It's a detail that's small but, mighty in the grand scheme of confetti and "I do's." We're talking about wedding invitations -- or really any invitation to any celebration ever. 

Sure, the ink, hand lettering, and envelopes are important. But, the content is what matters most. So grab your best stamps and hold that pinky high. We're diving into the world of RSVP etiquette. 

1. Guest: Respond

RSVP, the abbreviation for the French phrase “respondez s’il vous plait,” means please respond. Responding in a timely manner allows the host to ensure that the appropriate amount of food, beverages, and seating arrangements are all in order. If you don't want to get stuck at the kid's table, or worse, left out of the final count then respond by the date indicated on the invitation. 

 PHOTOGRAPHY |  Matthew Moore

PHOTOGRAPHY | Matthew Moore

2. Host: Build in 'grace'

Let's face it, responding to an RSVP is one of those things we all mean to do but, just seem to always forget. Make sure to mail invites in enough time so that guests can make appropriate arrangements to attend and you (as the host) have enough time to prepare accordingly.

The Rule: wedding invites should be mailed six to eight weeks before the wedding — that gives guests plenty of time to clear their schedules and make travel arrangements. Check in on missing RSVPs about three weeks after invites are sent.

3. Avoid brining uninvited guests (or gifts)

 PHOTOGRAPHY |  Elizabeth Messinia

PHOTOGRAPHY | Elizabeth Messinia

One of the most common wedding frustrations are unexpected/uninvited guests. Guests arriving unexpectedly could mean a shortage of seats, a super cramped dance floor, or (depending on capacity) a fine for the couple. The same can be said for gifts not on the registry. Unsure if you are allowed to bring a plus one? Ask! 

The Rule: couples who are married, engaged, or living together must be invited together, even if you haven’t met your friend’s significant other. After that, it gets a little less clear-cut.

4. Host: "We'd rather not have kids at our wedding." Thoughts?

Kids aren't for everyone and that's totally understandable. If you want a kid-free wedding consider addressing your invitations correctly -- to each guest by name, not “and guest." Also, think about adding in response lines for guests to write in their additional guests. If you notice a guest has responded with their child's name, reach out to them via phone or in person and calmly explain, "We have decided to host an adult-only wedding."  If there are a lot of kids in your family, you may want to consider hiring a babysitter. 

The Rule: It’s your wedding! Have it your way. Let guests know that you’ve opted for an adult-only wedding using one of the tips above.

Remember: Good invitations excite guests, bringing in elements of the bash and all of its wonder. Great invitations, equally excite and inform guests about what is to come. They marvel at your creation, grow excitement for the big day and put down your invattion feeling knowledagble about what, how and where they need to be. 

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