Napa Valley Wedding “Répondez, S’il Vous Plaît” aka r.s.v.p., y’all

Napa Valley Wedding RSVP

napa valley wedding RSVP

Be warned… parts of this post are NSFW…  

Hi!  I’m Mel and I’ve been with Sasha Souza Events as a Napa Valley Wedding Planner for 16 years and it’s my job to take and sort out all your RSVP’s.  Most everyone is familiar with the acronym RSVP. It’s actually a French term, as quoted in the title, translating to Please Respond.  For a Napa Valley Wedding, you can almost guarantee that it’s also a destination wedding, which mandates a response!

Pretty simple concept, I think.

So, why is it that so many people have such a hard time replying? When you get an invitation in the mail, that includes a reply card with a self-addressed, stamped envelope, or even an email/website, you make a decision and respond, correct?  It takes just a few moments of your time. Some do…right away. So many DO NOT.  Why?

I get it. We live in a fast paced world where our focus is stuck in technology. Because of this, though, our society has lost its grace and courtesy when it comes to this simple request.

Here at Sasha Souza Events, we offer a service of managing guest replies. I’m continually surprised by the disregard guests to show when it comes to filling out a simple form.  Because I’ve pretty much seen it all when it comes to RSVP’s, I’d like to throw out a few tips to those potential guests who can’t seem to keep it together when it comes to this subject. And you can even use your smartphone to help!  I’ll use the acronym WWMD to indicate “What Would Mel Do?”

1. Read the whole invitation and KEEP IT:

Most likely, everything you need to know is there. Or at least there is an URL for a website that will give you updated information. I get so many basic questions about events that could clearly be answered if people took the time to READ. One common question I get is, “I seem to have misplaced my invitation. Can you tell me all the details of the event?”

WWMD: I suggest snapping a picture of the invitation with your smartphone as soon as you open it.

2. Fill out the ENTIRE RSVP card:

If you don’t have an answer, say so. So often people just leave portions blank….and then never follow up, which means the bride/groom/planner has to chase you for answers. We recently did a wedding where 200 guests were invited. I received a total of 3 RSVP cards that weren’t even filled out. No name, no return address…nothing. Awesome, now I have to dust for fingerprints.  I know many couples fill out the back of the RSVP card with a corresponding number, but an even greater number of our clients have the invitation assembled by the stationery designers who send them out on their behalf.. thus skipping this trick.

WWMD: I suggest If you don’t have an answer for something, don’t just leave the space blank. Write in what your intentions are. It’s ok to say that you haven’t chosen your lodging yet, but it tells your host that you intend on staying in the area. In the least, you can write in n/a just so your host knows you have read everything.

 3. The Reply date is REAL:

There is a reply date for a reason. The bride and groom have to give final numbers to vendors and are waiting for YOU to turn those in. This is why they are hunting you down for an answer as soon as that date passes. Honestly, they don’t want to have to pay for your meal, and the chair you will sit in, and the china you will use if you are not going to attend. So, use some courtesy and make a commitment either way.

WWMD: When you receive the invitation, put the R.S.V.P date into your calendar right away. Even better to put in a reminder for 5 days prior just to give yourself a buffer.

4. Be aware of who will see your reply:

The best is when people don’t realize who will be reading their reply card….they think it’s going directly to the couple, so they decide to be “funny”. Just last year I opened up an envelope to find hand-drawn “art” on the Napa Valley wedding RSVP card.  Let’s just say that the art is of a man’s {ahem} and while Sasha thought it looked like a perfume container with flies around it, I knew exactly what it was when I opened it.

So, I forwarded it to the bride who was pretty mortified but still had a sense of humor about it. Her response was to call out the offender on Facebook, with a photo. The awkward part was when the guest actually came looking for me and Sasha at the party, introduced himself as “that guy”, but there was no apology, only pride in his work. Wow. You may want to bookmark this post if you’re writing a book on the top 10 things not to do for a wedding…

 WWMD: Check the address on the reply envelope. If it’s direct to the couple, you’re in the clear. If not, and it’s going to the planner (or worse yet the parents) save your “art” for a personal separate note that goes directly to them.

5. The +1 or Not?:

DO NOT add an uninvited guest. If yours is the only name on the invitation, you are the only one being invited. Most likely, this is not a free for all picnic in a park. Once, we had a family that could not attend an event, but because they thought that the invitation was so nice, they passed it on to another family so that they could go in their place. Did I mention that the RSVP card came back with a nickname and was not completely filled out?  Talk about detective work… Incredible.

WWMD: If you’re not sure, ask first. Don’t just assume that you can bring someone you just met at Starbucks yesterday.

6. I’m Calling You Out, Bridal Party:

Just because you are part of the Bridal Party, doesn’t mean that you get a free Hall Pass to not send in your reply card. 9 times out of 10, there is other info that needs to be gathered such as lodging information, or meal choice. So, please, fill out the card and send it in. That means you too parents.

WWMD: Sometimes, the reason for Bridal Party delay is because they want to keep the invitation in its entirety for their scrapbook. That’s great! You can make a copy of the reply card, fill it out and send that in instead.

All in all, it’s not that difficult to fill out this simple form. When you think about all the time that goes into making events happen, just a few minutes of your time can be something easy to give back. Everyone involved will be happier for it.

Until next time,


Sasha Souza Events is an award winning event planning company considered one of the top event design & wedding coordination companies in the US. Sasha Souza Events has offices in Napa Valley, Sonoma, San Francisco & Los Angeles