Although your wedding invitation is very important on its own because it's usually the first glimpse your guests have of your wedding, the RSVP cards inside it are equally important. They not only tell you how many people are attending; they also give you information to relay to your caterer, hotel manager, reception hall, ushers, program printers, bakers and even florists. It's essential that your RSVP cards contain all the necessary information and a cohesive design. Here are some tips to make sure you get the most out of your response cards.
Decide what information you need from your guests. You will definitely need the names of the guests and how many are attending. You may also need to list menu options or provide a single check box for "vegetarian option" if you are having a plated dinner. For buffets, menu options are not necessary. You may also include blank lines for your guests to write you a note if you choose.
Choose the size and format of your response cards. The most popular size and shape is 4 Bar, a standard paper size measuring 3.5 by 5 inches. This paper size is widely available, and you will be able to find many envelopes to fit the cards. It is also the smallest paper size accepted by the United States Postal Service. However, you can choose any shape and size you like.
Design your response cards. Look at your invitations (if you have not completed them yet, now is a good time to do it) and work to come up with a similar design. For instance, use the same fonts as your invitation and print in the same colors. If your invitation contains a border or background element, consider using a simplified version of the same element on your RSVP cards.
Print your response cards. You can either send them to a commercial printer, who will purchase paper and print them for a fee, or you can print them yourself on your home printer. Only do this if you are confident both in your printer's image quality and in your ability to use the machine well. Order or print extra cards because you are likely to make a mistake. This is one advantage of a commercial printer--if they make a mistake, they will replace the ruined cards. If you do decide to print them on your home printer, 4-Bar cards will run through without a problem. Just make sure to slide the paper guides on your printer so they hold the cards snugly in place.
Choose envelopes that fit your card size and complement the color scheme of your invitations. It is also considered polite to stamp and address each of the envelopes; then your guests only have to drop the cards in the mail.
Don't be afraid to be creative with your wording if you're having a less formal wedding. In addition to the usual check boxes for "gladly attending" and "regretfully declining," add "regretfully attending" and "gladly declining" for a humorous touch.
Don't crowd the card with large graphic elements and oversized script fonts. The main purpose of the RSVP card is to relay information back to you. If you can't read it, the card won't be useful.
Kate Moore is a professional graphic designer and copywriter working out of Columbia, Mo. She has been writing and editing for over 10 years. Her work has been published in two anthologies of poetry and she has edited several textbooks. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Truman State University in visual communications and fiber arts.