Should You Have Your Wedding Guests RSVP Online? Here are the Pros and Cons

wedding rsvp
Are traditional wedding RSVPs a thing of the past?

It wasn’t that long ago that online RSVPs were considered a bit taboo, especially for weddings. But just like with honeymoon and cash wedding registries, that attitude is changing. Wedding planning has largely become an online experience—from virtual wedding dress showrooms and venue tours to ordering cake tastings to try at home, it seems you can do everything online. In fact, you don’t even need to leave your house to attend a wedding anymore! You can watch it all on your computer.

That doesn’t mean that online takes the place of experiencing events in person. Nothing can really measure up to that. But it does mean that the more options you can offer yourself and guests throughout the planning process, the better. We might not live in a total “Jetsons” world yet, but we’re certainly on our way!

With that said, something as simple as online RSVPs don’t actually take away from the traditional wedding experience. Instead, it’s an example of a technology that makes life easier for you and guests. Rather than replacing replacing an experience, you’re enhancing it. Which is something we can definitely get behind.

WGM Says: The term RSVP originated from the old French saying, Répondez s’il vous plaît, which means “Please respond/reply.”

In fact, it could be argued that not having online RSVPs is a bit dated. While I wouldn’t have included online RSVPs back in 2010 when my husband and I got married (mainly because it wasn’t really an option), I would 100% have them today. But what’s the best way to offer online RSVPs? And do you definitely need them? Before we get into the pros and cons of online RSVPs, let’s talk about the sites that we think offer the best options for them.

The Best Online RSVPs for Weddings

Before we get into the list, it helps to clarify how we chose these options. All of the online RSVP tools listed below also offer wedding websites, which is something we highly recommend having. Your wedding website is the best way to keep guest informed not only of all the details for your wedding, but of any changes (like change of dates or location updates) that might happen.

There are so many great website options available that offer online RSVPs (you should definitely read our review of the best wedding websites), so in our opinion it doesn’t make sense not use the same website/rsvp tool for your wedding. Especially considering that all the below options are free, and other options (like RSVPify.com and Blackbirdrsvp.com) are both paid and not really wedding focused, per se. Given that, we’ve decided to include the website builders that we think have the best online RSVP options:

Joy

best online rsvp
Joy’s Guest List and Smart RSVP tools

Cost: Free

When it comes to wedding website builders and tools like guest list managers and online RSVPs, you want to go with a tech-driven company. That’s why Joy consistently tops our list. Their suite of wedding planning tools are always way ahead of the curve, and their Smart RSVP is no exception. While other picks on this list also allow guests to RSVP directly on your wedding website (which is great because that way you won’t need to share multiple urls), it’s what happens on the front and backend of your site that makes Joy really stand out.

Joy’s Smart RSVP allows you to create custom RSVP questions for each guest (such as questions about meal choices, whether or not they need a room block, or song choices). And the RSVP questions are based on conditional logic, so if a guest RSVPs “No,” they won’t receive any additional questions. You can also collect RSVPs for multiple events, and control who sees which invite (all from your desktop or mobile phone). Which means Aunt Tricia would be able to RSVP for the rehearsal dinner, but your co-worker Laura wouldn’t. You can also send bulk messages to guests about event updates, or remind certain slackers that you haven’t received their RSVP yet (we’re looking at you, Cousin Frank.) Once you get your RSVPs you can export them to vendors, so all your event planning information is in one place.

WGM Says: Want to be even more tech savvy? Create a QR code for your RSVP card to allow guests easy access to your wedding website. You can upload it to your paper RSVP as an image, and guests can simply scan it to access the url.

Zola

online rsvp
A look at Zola’s RSVP/guest list manager

Cost: Free

Zola is another online RSVP tool that made our list, mostly because we love their functionality and wedding registry products. And now that they offer wedding invites you can easily address your envelopes right from your guest list, too. Not using their wedding registry or invites? You can still sign up for their free wedding website and guest list manager for a stress-free rsvp experience.

