electronic-invitation-and-software.jpgMelanie Rossouw has been working at The RSVP Agency as our in-house designer for the last 10 months. During this time, she has designed more than 20 professional web invitations. Melanie has a major in Interactive Web Design and Development from the Open Window Institute in Gauteng, South Africa. This means that she can design for both web and digital, with the end-user in mind. She is also able to programme, develop and support user-centric, digital products like websites and mobile applications. Yes, she is cool that way.

We thought we would catch up with Melanie briefly for some pointers on how to create winning electronic invitations for corporate clients.

So, Melanie, tell us a bit more about your role at the RSVP Agency:

The RSVP Agency has designed hundreds of electronic invitations over the last four years. As the in-house designer, I am responsible for the design and development of web invitations, name tags for the events, and any collateral items that the event requires – such as booklets, programmes or agendas.

The client generally designs the look and feel of an invitation and then I do adaptive artwork for them by creating the elements required by The RSVP Agency’s software system. I also assist The RSVP Agency with improving the user experience for all of our own digital products.

How do you choose the various design elements for your invitations? What influences your choice of colour, layout, tone, look and feel?

Most of our clients are corporate clients with strict corporate identity (CI) guidelines that they are expected to follow. Before they make contact with us, clients generally have a clear look and feel in mind for their electronic invitations. My job is to blend their CI requirements with the specified artwork or tone. I use the CI guidelines for the specific colours that must be used in the design. I also look at the colours of the company’s logo to see how to incorporate these.

My next step involves an online visit to Shutterstock to search for a good quality image that portrays the right message. I first place the images and then design the layout for the invitation, according to these image placements and the style of fonts I choose.

What do you think are the ideal elements of a winning invitation design?

“Every picture tells a story,” so goes the popular adage. I believe this to be true. Good quality imagery that adequately portrays the message that the client wants to communicate is key for designing great electronic invitations. Good fonts are also important. I use a maximum of two different fonts in the electronic invitations I design. The amount of copy (text and information) included in the design also affects the invitation’s look and feel. Too much copy makes the invitation look too cluttered, and too little copy makes the invitation feel sparse and empty. Designing using different typography also makes for an interesting invitation.

Who have some of your most memorable clients been?

I had the most fun with designing SAMRO’s electronic invitation. Here I had to design an invitation for one of their board dinners. I have a music background, so it was fun to be creative and use various musical elements in the invite. 

If a client were to approach The RSVP Agency for help with design work and creating an electronic invitation, what information, or artwork, would you need from them?

If the client requires us to design the invitation and all of the other elements, we require all of the event information from them – such as the time, date, venue and so forth. If a company has a strict CI guide, we require this from them before the design process begins. This is to ensure that we use the correct fonts and logos in our design. If the CI guide stipulates that we use an unknown font, then we need the fonts from the client and a PNG (an image without a background) hi resolution logo to work from.

The client’s involvement includes guidance on what the electronic invitation’s design, look and feel should be. Our clients have final say on the imagery we  use and the style and tone of the invitation (i.e. comedic versus corporate, or edgy etc.)

And what happens if the client wants to design their own invitations and elements, but use The RSVP Agency software solution to automate their event registration process?

We require the following from these clients to automate and build their electronic invitation:

  • Web invitation – max 600px wide
  • Web headers – max 600px wide, and between 150 – 300px high
  •  Invitation header
  • Accept header
  • Decline header
  • A web footer – max 600px wide and max 150px high

Buttons needed from clients include:

  • Accept
  • Decline
  • Back
  • Next
  • Submit

How many RSVP Agency invitation templates do clients have to choose from for their professional invitation’s design? Do you make custom invitations?

Each event has a custom design, and each event has different requirements and a different message that needs to be communicated. The RSVP Agency has four different demos we normally show clients so that they can see the process and get an idea of what the invitation and all of the electronic invitation elements will look like at the end.

Clients use these completed electronic invitations to communicate to us what they would like their own electronic invitations to look like.

For more information on The RSVP Agency’s Guest List Management Software and invitation design solutions, download our brochure.

Image Credit: www.dojiggy.com


Even if you’ve never given it much thought, the RSVP custom is, in fact, a little more involved than simply asking would-be guests whether they’ll be attending your wedding, cocktail party, golf day, or technical conference… There are, as with everything etiquette-related, rules to follow and expectations to be met.

Equally as important as the invitation design and wording is the RSVP. You can use this as an opportunity to gather more from your guest than a simple attendance indication, such as:

  •  Whether that guest will be bringing a partner
  • What, if any, dietary preferences/allergies that guest might have
  • If that guest is coming from out of town – might they need accommodation or transport to be arranged for them
  • Other event preferences or special needs they might have

Testing and sending your invite

Once the design has been finalised, the copy has been proofed, and you’re sure that you’ve got all the required RSVP fields in your invitation, The RSVP Agency would put the invitation into Test Phase – which is basically the electronic version of a dress rehearsal.

