The Etiquette of Online Wedding RSVPs
First of all, what is a response card?
The traditional response card is a piece of stationery included with your wedding invitation. The response card is sent in the invitation with its own envelope, which is addressed and pre-stamped by the sender (usually the couple). Recipients then fill out the response cards with their names and meal choices, if applicable, and mail it back to the sender. This is how couples have tracked who is attending the wedding for many, many years but now couples have the option to use an online RSVP service.
How does an online RSVP work?
Anyone can use an online RSVP service. These services are often offered as part of a couple's wedding website for free. Wedding Wire is a popular provider of custom wedding websites, and it provides an online RSVP service as an easy way to track guests' responses. The couple lists a link on the wedding invitation and asks the recipient to visit the link to respond. Responses are easily tracked and organized through an online service, which is extremely beneficial for the couple. Plus, the couple doesn't have to purchase an extra RSVP card to send with their invitations, which saves money.
Why not use an online RSVP service?
There are a few reasons couples don't choose online wedding RSVPs. A traditional wedding invitation ensemble includes a separate response card and some couples don't want to deviate from tradition. Also, there are guests who aren't technology-savvy or don't use computers at all (grandparents, for example). Online RSVPs are not convenient for those guests and couples may shy away from them for that reason.
Is there a compromise?
Couples can choose to use both an online RSVP service and traditional response cards. A response card doesn't have to be sent with every invitation, just the invitations to guests who may prefer a traditional response method. Couples can also list an email address or phone number along with the RSVP website on the wedding invitations. That way, guests can email or call to communicate their attendance rather than being forced to use the online service. This route allows the couple to skip response cards all together yet still give their guests a few options for responding.