Respondez s’ilvous plait? It’s a phrase and a set of initials that every one of us learns as a child on the party invitations you tear off those wonderful notepads. Fast forward to now, and RSVPs are not a thing of the past. They’re incredibly important and are still floating around in their physical form even in this digital age.
The art of the handwritten letter has been mostly limited to birthday cards from Grandma Ethyl, or postcards from Russia that arrive three months after your friend returns from their trip. It’s true that technology has bridged the time gap in the post, and why not? It’s practical, instant, convenient as well as generally easy to use.
Yet despite this virtual evolution from real life to the little screens in our hands, there are those few instances that either thoroughly withstand this movement, or progress so slowly they warrant the traditional form restored; and RSVP’s are at the forefront.
Sending RSVP cards back to their intended host is something most of us do without a blink of an eye. But with everything else virtually enlisted in the events department, how has this remained through time? Even with us replying to events every day on social media, the physical RSVP card is something that is on the invitation checklist, just as important as other details.
Think That’s A Far Fetched Claim?
Attendance is the basis for 80-90% of all the decisions you need to make for an event, especially when it comes to a wedding:
-Your wedding venue is chosen based on its capacity and the length of your guest list
-Your caterer will charge per head
-Your place settings rely on knowing who is coming so you can decide who will sit next to who
-Music choices will vary with the demographic of your guests
-The amount of wedding favours you need to make or order depends on who is attending
See my point? These details all depend on your affirmed guest list, and how do you know who has affirmed your spot? RSVP’s. It’s no wonder they’ve lasted this long on our priority list, they’re just as important as the invitation itself! Starting to backtrack on not having a RSVP card? Quickly work out how to word yours now with our incredibly helpful article.
But Why? Why It’s Elementary My Dear Reader!
It’s particularly interesting that for many events the overall RSVP experience is conducted online: we reply via social media or a personal message. When it comes to weddings, however, they’re a stubborn exception. The vast majority of invitations are physically sent out and physically replied to, and that’s sacrosanct. Why is it refusing the so-called ‘inevitable’ trend of digitisation?
In dissecting the wedding industry, there is one theme that is one of the subtlest yet most standout, and it completely explains this phenomenon: tradition. Tradition is something that can drive change, but it also keeps many things the same.
Hear Ye Hear Ye!
So tradition is what has helped the physical RSVP endure? Why yes, isn’t it obvious? There is nothing quite like receiving an RSVP card with an invitation in the mail. It’s quaint, eloquent and exclusive, which is only highlighted tenfold by its traditional mode of travel. Who doesn’t get excited by a letter (not a bill or bank statement) in the mail, personally addressed to them?!
It’s a very personal thing to send a physical invitation, and to receive a response back. Think back to the era of Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice, when receiving an invitation was an endorsement of one’s social status. When you think about it, it’s not quite as fun logging onto a website and punching in your name and dietary requirement. Making a trip to the post box however, you almost feel like your saving the country’s economic crisis with your little envelope.
Summing it all up, receiving an invitation and a save the date card is still pretty neat. You have one part that you can keep all for yourself, and one you can joyfully send back through that little red box at your local milk bar. Not only is this card physically pleasing to receive and send off, it also pushes you (or your guest, if you’re the inviter) to actually reply. Online RSVP’s easily get lost in someone’s social calendar. In it’s physical form, the guest sees the invitation constantly when they walk past the fridge, and are far more likely to be responded to on time – which is every brides dream.