Post # 1
We are having a formal sit down dinner reception. I am working on the design of the response cards. At one point, we wanted to give people the option between fish or steak dinner then we decided to go with steak for everyone. If we do not include an option for dinner, will people understand this is a sit down dinner or will they think it is a buffet?
What I want to include with the invitation information but did not want to overcrowd the actual invite with:
Black tie optional
“We wish your kids a good sleep” to politely indicate children are not invited.
Can I put these things on the response card or do I need to include an additional card besides the invite and response card? If so, what would I put on the additional information card? Would I need to title the card? As half our guests are traveling from out of the state/out of the country, I will be including all accomodation and travel information on our website since it would be too much info to put on a card.
For response card wording:
Do I need to include how many actual guests are invited so they can indicate how many out of how many invited are coming? I wanted to reiterate to our guests that may have children, that we are only expecting the adults to come.
Roughly 1/2 of our guests have the option to bring an unknown guest with them. I need to know their names for escort and place cards. How do I get this type information?
RSVP by returning the response card or at on our wedding website (I don’t know what wording should be used for this)
“I promise to dance if you play” ___________
Am I trying to cram too much information into one card?
I tried looking for examples on Pinterest but there are so many different response cards but the overall majority of them only include please reply by date of date, yes/no and no other information.
Post # 2
ALSWM: ours was adults only and we addressed it to “Mr. and Mrs. XYZ” or “Mr. XYZ and guest” or “Mr. XYZ” if we weren’t inviting a guest for them.
Most people know what that means. Plus, by word of mouth, most people already knew it was adults only.
Our RSVP cards said the following:
Kindly respond by November 1st
___ happily accepts ___ sadly declines
please initial by each persons menu choice
____ Grilled Chicken Oscar
_____ Parmesan Crusted Trout
_____ Garden Spinach & Pesto Pasta
So far, we have had 0 confusion. By initialling, we knew who was coming.
If you don’t include entree selections I don’t think it matters. Guests don’t need to know in advance if it is sit down or buffet. I would, however, rethink giving everyone steak if it is sit down. A lot of people don’t like steak.
I think the only extra info. you should put on there is “black tie optional” at the bottom of your invite. If you want to include extra, put it on an additional info. card or on your website.
Post # 3
ALSWM: I would include an info card that indicates ‘Black Tie Optional’ and the no kids allowed if they’re on the response card people won’t have this information to refer to closer to the date.
I would include on your invite ‘plated dinner to follow’ if you want people to know it’s not a buffet. That said – steak for everyone? Is there a veggie option? I would make sure your response card has a line for Food Allergies.
As far as numbers, I would include 2 seats have been reserved in your honour _________________ will be attending __ will not be attending__
We made ours what I thought was dummy proof and we still had people return them with no names.
my best advice – NUMBER YOUR RESPONSE CARDS, small and on the back, write the number on your address list next to the name. It takes a little extra time but will save you massive headaches!
Post # 4
texaslemon: we asked for initals and didn’t get them, it was annoying!
Post # 5
I’m only going to address some of your questions (the ones I know anything about):
I would just say “Adult only ceremony and reception” rather than “we wish your kids a good sleep,” which to me is somewhat cryptic. I wouldn’t be sure what you meant by this.
As for the dinner, I don’t think it matters if people know it’s a plated dinner vs. a buffet, does it? I’ve been to sit-down dinner recpetions with no meal option before. It’s worked out fine.
What is “I promise to dance if you play?”
Post # 6
MsGinkgo: I think I have had 2 RSVPs without but they were singles. Most times, unless they are randos, I think you could call?
We indicated food allergies and attire preferences on our website. Same w/ valet info. and hotel accomodations. You could include a little tag with your website again, but do not put it on your invite.
I also agree that you could state “we have reserved ___ seats in your honor. ___ happily accept. ____sadly decline.
Post # 7
If you’re really looking to go formal, indicate that with your invitation and don’t load down your card with song requests/cryptic messages about kids sleeping.
If you’re really worried about kids, you can do the “X seats have been reserved in your honor” route to make it super clear, then call anyone who somehow misunderstands. No matter what you do, someone will be dense enough to misunderstand.
Post # 8
I personally dont think you should state anywhere that it is no kids just use the invitations to specifically address who is invited Mr. and Mrs lastname or Mr. lastname and Guest
My FSIL did this on her rsvps for no kids and definetly doing on mine!!
__ of 2 accept with pleasure
It’s genious and she didnt have anyone try with additional guests. This takes away any question. and even add the “we have 2 seats reserved in your honor” from the PP right above it
Post # 9
texaslemon: what I mean is we had a few come back with no name, they’re coming and x’s by the meals. If we hadn’t numbered the RSVP I’d have had no way of knowing whose it was. We also had a few where it was a family of 3 and they put X’s by the meals instead of initials so we had to call. It’s not a huge deal but it’s annoying all the same.
Post # 10
If you have friends and family who don’t dance, wear jeans to weddings, don’t understand response cards, and invite random extra guests- nothing you can write will change that. So good luck, haha! I think everybody has to chase down a few unruly guests. (edit: there’s no magical wording that will prevent clueless people from trying to bring their kids….)