Your invitation should be given a trial run, and it’s at this stage that you’ll pick up any bugs or errors. There’s also opportunity for you, as the event organiser, to suddenly remember that you need to include additional information, or change the venue address – all of which can be done easily and quickly.

Once all the bugs and kinks have been worked out of the invitation, it should be sent to your guest list, via email. The RSVP Agency’s service focuses on high email delivery rates to ensure your mails get through. With 85% of the world’s email classified as spam, The RSVP Agency focuses on meeting global emailing standards to ensure the highest possible delivery rates.

Email invitation responses

With electronic invites, you receive a ‘Bounces and Out Of Office Report’ which tracks invitation bounces and out of office notifications to show the status of guests who have not accepted or declined your invitation yet. Instead of wondering whether they’ll ever respond, you can use the Live Reporting functionality in the RSVP Dashboard to see live stats on Acceptances, Declines, and those who haven’t made up their minds yet.

Our consultants are fully briefed on all event details in case they are asked for details pertaining to specifics around the event. When it comes to the day of your actual event, should you require them, our professional team of hosts and hostesses will ensure your event runs smoothly.Worried that your invite has gone unnoticed in an important guest’s inbox? We have a solution! Our professional consultants call guests that have not yet accepted your electronic invitation, to ask them for their answer.

From the more traditional registration to iPad acceptance and biometrics technology – we’ve got the services you need – and we’re here to help with your event right from the guest list building phase, through to welcoming them at the door. For more best practices and professional RSVP offerings, contact us for a demo.

What is Professional RSVP?

What makes a successful event? Is it champagne and sushi served on silver trays, goody bags, or an upmarket venue? While all of these factors certainly do contribute to an event’s success; something much more important (yet often overlooked) actually makes or breaks an event – how many people attend.

Getting people to attend your event

Enticing the right guests to attend your event is crucial – you don’t just want numbers, but people who are genuinely interested in what you have to offer and who are more likely to become brand advocates. So how do you ensure your email invitations are delivered and opened?

  • Create an initial guest list from your database
  • Invite more than the number of people you expect to attend to accommodate for dropouts. Bear in mind that the dropout rate can range from 40-70%. A good rule of thumb is to over-invite by 40% for paid events and by 60% for free events
  • Scour your contacts on social media sites. Invite anyone amongst your Twitter followers, LinkedIn connections, or Facebook friends/fans whom you may not know personally but with whom you’d like to connect and who you feel might benefit from learning about your brand offering
  • In your communications, emphasise why it’s important or beneficial to attend your event
  • Choose the date, day and time of your event wisely. Take into consideration factors like peak-hour traffic, religious days, sporting events, and time of year.


One of the best ways to up attendance at your event is to correctly manage your RSVPs. At the end of every invitation, you’ll see the letters RSVP – an abbreviation for the French, repondez s’il vous plaît (please reply). This is a polite call to action, asking your invitees to let you know whether or not they’ll be attending your event.

Although it’s etiquette to inform people if you can or cannot attend, unfortunately, in these busy times, it often not top of mind. In fact, in the haze of correspondence they receive on a daily basis, they may forget about your invitation altogether!

That’s why it’s important to manage your RSVPs by following up and getting in touch with invitees to remind them about your event and confirm their attendance. We have come up with the term ‘eventtiquette’ – the RSVP Agency term for event best practices and politeness.

Professional RSVP

Managing RSVPs can be difficult – some people will RSVP by telephone, some in person, some by email, and others via social media networks. Manually pulling all these RSVPs together and placing them into an Excel spreadsheet or writing them up in a notebook is a time-consuming and a labour-intensive chore.

If only there was an easier way!

Fortunately, there is: a web based invitation and event management software platform from The RSVP Agency. The RSVP Agency’s event registration service streamlines the process, maximising your event by ensuring the highest possible guest acceptance rate and freeing up your time so that you can focus your energies on producing the best possible event.

Events management tool

This easy-to use events management tool is an online software system which manages the entire RSVP process, right from save-the-date, to onsite registration. Amongst other things, this professional RSVP service, allows you to create multiple guest lists (for which you can customise communications), personalised invitations, send reminders via email and SMS, automatically integrate the event to attendees’ calendars, and upload and download guest information to a spreadsheet.

Knowing your delegates preferences and needs is critical to successful event planning; and to do this, you need an RSVP system that ensures comprehensive and accurate guest list information that is easily captured during the invitation phase. No event planner should be without this indispensable event management system. Contact The RSVP Agency today to find out more about how you can make RSVPs work for you.