As we continue to look at the impact the digital age has had on the printing industry, it is not a surprise that customers nowadays are opting to use electronic formats in combination with printed options to communicate with their guests. In all the changes we have seen over the years, the omission of response cards has been the biggest. Here are my thoughts on letting the traditional response set go.
Omitting the reply card for the invitation ensemble does generate a savings on postage and the cost of the cards themselves. This does seem to be a priority for many of our customers. But there are a few very important points to consider before moving ahead with this option.
First of all, carefully review your guest list and try to determine how your guests are going to want to reply to your event. This isn’t an easy task in this day and age. We are in the middle of two generations right now. The younger generation is used to communicating by email and phone. A reply by email, phone or text is more the norm. Checking the mail is not an everyday occurrence for the younger generation. But those from an older generation expect to send a more formal response through the mail.
Another thing to remember when you opt to use an email or phone reply is that it can be very timing consuming. Some type of courteous reply to the email is expected and phone calls can take time. I have heard two sides from customers. I had a father ordering Bar Mitzvah invitations just last week tell me how excited he was to hear from all of his relatives via the response cards, especially those that couldn’t make it. On the other hand, I have had other customers tell me they simply didn’t want to talk to that many friends and family during such a busy time. So the time factor involved in receiving responses by email or phone really does need to be contemplated.
One more consideration, especially if you are planning a larger event, is the ability to track your responses. Dealing with numerous emails and phones can be overwhelming especially while planning a large event. Emails and phone messages regarding responses may be vague as well. For example, if you have invited a family of five to your wedding and your friend leaves you a message saying “we” will be there, that can require some guesswork. “We” can apply to just her and her husband or the entire family. When customers reply using an actual reply card, they tend to be more specific about who and how many will be attending.
Is there anything wrong with asking your guests to reply by email, text or phone? Well, if you want to stick closely to the rules of etiquette, then you will want to order the response card set and include it with the invitation. Many find it acceptable to use the corner copy of an invitation for reply instructions. In most cases, the decision to add the reply information to the invitation or reception card really depends on the look and layout of the chosen invitation. Many invitations just cannot accommodate additional information such as reply information and it’s important not to try to “make it fit”. It deters from the overall appearance of the invitation.
Ultimately, we have so many more options to choose from when it comes to invitations due to the digital age and the e-options available. We are seeing less emphasis on the etiquette rules and more focus on practicality. When asked for advice, our hope is that we can advise our customers on all the options, educate them on etiquette and tradition, and help determine the pros and cons.