond, you may need to follow up to make sure of their intentions.  It is worth following up by email or phone to find out who is coming to your wedding.  It will save you money on your food bill AND reduce your stress on the wedding day.  No bride needs to be ringing her hands with worry thinking guests are late or lost, ultimately postponing the ceremony over people who are not even coming.