Should I Have Guests RSVP to my Wedding Online?

Planning Tips


Doing wedding rsvps online or via mail

The question I’m constantly asked by Los Angeles and Connecticut wedding couples is, should we do rsvp’s online or through the mail?

We are living in an increasingly digital world, but almost all couples send invitations in the mail. Weddings are a once-in-a-lifetime event, and because it’s a formal event, it deserves a formal invite. When I say “formal”, I don’t mean it’s a black tie affair with waiters wearing white gloves passing around fancy champagne cocktails. Every couple is different, and even if your wedding is a relaxed outdoor summer soiree, what you are celebrating is important. You don’t want guests showing up 15 minutes late in flip-flops, do you? So even if a tux isn’t a requirement for your wedding, a formal, printed invite should be.

Photo Credit: Kelsey Combe Photography

What is an RSVP card?

An RSVP card, also called a reply card or response card, is the card guests fill out, put in a pre-addressed envelope and mail back to you to let you know if they’ll be attending your wedding or not. The rsvp card may just include an area to RSVP for her wedding, or it could also include an RSVP for other weekend events (welcome party, Sunday brunch) and/or meal choice at the wedding.

Fun fact: “RSVP” stands for “Répondez s’il vous plaît” which means “please respond” in French. That’s why you shouldn’t write “please RSVP”, it’s repetitive!

Photo Credit: Lovely Light Imagery

Now back to the original question. Even with  a mailed invitation, the option is still there to request guests RSVP online. This is typically done through your wedding website, though I have had some couples ask guests to email their wedding planner their response. As I always tell couples when they ask me about digital rsvp’s, I know that I am biased. I believe in paper and maintaining this standard element of wedding etiquette + tradition. I like to modernize so many parts of wedding stationery, but how guests let you know if they’re coming is something I want to stay as is. However, I also believe that every couple is unique and has different needs for their wedding. But for me, with a few exceptions, I am pro-paper rsvp.

Here are my reasons NOT to do rsvp’s online

  1. RSVP rate is higher when done through the mail. I will tell you from experience that if guests have a card and envelope they need to send back, they are much more likely to respond.

  2. Guests of all ages know what to do. Because this has been the norm for so long, your guests—young and old—know the drill. I’ve found that elderly guests can get confused by the website. They aren’t the most tech savvy, and so they’ll be contacting you for help. And my goal is to always limit the nagging calls you get from guests asking for information!

  3. Mail is fun! There is something really special about opening your mailbox each day, seeing your RSVP envelopes, and finding out who is coming and who is not. It’s like a mini Christmas morning! Sometimes guests will even include a cute note on the card! A good email notification is all well + good, but nothing can replace the joy of snail mail!

  4. Websites can be glitchy. Yes, mail can be unreliable, and it’s always possible that some RSVP envelopes get damaged or lost in the mail. But if your website shuts down or stops working (this happened to a few of my couples and they had to rebuild the whole thing), you’ve lost essential data!

Photo Credit: Kelsey Combe Photography

What instances should I collect rsvp’s online?

Now there are some situations where it makes sense for couples to do online rsvp’s. For example, a bride of mine was moving cross country during the weeks she would be receiving her responses in the mail. It made sense to do it online since she was between addresses.  And a guest list full of people who live abroad may be served better by an online option. International mail can take a long time to arrive, depending on how far the country is from the US, and how reliable that country’s mail system may be.

Photo Credit: Shaina Lee Photography

Will I save money by doing rsvps online?

Yes, you can save a little money eliminating the mail RSVP card since you don’t need the RSVP envelope or postage. The exact cost depends on your quantity and print method. But still, you need a card with the wedding website instructing guests to reply there, so the savings is not going to be the difference between a fingertip-length veil and a cathedral-length custom lace one. Sorry, guys!

Photo Credit: Kelsey Combe Photography

As will all aspects of your wedding, you and your partner need to discuss what works best for you. There are so many decisions to be made when planning a wedding and figuring out your stationery needs. But I hope I’ve made the case for why the printed rsvp card, though traditional, is a must-have for even the most out-of-the-box wedding! I promise you can find better ways to cut costs in your wedding budget, and those weeks of opening your mailbox to find correspondences from your nearest + dearest are something you don’t want to miss!

For more information on what you should include on your RSVP card, check out my essential guide. And don’t miss my latest wedding features here!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *