Sending digital wedding invitations can be considered quite modern, and going against typical wedding tradition. However, it can still be very personal, (in some ways more so than a paper invitation), whilst being convenient, cost-effective and eco-friendly.
It also throws up questions for guests, such as how do they reply? At Paperless Wedding we offer a digital RSVP service via the couple’s personally designed wedding website. But how long should guests wait to RSVP online? What is the etiquette for going digital, for the wedding couple and also for the guests.?
Knots and Kisses – Country Garden – Digital Invitation with RSVP via a personal website.
It gives me great pleasure to introduce you to Jo Bryant, who is the UK’s leading expert in Wedding Etiquette. Jo worked at Debrett’s, the arbiters of British etiquette, for over 10 years and has edited 15 books on etiquette and modern manners. So please meet the lady with the answers!
Never before has the art of wedding invitations been so easy! The formal traditions of wedding invitation replies – fountain pen on laid paper, the proper wording in the third person – are now seldom seen as couples embrace the world of digital wedding invitations. Cost-effective, eco-friendly, distinctive and flexible, a paperless wedding is convenient and easy for both guest and host. This modern convenience can, however, create some contemporary etiquette dilemmas all of their own.
Etiquette Dilemma 1: We are disappointed that guests are slow to respond.
Our daily lives are full of instant digital communication. Many of us have more than one email account; we share photos, updates and videos, along with enjoying the speed of instant messaging.
Try to be patient with your guests. While planning your wedding is suddenly an all-consuming pastime, guests need to think about certain logistics (eg check diaries, organise childcare, work out transport etc) before they can reply. A digital invitation doesn’t always mean a digital-speed response.
Dilemma 2: When should guests reply to a digital wedding invitation?
It is not only good manners but also convenient for the hosts, if a guest replies to an invitation in good time. If save-the-dates were sent, you can expect a quicker response as people will be expecting an invitation, should have kept the date free and may have thought about the logistics of attending.
Some guests will love the convenience of a digital wedding invitation and respond immediately, others may take a few days or even weeks. Either way, the RSVP date should be adhered to and preferably replies should be received well before the cut-off date.
Dilemma 3: What wording can we use to encourage a quick response?
It is sensible to include an RSVP date for planning purposes. The formality of the wording can vary according to the tone and style of the invitations and wedding day, but here are some examples:
• RSVP online by 1 June 2017 + weblink
• Please respond by 1 June 2017 by visiting weblink
• Please visit weblink and respond by 1 June 2017
On Paperless Wedding there are options for wedding guests to scroll down and RSVP straight away, or click on a link to view the website for more information.
Dilemma 4: Can we follow-up before the RSVP deadline?
Be patient and practical. Choose a sensible RSVP date, allowing you plenty of time to plan with proper numbers of guests. Although you will be desperate to start finalising numbers and details, chasing guests before the given RSVP date may embarrass them or make them feel unnecessarily unreliable.
Dilemma 5: How do we follow-up with non-responders?
In the first instance, you can try sending a reminder email. Make it personal, casual and friendly, and try to avoid sounding too business-like. For example, you could send a chatty message with other news and include something such as ‘I don’t think we’ve heard from you about our wedding yet – we so hope you can make it’. If an email reminder doesn’t work, you might have to be bold and make an old-fashioned telephone call.
Paperless Wedding’s brilliant system enables couples to send reminders out to only guests who have not RSVP’d, avoiding having to pester people who have already sent their replies.
Jo Bryant is a British etiquette expert and wedding consultant. She works with brides and couples to help them prepare for their wedding day. Jo offers ‘Aisle Style’, personalised bridal image, confidence and deportment workshops, and ‘Wedding Companion’, a flexible, bespoke pay-as-you-go planning support and advisory service.
Described by the Telegraph as an ‘empress of etiquette’, Jo regularly provides expert comment for national newspapers, magazines, television and radio. She was a live commentator on the BBC for the royal wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, and has appeared countless times in the broadcast media, including BBC, ITV and Channel 4 News, BBC Breakfast, CNN, Sky News and BBC Radio 2, 4 and 5 Live. She writes for many newspapers and wedding magazines, and speaks on etiquette and weddings, most recently at Brides the Show and Stylist Live.
A big thank you to Jo for sharing these great tips. To follow Jo on social media you can find her on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook!