Répondez s’il vous plaît
The French to English translation is “Please Respond”
At this point in the game, you are about 3 months (or less) out from your wedding date, and excited to see your friends & family RSVP’s trickle in! Every little card clearly states each guest’s name, whether or not they can attend, and their menu selection (*If you’re offering options). Or does it?
efficienCY IS KEY!
Let’s take a beat to discuss the purpose of an RSVP card, and how we can use them to their fullest potential. It’s important to know what information you will need from your guests, in order to understand how to efficiently design the actual RSVP cards, to start with. In the world of weddings, beauty typically trumps function, but if you’re a person who likes to work “smarter and not harder” let’s setup an RSVP system that’s built for success!
THINGS TO CONSIDER:
Q: Are you inviting adults only?
Q: Do you have invitations going out families?
When you’re reaching out to an entire household, it’s not always a simple “one line response” on who can actually attend.
Q: Are you offering your guests different menu option to choose from?
♦TIP! – Here is a sample card we designed, that clearly states how many guests are invited, plus leaves lines open for them to write in the names, check their response, and select their menu option. We’ve also included 2 lines to write in any additional dietary needs, such as food allergies, that catering would need to be aware of.
Call to action
Now that we’ve established the information we need returned to us, let’s create an alternative method to getting it to us. As you know, we live in a cyber society, so your tech savvy guests are more likely to “click & respond”, rather than they are to “stamp & respond”.
For optimal response, we recommend using an online system such as TheKnot Wedding Website, Eventbrite, or even Facebook Events in addition to traditional mail-in option. When setting up your RSVP template, be sure to include the same fields you have listed on your RSVP card:
•First & Last Name
•Accepts or Declines
Take it to Excel! Man, I LOVE a good spreadsheet!!! The best part about this whole “Inviting/Rsvp’ing” process is that you are literally creating your contact list for EVERYTHING♥
Holiday Cards? Birthdays? You name it, you’ve got it! This spreadsheet is going to be super handy for ALL of life’s events, as long as you keep it organized, and add any additional columns you may need down the road….
But, for today’s blog, we’re keeping it simple, and to the point!
You can see that I’ve created a column for Last Name, First Name, Table Number, Entreé, and Dietary Concerns.
The Table number will probably be the last column that gets filled in (since you’ll be shifting the seating arrangements over and over until their perfect!) As the RSVP’s come in, be sure to plug them into your spreadsheet.
♦TIP! – Don’t let them pile up. Just knock it out as they come in. Procrastination is the root of most anxiety, so putting things off is never a good idea. You’ll be glad you got it done, and you can toss out the card when you’re finished.
planning for more
“I love how responsive, and considerate my guests were at letting me know who was coming” – Said no one, ever!
Listen, we may have some people show up who didn’t RSVP, and we will probably have some people “no show”. It’s all part of planning & hosting events. So, rather than get flustered about it, let’s just plan for it.
NO SHOWS – To be honest, it sucks to be stood up for anything, and when it comes to a wedding, it hurts. How rude?! But it’s their loss. Think about it…. Fabulous location! Great food! Free drinks! Friends & Family! Fun music! If you have guests that choose not to show up, that’s on them. It won’t effect your plans too much, other than some extra food left over at the end of the night.
NO RSVPS – Now this is the one we want to plan for. I once had a wedding, where 15 extra people showed up unannounced. (mmm, hmmm. Hair flip!) I know right?! Gah! So my team and I scrambled to get 2 more tables setup, and it all worked out. Since we always recommend having a “vendor table” this can also double as our “holy crap! I had no idea you were attending, but I will play it off like I did”, table.
A standard 60″ round can seat up to 10 guests, and your catering company typically prepares 10% more food than what the actual head count requires, so if we have the extra table in the plans, we will be able to accommodate the potential handful of Non-RSVPers. To be fair, 9 times out of 10, weddings have less people then the final headcount. It’s very rare that extra people show up, but being prepared for anything is what makes everything easy-breezy and stress-free!
♦NOTE: We LOVE our vendors, and would never want to confiscate a table, but we know you would understand if it was an emergency ♥
FINALIZING THE GUEST LIST
At 2 weeks out, you have a pretty accurate number for your headcount, but your venue and your caterers will require the absolute final headcount around 1 week out. Since you’ve been diligent and organized, you can attach your spreadsheet to an email, and send it right on over to your planner, catering, and venue.
SEATING CHART – If you are planning on having a large sign made up, for guests to see where they are sitting, be sure to have it listed by LAST NAME, and not by table number.
♦TIP: It’s a common mistake most couples make, but if you have guests organized by table number, you’re causing a ton of confusion. People will naturally find their names by alphabet, so make that the focus. Yes, it looks pretty to organize names by groupings per table, but it’s not functional. Let’s make it easy for your guests to find their table number, searching by name.
PLACE CARDS – Same thing. You will want to make sure that your name cards are printed, and organized by last name. If you’re using a designer or print company, simply send them the spreadsheet. But if you’re creating these cards by yourself, let’s take it to Word and use the Mail Merge feature….