How should guests RSVP for a wedding? The traditional way, of course, is by returning a paper reply card that the invitee would receive with their wedding invitation. The guest would fill this card out with their name, and tick a box to indicate whether they can attend the wedding. They’d then return this card to the host of the wedding using a stamped, addressed envelope that would be included in the invitation suite.
But in today’s digital world, digital RSVPs are becoming more and more common. Many couples set up a wedding website, which contains an online RSVP form for each guest to fill out. You simply include the link to the website on your invitation, so that your guests will know where to go: no paper or postage required.
As you might expect, there are both upsides and downsides to the digital approach. While it saves money and trees, it might prove confusing for older guests, or be perceived as inappropriately casual for a formal wedding.
Today, we’ll compare paper and digital wedding RSVPs, and figure out which method has the edge. By the end of this guide, you should have a good idea of which one will work best for you and your guests.
Paper vs. Digital RSVPs: Pros and Cons
Let’s jump right into it, and take a look at the pros and cons of paper and digital wedding RSVPs. We’ll discuss what impact each choice might have on your budget, your time, the environment, and the way your wedding will be perceived by guests. We’ll also discuss how accessible or ‘user friendly’ each option will be for your invitees.
One of the most popular reasons (if not the main reason) to opt for a digital RSVP system is the money-saving opportunity. Physical reply cards can be pricey, depending on where you order them from. You will also need to pay postage, both for sending the cards to your invitees, and for getting them back (you’ll need to include a stamped, addressed envelope for your invitee to use).
These costs are completely eliminated if you ask your guests to send you a digital reply. However, you will need to pay for the setup, design and hosting of your wedding website, if you want to go the digital form route.
Time and Effort
There’s no doubt that paper reply cards take a lot more time and effort to write, send, and organise than digital RSVPs. You have to:
• Design your cards and have them printed
• Write your guests’ names individually on each reply card (unless you’re letting your guests fill in their own names – though bear in mind that if you do this, they may add extra guests or plus ones that you hadn’t intended on inviting)
• Prepare a stamped, addressed envelope to post along with your reply cards (so that your invitees can send them back to you)
• Go to the post-box to send them all off
• Gather all of your replies, read each one and compile the data
Of course, it also takes time and effort to design a wedding website and set up the online form – but probably not as much. Only you know which one you’d find more taxing.
If you are an eco-conscious sort of person, you might take issue with the amount of paper that your paper reply cards will use (and the envelopes they get sent back to you in). It’s true that digital RSVPs are much better for the planet in this regard, and have less of an impact on the environment.
It’s not all bad news, though – paper reply cards are fully recyclable, as long as they don’t contain any glitter or foil in their design. After your wedding, you can simply pop them into your paper or cardboard recycling bin, if you don’t want to keep them.
Paper reply cards are very traditional for weddings, and therefore seen as the most formal option. If you want your wedding day to have a classic, elegant, formal feel, we’d definitely recommend going with paper RSVPs.
Older guests in particular are likely to sniff at the idea of replying to a wedding digitally, and see it as almost offensively casual for such an important occasion.
While younger generations won’t mind the idea of reply to an invitation over the internet, they may be less inclined to bother replying. Sending out a paper reply card conveys the significance of the event (and lets your invitees know you’re seriously expecting a RSVP).
As well as coming across s more formal and ‘proper’, many newlyweds-to-be prefer the aesthetics of a paper reply card, rather than a digital one. By designing your own reply cards you can inject your personal style into them, and coordinate them with your wedding theme. This is something both you and your guests will really appreciate, and isn’t really possible with a form on a website.
You can also keep your reply cards as a memento of your wedding day, which you can’t do with digital replies. Many couples enjoy reading the handwritten comments on their reply cards from all of their loved ones.
Although we’re well into the digital age, not everyone finds it easy to use modern technology – particularly the older generations. If you’re planning to use digital RSVPs for your wedding, you must be sure that every single one of your invitees has access to the internet, and would be tech-savvy enough to understand how to submit their reply.
Think of your grandparents, great-aunts and uncles – would they be able to use a digital RSVP system, or would they be more comfortable filling out a traditional reply card? Use your best judgement here. If your system isn’t accessible to many of your guests, you’ll have to spend a lot of time talking them through it, or telephoning them to ask for their RSVP.
We all know that technology isn’t perfect. It’s no secret that websites can experience glitches and errors, and e-mails can get sent into somebody’s junk folder without them realising. With this in mind, it’s possible that you may lose some of your digital RSVPs in this manner. This may mean that you have to spend a lot of time phoning the guests you haven’t heard from, and getting them to submit their reply again.
Of course, paper invitations can also get lost in the post. But this is relatively rare compared to glitches with e-forms, and far less likely to happen.
Taking into account every pro and con, we feel that paper RSVP cards are still the best way to go.
Going digital may be the cheapest and least time-consuming option; however, you risk singling out any guests that aren’t comfortable using technology. You also risk your guests forgetting to reply without a physical card to remind them, or losing some of your responses to technical glitches.
If you would like to offer your guests a way to reply digitally, the best thing to do is to provide both a paper reply card and an e-mail address or online reply form. That way, your invitees themselves can decide which RSVP method they’d prefer to use.
What Should I Include on a Wedding RSVP?
Whether you’re going to opt for paper or digital RSVPs, you will need the following information:
• The names of each guest that’s invited. You can fill this out yourself, or have a space for your guests to write their names. Make it clear whether children and/or plus ones are invited.
• The RSVP deadline (the date that your guests must reply by)
• A space for your invitees to indicate whether they are or are not attending (e.g. a tick box, or a drop-down menu with ‘yes’ and ‘no’ options)
• Optional: a way for guests to select their meal choice
• Space for guests to inform you of allergies, intolerances or other dietary requirements
You might also wish to include a free space for guests to wish you well, express their excitement, or add a song recommendation for your DJ’s playlist, for example.
If you’re using paper reply cards, you can design them with space in mind for every bit of information you need.
For online forms, simply incorporate either a blank text box or a drop-down menu for each detail you’re requesting. It’s a good idea to make every question mandatory – so that if your invitee tries to leave a box blank, it will give them an error asking them to fill it out.
Where Can I Order Wedding Reply Cards?
If you’ve decided to go with the traditional option of paper RSVP cards, you can order yours today from 123Print. Create your own design from a blank slate, or select from one of our hundreds of fully customisable templates. We have styles and themes to suit every kind of wedding, from casual and beachy to classically elegant.
Whichever design you choose, you can edit the text for free to include any extra details or information. For example, you could add a space for guests to indicate their choice of meal, the name of their plus one, or a song recommendation for the DJ.
Choose between matte, pearlescent or textured card stock for your professionally printed design, which will be dispatched within 2 working days. The more you order, the more you save – so make sure you order plenty of extras!