Anyway, I’d put black tie optional, no children please, song requests, menu information, and food allergies/food requests for the website.
For the card, I’d write Name(s) ______________, __ accepts, __ regrets. The favor of your reply is requested by Jan.1st 2015 at website.com or by mail. (Assuming you are including pre-stamped reply envelopes).
Post # 11
I also thought we should give people a food option but my father keeps insisting that majority, if not all, of our guests will choose steak and he felt it was unneccessary to include an option. We do have a few vegetarians so we will make arrangements for them. Generally speaking though, if we put a second entree, if would not be a vegetarian option. For our vegetarians, I was planning to actually get with them to find out what they liked instead of doing just a random vegetarian plate.
The thing with word of mouth for the no children thing is many of these guests do not know each other. They are people we have met in different cities when we moved around.
So far on our invites we put “reception to follow.” Would better wording then be Plated dinner and dancing to follow?
So how would this be?
Two seats are reserved in your honor
__happily accepts __sadly declines
Okay so the only issue I see with this (unless the way I have it is incorrect in general) is that some of our guests may reply for their whole family. Example, an aunt replying that she is rsvping for herself and her husband as well as her college age single kids who may still live at home but also receive invitations but don’t take the time to send in a response card. Knowing this will happen in some cases, I would want to fill in the number Four seats…. but then I would need 4 blank lines and that would look funny to incclude 4 blank lines on every card when that will only happen for a few people. I am overthinking this, aren’t I? Chances are, my family is unlikely to return their response cards in favor of just telling me they are coming.
Post # 12
The “we wish your children a good sleep” is a Turkish thing I guess. It is the polite way all the weddings we have attended over here in Turkey indicate adults only. I wasn’t sure if it would translate well for our US wedding or not. I guess it does not.
I saw on one response card example on pinterest where they had rsvp, guest names, can’t wait, will be there in spirit and then at the bottom an extra line saying ” I promise to dance if you play ________.” Is the overall response not to put this? We hired a band and I was hoping some of our older crowd would include some songs they really enjoy so we can provide a list of requested songs. I have serious doubts any of our older guests will mess much with the website although there is just as good of chance, they will not mess much with putting a response to the “I promise..play” part either.
Post # 13
The traditional etiquette answer is that response cards themselves are unnecessary and should by all rights offend people by suggesting that they would not otherwise reply. For practical purposes, however, I included a blank card with RSVP date up at the top. All but one person managed to figure out how to compose an appropriate response. I particularly dislike the ___ of X seats and ” adults only” language since it implies people are rude or ignorant. I would rather make a few phone calls to the minority who are oblivious and rude rather than risk turning off those who know how to read.
Invitations are supposed to be addressed in the names of the specific person or people. It considered proper to get the names of each intended guest ahead of time and to send those people separate invitations if they live apart. Call, write, email, or text to get the info. Etiquette does not recognize the random +1.
As for menu choices, though some caterers will, indeed, force the issue, it’s not really correct to have anything menu related in the invitation at all. It’s not a restaurant, it’s a private affair.
The best caterers can and do estimate without the need for an advance head count. Options can be offered at the table. Others won’t admit that they can do this unless you press the issue, and some won’t accommodate at all. It’s also perfectly correct to offer one versatile dish along with the typical substitutions for vegetarian, gluten free etc. I’m not sure steak is the best choice in this regard, especially since you say you won’t even know many of the guests.
Anyone with known food issues should contact you, or even the caterer, directly.
Also, technically there is no such thing as “black tie optional.” “Black tie” designates a formal affair and dark suits are always an acceptable substitute in any case.
Post # 14
I went to a wedding recently with the “I promise to dance if you play…” line included on the response card. I thought it was super cute. Until the reception. The DJ prioritized playing everyone’s requests over ensuring the environment was conducive to a good time. With 100+ requests, there isn’t much time to get everything in. He was playing snippets of songs before moving on to some that were completely not wedding appropriate (not able to be either slow or fast danced to, or just depressing songs). And then, what’s the point? Me and my boyfriend got excited when our request came on, but then it got changed before even the chorus! So, if you do include that, talk it over with your DJ to make sure he/she can incorporate as many requests as possible while still being a good DJ and monitoring the crowd. If you can’t play all the requests, some guests might be upset. It’s a balance.
As far as the dress code, I think that’s better suited for the bottom corner of the invitation. If they send back the card, they won’t be able to look at the invitation as they pack or get ready, and they’d probably forget that detail. Some people won’t look at your website at all.
As a vegan, I think that’s great that you are asking your vegetarian guests directly about their preferences. However, you also need to be aware that some people’s guests might be vegetarian. You’d need to either ask the invited person beforehand if their guest is a vegetarian, or be prepared for people to show up and ask for a vegetarian meal, especially if the only option is steak. I know lots of people who don’t like red meat, even if they are meat eaters. If it doesn’t increase the cost to you, I’d offer another choice.
Post # 15
Oh, and as far as finding out guest names, you can address the invitation to “Ms. Invited Person and guest” and expect them to write the guest’s name on the response card. If they don’t, call them and get the name.
However, I believe the traditional etiquette method would be to call the invited person and get the name and address of their guest, and mail them an invitation of their own. That’s what I plan to do.