The Knot

online rsvp
The Knot’s RSVP tool

Cost: Free

The Knot is a great resource for not only wedding planning information, but they have all the tools you need to plan your wedding in one place. While they offer many of the same tools as Wedding Wire (such as a Budgeter, Checklist, and Vendor Manager) and can be a little glitchy at times, they slightly edge them out because their app/website tools are a bit more updated/user-friendly.

The Pros and Cons of Online RSVPs

First, let’s talk about the pros:

You can save money.

RSVP cards tend to cost around $1.20-$1.50+/each (plus free envelopes). But you also have to factor in the cost of postage for each. (The current rates are $0.58 for a standard envelope and $0.40 for a postcard). If you’re mailing 100 invites with RSVP cards, you could spend close to $200 on RSVP cards alone.

They’re easier to manage.

If you ask guests to RSVP you won’t have to worry about bad handwriting and blank RSVP cards (yes, these happen!). When someone RSVPs online you’ll likely know exactly who it is. While you might still have to chase down stragglers who missed the RSVP date, it’s easier to RSVP online than to fill out a card and put it in the mail.

It helps keep your guest list on track.

If you go with a tech-driven online RSVP tool (like the ones we mentioned above), you have the flexibility to gather information that traditional RSVP cards just can’t do. For instance, you can create custom questions (such as meal choices and song requests), and have guests RSVP to multiple events (like your rehearsal dinner or bachelorette party). Then you can see the results in real-time, rather than waiting for the post office to deliver them to you.

Now, let’s mention the cons:

Not all guests will know what to do.

This has become way less of an issue than it was even 5 years ago as online rsvps have become more popular. However you might still have a handful of guests who expect to see a traditional RSVP card. I honestly wouldn’t factor this too much into my decision, as the RSVP enclosure you’ll want to include (more on that below) will provide guests with an alternative way to RSVP if they want to.

It’s not as traditional.

While this might seem like a con, it’s really not as taboo as it once was. I recently spoke to Lizzie Post—etiquette expert and the great, great granddaughter of Emily Post—for our wedding planning e-course. We talked about online RSVPs as well as other wedding etiquette questions. She reminded us that RSVP cards themselves are still relatively new, since back in the day it was proper etiquette to hand-write a letter with your response. So the evolution of the RSVP is natural, and online RSVPs are completely OK in this day and age. Even though an RSVP card was expected even up until a few years ago, not being traditional is not necessarily a bad thing. It’s the future!

WGM Says: Heard of text RSVPs? That’s where you create a custom number to put on your RSVPs instead of a url. For instance, your reply card would say: To RSVP, text #LindsayandCory to 333-333-3333. While that sounds great in theory, many of the services that offer text RSVPs charge a fee, which in our opinion doesn’t seem worth it when you consider how easy (and free) online RSVPs are.

Is online RSVP tacky?

Honestly, not anymore. It’s become a much easier way for guests to RSVP on time, and for you to manage all the responses that come in! Gone are the days of using a blacklight pen to mark each RSVP card in case you received a blank one in the mail. Now you can make sure you know exactly who is RSVP’ing. Bonus? It will also help eliminate any potential confusion around WHO is invited (like children) if guests are unclear based on the invitation. For example, instead of your friend RSVP’ing for themselves as well as a plus one they didn’t get, it becomes clear once they go online that they’re the only guest invited.

How do I set up an online RSVP?

Ideally you’ll start a wedding website with one of our picks, and then from there you can begin working on your guest list online. All of our picks offer clear instructions for managing your guest list as well as tracking RSVPs online.

Do I still need to send a paper card?

If you’re sending paper invites you’ll still want to include an insert with instructions on how to RSVP (in lieu of a traditional RSVP and stamped envelope). It’s also nice to give guests two options for RSVP’ing (especially older guests who aren’t as comfortable online). An example of what to write on a card with two options is:

Kindly reply

on or before May 17, 2023

using our website

withjoy.com/lindsaypluscory

or by phone

(333) 333-3333

Are you using online RSVPs? Let us know in the comments section below!


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