Post # 1
When you sent out your invitations – did you get guest’s entree selection on the RSVP card or did you enclose a separate “menu” selection card?
I LOVE the madlibs and silly RSVPs but they can hard to incorporate entree selection into. So, I was leaning towards doing an RSVP card and a small menu card where I can have guests indicate their entree selection.
Post # 3
@kateisstoned: I put it right on the RSVP card. I think if there are two cards, some guests may only mail back one and you would have to hunt down some entree choices.
Post # 5
@kateisstoned: I always find R.s.v.p. cards annoying, and my practice is to throw them in the waste-paper basket and write a polite reply on my own stationery. Irrationally, R.s.v.p. cards with menu choices on them annoy me even more, because I cannot really bring myself to write “Miss Aspasia Phipps / accepts with pleasure the kind invitation of / Miss Kate Stoned / for the twenty-third of May / and prefers the beef option“. By traditional formal etiquette it is the responsibility of the host to select and provide the food (even, by the way, at a restaurant: in the most formally polite circumstances the host orders on behalf of all the diners, although he may consult with them first and ask their preferences). When everyone orders directly for himself we are clearly each making our own commercial purchasing decision, which necessarily feels less elegant than simply receiving hospitable care. Menu selections on an r.s.v.p. card remind me of that commercial inelegant feel.
At a truly formal hosted meal, filled plates are not set before the guests at all: where the hostess offers “service a les Russes” servants either offer trays so that guests may take what they like and the host is responsible to offer enough variety that guests of all tastes can be adequately fed, (or if she offers the rarer “service du cour”, which I prefer, whereby multiple tureens and platters are placed on the table and guests serve one another.)
Formal meals therefore often have a hand-written or engraved menu on the table, one to every two or three guests, so that guests know what they are being offered so they know whether to accept it or not.
So, a separate engraved menu is at least traditional even if it not usually mailed to the guests ahead of time, and even if it is not usually returned with check-boxes filled in. I would still prefer neither, but it sounds like the lesser of two evils, especially if it frees you up to have madlibs, whatever those are.