This time of year Paper Passionista is in invitation consultation after consultation with wonderful clients here in the Pacific Northwest, and we continually enter discussions about what the magic answer is for getting guests to RSVP, in a timely manner - if at all - for weddings. Take this beyond weddings...it's just plain TOUGH to get people to send a response back for any kind of event here in the beautiful PNW and I find myself asking...WHY?????
In other parts of the country - New England states being a perfect example - it seems that people there have been raised with certain etiquette and protocol practices ingrained in them. A response card there might simply be a mostly blank card with as little as "Your response please" printed at the top of the card. This works as the trigger for those invited to weddings and events to quickly jot a note to the host of the event, letting them know whether they will be in attendance at the soiree. This action takes maybe what....3 minutes to jot a line or two saying "we'll be there", or "no, so very sorry but we'll be with Martha in the Hamptons that weekend". Then this gets sent back in the pre-addressed pre-stamped envelope provided in the envelope. Easy, right?
Not so easy for us here in the PNW, apparently. Stationery designers have gone out of their way to concoct many creative ways to gather information from those with wayward etiquette practices. So now there are words printed for you with a simple box or line next to words like "Accept with pleasure" or "Decline with Regret". Maybe above that there is a line asking that you simply write in the names of the guests who will be in attendance. And if, heaven forbid, your host is being so kind as to offer you a choice for your entree, it might ask you to let them know whether you prefer chicken or beef. Vegetarian? Just say so! But do you think making it this easy so our invited guests could simply check a box, write a name and initials and send back the card would be the answer? In far too many cases the answer is "NOOOOOOO!!!!!!" Sometimes wedding and party hosts think they'll make it even easier and allow you to email your responses, but it still doesn't happen.
Even in the special events industry, of which I'm a part, it is very difficult to get invitees to respond to event invitations. Really?
If you find yourself resembling the individuals of whom I speak I'm hoping that maybe today you can re-examine your RSVP practices. How about a mid-year resolution to blaze a new trail and try a new behavior? The next time you get an invitation I hope you will challenge yourself to take the 2-3 minutes it takes to respond to the invitation there and then. You know you love a good party - so let your host know you're coming!
(P.S. This was not written because I have been sending out invitations to anything recently myself. It's purely just in response to all the clients I have who desperately want to hear from you. Thanks!)