RSVP Best Practice – guest lists and invitations

Your entire event hinges on the response to your invitation, so it’s crucial to get it right. The most important thing at this stage, of course, is your guest list. Your guest list will be influenced by considerations of budget and type of event. When it comes to guest list management, you’ll need to address the following factors:

  • Who are the most important people to invite? Will there be guests of honour? Who are you obliged to invite?
  • Will there be a “Plus One”? If it’s a business event, will guests be allowed to bring a colleague? If it’s a social event, can guests bring their spouse or partner?
  • Will it be a closed guest list? The RSVP agency’s online registration service allows for guests to invite guests of their own – this is handy to ensure that no one goes uninvited or feels left out. If it’s “Invitation Only”, be sure to state as such on the invitation, otherwise there’s room for guests to assume that the invitation is extendable.

The invitation

This is where a first impression of the event is created in the mind of the potential guest, so it’s extremely important to make sure your invitation has the right impact. Part of The RSVP Agency’s service is invitation design – we have a number of templates that can easily be adapted to suit just about any occasion. Our invitation service is also flexible enough to work with any designer you choose – giving you, as the event planner, complete control over the visual aspects of your invitation.

To create a great first impression, you’ll be considering things like:

  • Should the invitation be printed and mailed? Would it be better to have an electronic invitation?
  • How can the theme of the event be portrayed through the invitation?
  • What visual elements can be used to entice recipients to respond, think about what images to use, content to include or attention-grabbing heading to incorporate into the design.
  • Does the invitation require a map?
  • What tone do you want the invitation copy to express?
  • Who is the invitation coming from i.e. what name appears in the recipient’s inbox? A professional RSVP service allows you to personalise the name that appears in the recipient’s inbox.
  • Include vital information that will attract guests, such as entertainment, guest speakers, giveaways etc

Print vs. electronic invites

Bear in mind that if your invitations are printed and mailed, that this can be quite costly. They’ll also have to be mailed off at least six weeks before you require your RSVP response, which means that you’ll need to allow for two-three weeks before that for design and printing to take place. Electronic invites are far easier and definitely more cost-effective. They’re less time-consuming and they also give your guests the added benefit of convenience for returning their RSVP.

Electronic invitations also make it easier for you to have graphics on your invitation, regardless of whether they’re full-colour or greyscale, without affecting the price of the end-product. What you need to consider when sending email invitations is the bounce rate – sometimes images are rejected by the recipient’s server, so a balance of text and images is important.

Invitation wording: practical pointers

  • Ensure that you have the correct spelling of all your guests’ names. If you’re unsure, call to double-check – the effort shows.
  • If the event is formal, keep the wording of the invite formal. Obviously if the event is casual, the wording can follow suit.
  • When it comes to the date and time, use a font that’s legible and spell out the actual date and time. Make sure the time/date format you use doesn’t leave room for confusion. Ensure that it’s Saturday 22 May 2013 at 4:30pm and not 22-05-2013 at 16:30 – this will force people to consult their calendars to figure out what day, date and time the event is – which also means that there’s a possibility that they will get it wrong.
  • When it comes to the venue address, make sure that you include as much information as possible – a full address, including street numbers, to avoid guests getting lost. Include GPS co-ordinates and a map, if the venue is lesser known.

If you’re looking for help on exactly how to word your invitation – copywriting is just another aspect of The RSVP Agency’s service. We’ll make sure that the words match your beautiful invitation design, and that guests get exactly the right message from reading your invitation. For more best practices and professional RSVP offerings, contact us for a demo.