by: Lauren

Today we’re continuing ELD’s Stationery Week with a post all about RSVPs from Alicia of A&P Designs! From the general format of the RSVP card and what you should include, to envelopes and postage, Alicia is covering everything you need to know about the all-important RSVP cards!


As a stationer, I am often asked lots of questions about the proper etiquette behind wedding invitations. The response card (or RSVP card) always accompanies the invitation in the wedding stationery set. The response card does exactly what it says- allows a guest to formally respond to the event.

Stationery Week: RSVP Card Insight via


Have you ever noticed a response card, seen just the response date in the top center of the card, and think, “Wow, they really messed up and didn’t provide that much information”? Well believe it or not, that is the traditional way of sending a response card. In the past, it was proper to respond to a wedding invitation by writing a handwritten note to the bride and groom. The response card would be as simple as “The favour of your reply is requested before {date}”. This would allow guests enough room to send a hand written response back to the bride/ groom. 

In today’s day and age, because of the lack of understanding of social etiquette, this tradition has disappeared. And now, most response cards are formatted with a space for guests to simply write in their name and a check box to accept or decline.

When formatting the response card, brides and grooms need to think about what information they need to know about the guests that are coming. Do you need to know what they are eating? Do they have food allergies? How many guests are planning on attending? Etc.

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It is proper to ask your guests to respond 4-3 weeks prior to the wedding date. When choosing your caterer, please make sure you know when you need to provide them with the total head count for your wedding and factor that into your response date.


Both are correct. Its really just a matter of personal preference. If you are using “honour” in your wedding invitations, then use “favour” on your response cards.


When it comes to meal selections, if you are having a seated dinner with meal selections, it is best to provide your guests with the meal selections and allow them to indicate which meal they would like. There are several ways they can indicate which meal selection they would like. If multiple people are responding on one card, they can initial next to their meal selection, or we can create a line for each guest to write their name and select their meal choice.

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Many brides opt to have “Number of Guests Attending” with a blank for the guests to write in. This can be tricky and provide a larger headache then attending. While it does allow you to have an accurate account of how many guests will be there, it also can give your guests the idea that the entire family is invited. If the envelope is addressed to just Aunt & Uncle and they see the space, they might think that they can bring their 5 children as well. To avoid this, you can simply omit “number of guests attending”.

If you are worried about your guests not knowing that only Aunt & Uncle are invited, we can add a line that says “We have reserved ___ seats in your name”. This will tell your guests exactly how many people are invited without any hesitation, but this process is also time consuming as you would have to write in exactly the number of seats for each invitation.


It is traditional to provide an envelope for your guests to send their reply back to you. In today’s day, some brides will opt to have a postcard style response card. The postcard style saves on paper (no envelope needed) and will save on postage (you will be able to use a postcard stamp).

When issuing the address for your response card, it is proper etiquette to have them be returned to the ones that are hosting the event. For example if the bride’s family is inviting, then the response card should go back to the bride’s family.


When it comes to postage, some people have strong opinions on whether they should provide postage on the RSVP envelope or postcard. Some believe that providing a stamp is common courtesy since you are inviting them. Others feel guests should provide their own stamp. I tend to go towards common courtesy and think that if its easier for guests to respond, then they will respond quicker and it will save the bride & her family time in having to call those who didn’t respond.

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The best advice when it comes to invitation etiquette is to do what feels right for you. If you are having a casual wedding and you don’t want to adhere to common etiquette practices, then you don’t have to. But its always good to know the traditions behind items and then you can opt to adhere to tradition or not. When working with a stationer, they will help to answer questions and point you in the right direction that best reflects your wedding style & personality.


Thank you so much for all of this great information Alicia! Brides, be sure to check out more of A&P Designs‘ work in their ELV listing! And remember, if you have any questions, feel free to ask and either I or Alicia will answer! :) 

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Stationery Week: RSVP Card Insight via


Founder & Editor at Every Last Detail
Lauren Grove is the editor and owner of Every Last Detail. A clueless bride-turned-wedding planner, Lauren uses her experiences and knowledge to educate and inspire brides all over the world.

5 responses to Stationery Week: RSVP Card Insight

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  1. Jess

    These are gorgeous designs!

  2. Gayle (a Bride)

    How can I properly put on the RSVP that if you don’t RSVP you will not have a seat at the reception? The groom family feels they don’t have to RSVP. I had this problem for the shower. They never RSVP but showed up. Thank goodness there was enough food, but I’m paying per person for wedding reception.
    Thank you for your time.

  3. Ismelda (just curious)

    I would also like a response to this question. How to properly put on rsvp if you don’t rsvp you will not be seated at wedding.

  4. M (a Bride)

    To be honest, I don’t think it’s appropriate to put there won’t be a seat if they don’t RSVP on the wedding invitation in any way. As annoying as it is, after the RSVP date you (or your fiance) should call each person who has not RSVP’d and ask if they are able to make it or not. During that conversation, I think it’s completely appropriate to tell them anyone who does not RSVP does not have a seat. With any luck, they will then start talking to other family members and the word will be spread. Another option: politely mention it to family members on that side before the RSVP date (like Mother-In-Law), and hope they spread the word that no RSVP means no seat for dinner. Worst case scenario, if they don’t RSVP and show up they will be the ones embarrassed that there is no seat for them – and to me, its an obvious tell to the other guests at the wedding that they decided to not RSVP and showed up anyways.

    This is only my opinion, I’m no etiquette professional by any means.

  5. Mary (just curious)

    Do any of you have any thoughts on how we should handle guests who do not specify what they want. The style of our RSVP looks mostly like the last one, with names, and meal options. People are writing 1 next to chicken and 1 next to beef, but not saying whether Jamie wants Chicken and Steve wants Beef. Any advice on how to deal with this?

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