Extraordinary Days Require Exceptional Invitations

Response Cards

Mailed the invitations? Here you go on that rollercoaster of waiting for the response cards. That is always an exciting time. So much fun anticipating the mail each day!


  • Resopnse cards are often called R.S.V.P cards. R.S.V.P stands for “RĂ©pondez s’il vous plaĂ®t”, which means “please reply” in French.
  • Through the response card, your guests let you know whether they are coming. This card may also be essential for your caterer, as it includes a notice about the guest’s food preference.
  • So, include a self-addressed envelope with your invitation. Put a stamp on the R.S.V.P. envelopes, it is considered a common courtesy.
  • The Doc tries to attend every simcha she is invited to, even if it being held in a distant location. “It is such an honor”, she says, “and I must show my appreciation. It is a pleasure!”.

The response card’s text

  • Here are two examples of how response card wording it may look like:
    We look forward to celebrating with you
    at The Hyatt Hotel, Bethesda, from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.

    Luncheon following the service
    Name(s) ___________
    ____ Will attend
    ____ Unable to attend

    Please respond on or before July 21, 2006

    Kindly reply by May 18, 2005<
    Luncheon following the service
    Name: ___________
    Attending with pleasure ____
    Regretfully decline ____
    Number of guests ____
  • Doesn’t “Attending with pleasure”, in the second wording example, sound kinder that “will attend”? “We look forward to celebrating with you” is another kind wording. And what about “Regretfully decline”, isn’t it elegant?
  • The “number of guests” field in the response card gives you the opportunity of stopping uninvited guests, or at least you can have a correct guest count!
  • What date should you put on the response card?
    • Dr. Simcha suggests asking for the response cards three weeks prior to the date of the event. Being able to figure out your guest count early is extremely helpful, as there are so many things that cannot be taken care of until you know exactly who is coming. It gives you also some extra time to make those annoying phone calls to the non-responders.
    • But, do not ask for the cards too early, as many people would be unwilling to commit even a month ahead to being around for a weekend.
  • Often meal selections are included in reply cards. Even if you try to avoid this, sometimes you will have no choice and your caterer will make you do it. Don’t agonize over it; there are nice ways to word it. Especially if meal choices sound delicious… Here are two wording examples that you can put at the bottom of your response card:
    Please indicate adult choice of entrĂ©e: 
    __ Filet Mignon
    __ Roast Cornish
    __ Poached Salmon

    Children will be served a special meal

    Adult Menu Options:
    _____ Chicken Piccata ____ Pecan Encrusted
    ____ Salmon
    Teens will have a special buffet
  • The Doctor warns: get ready for a few kids who will check off an adult meal choice, and adults who’ll circle the teen buffet! And some will circle both.

  • Dr. Simcha advice is to include in the response card both your phone number and email address (many people prefer to write a quick email).
  • Another suggestion: ask guests to fill the email address at their response card. You can use it later for sending newsletters or special announcements.

Receiving replies

  • You should be getting back 3-4 response cards a day. It is exciting to open each one to see who replied!
  • A useful tip: number the names on your guest list and put corresponding numbers on the back of the response card, in pencil (or inside the response envelope). When the responses come in, it is much simpler to find the number than the names in the long list of guests that you have.
  • Many people just do not reply by the RSVP date, so don’t forget to call those who haven’t responded by your date. If the reply date has just past and you still have enough time until the event, give it another week – maybe they are on the way to you. Doc remembers still receiving response cards 2 weeks past the date. You probably have better things to do then to make all these phone calls!

“First response” gift

  • It is a custom to give a gift to the person whose response card was received first.
  • Write a note before delivering the invitations about your intention to give a present to the first responder. It will make  those response cards pour-in much quicker!
  • What gift to give? Here are a few ideas:

And now the fun part starts. Sit back and enjoy waiting for the mail to come in.