Répondez s’il vous plaît! – RSVP

This is a guest post by Larry James, a non-denominational wedding officiant, professional speaker and author.

RSVP. Fr. Abr. Répondez s’il vous plaît!. Literally, “respond if you please.” Often included in wedding invitations, and when included, etiquette demands a response.

Wedding rules typically state that you should be clear in both language and meaning about times, locations, attire, activities, directions or anything else that may or may not be involved in your special day.

Be sure to send out invitations well enough in advance of your bridal shower or wedding for your pending guests to plan accordingly. A rule of thumb says you should order your invitations, etc., at least 4 to 6 weeks before they’re scheduled to be mailed. Mail your invitations at least 6 weeks before the wedding date, and ask for a response at least three weeks before the wedding date.

It’s a good idea to order at least 25 more invitations and envelopes than you think you will need. Why? Because it’s much more expensive to re-order than to order more than you need at the beginning and to cover mistakes in addressing, re-mailing to a current address, etc.

Most wedding invitations have a reply (RSVP) card included. Brides often have a problem on her hands when an occasional reply card is sent back with no names filled in.

Here’s a little tip which will ensure that you avoid this problem all together. Place a small, inconspicuous number on the back of each reply card before enclosing it with the invitation. Use a list to record each guest’s name along with the number on the reply card you are enclosing for them. If someone forgets to fill in their name, a quick glance at your list will tell you precisely who the reply card belongs to.

If you don’t receive a reply from some guests by your reply date deadline, don’t hesitate to call them. An accurate count is vital for food preparation, seating arrangements and other accommodations.

It’s estimated that about 7% to 10% of the guests who respond with a “yes” won’t actually show up at the wedding. In addition, another 20% to 30% won’t make it to or stay for the reception. You may want to have a line to check for “Attending the wedding” and another for “Staying for the reception.” This can wreak havoc when budgeting for a sit-down dinner. You might want to consider a buffet-style dinner instead.

By the way, it’s considered improper etiquette to put registry information on your wedding invitation. Assign this task to friends and family and have them inform everyone. Read, “Honeymoon Gift Registry”.

Copyright © 2011 – Larry James. Reprinted with permission. This idea is adapted from Larry’s Wedding Website. Larry James is a non-denominational wedding officiant, professional speaker, author of 5 relationship books and performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere! Every wedding ceremony is customized to your complete satisfaction.  He lives in Scottsdale, AZ and performs wedding ceremonies primarily in the Greater Phoenix area.  He is available anywhere in the U.S.  Visit Larry’s wedding Website (http://www.celebrateintimateweddings.com) and Blog (http://www.celebrateintimateweddings.wordpress.com).

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Arden Clise is founder and president of Clise Etiquette. Her love for business etiquette began in previous jobs when she was frequently asked for etiquette, public speaking and business attire advice by executives and board members. The passion for etiquette took hold and compelled Arden to start a consulting business to help others. Read more >>

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