How To Word Wedding RSVP Card for Multiple Events

Hello, I’m having a destination wedding in South America in December, and we’re having multiple events as follows:

(1) welcome cocktail on Wednesday
(2) excursion to the islands on Thursday
(3) rehearsal dinner on Thursday night
(4) ceremony followed by reception on Friday.

I already sent out invitations and RSVPs to my guests, but I realize that i made a mistake: the RSVP simply said “will/will not attend the wedding”. It did not ask what events each person/family will attend. So I’m going to have to re-send RSVPs, and I’m wondering how to do it. Can i just list the events on 1 card and ask them to check if they will attend or not, and to list the names of the people attending? Or should I send a separate RSVP card for each event? i will only be sending the 2nd round of RSVPs to the guests who have already RSVP’d that they WILL be coming to the wedding, so I’m not planning on listing the Ceremony and reception again (only the cocktail, excursion and rehearsal dinner). Second issue: i would like to tell people that WE will be paying for:

(1) first 2 cocktails at the welcome cocktail
(2) the excursion to the islands
(3) rehearsal dinner.

How do i do this? I’d like a cute and effective way of saying it, that is not offensive.
I need to know how to arrange this on a card. thanks! Caroll

Jodi R R Smith, The Mannersmith Etiquette Consulting
Author, The Etiquette Book, A Complete Guide To Modern Manners

Congratulations on your upcoming wedding! Since the formal invitations have already been sent, I recommend something more techno-friendly. As you receive positive responses, have a carefully worded email ready to send. Something along the lines of “Bobby and I are thrilled you will be joining us in South America as we begin our lives together. We have a full agenda planning. While we would love for you to attend everything, you are not obligated. There will be cocktails on Wednesday, touring on Thursday, dinner Thursday night and our ceremony followed by a celebration on Friday. So that we can properly plan and prepare, please R.S.V.P. as soon as possible with the following information:
Wednesday Welcome Cocktails (yes/no)
Island Touring Thursday (yes/no)
Rehearsal Dinner Thursday (yes/no)
We look forward to seeing everyone on Friday.”

You may also choose to send separate evites for each event. Just be sure to hide the guest list! As for the cocktails on Wednesday, wait to see how many people plan to join you before deciding what limits you will place. For an event you are hosting, your guests should never need to open their wallets.

I wish you all the best.


Thank you for your suggestions!

I already did this electronically and have been having issues. I already have a clear idea of who’s coming to the wedding (about 100 people), however, 50% of the guests live in the US and the other 50% live in Colombia, South America. So I put an “RSVP” page on my website, and sent all my Colombian guests a message on Facebook asking them to RSVP via my website so that I know which events they will be attending. A lot of my guests have not responded. Maybe they are not sure yet, or maybe they don’t have access to internet, or they don’t know how to navigate my website. In any case, it hasn’t been very successful. So I thought that if my guests received something that they are responsible for mailing back, then they would ALL respond.

On the money issue, I wanted to make it clear to my Colombian guests that we’ll be paying because their customs are different and it seems to me like they don’t know who’s paying for what. For example: If I say to an American that we’re having a rehearsal dinner, they will all assume we’re paying. But for Colombians, when I say “dinner” (I don’t believe they have the tradition of a “rehearsal dinner”) they are not sure if we’re paying. So I wanted to make it clear.

Although we have a trip to the islands on the agenda, it was not something that was in our budget to pay for ($100 per head), so we are giving it as an option for those who want to attend. However, we’re considering paying for the Colombian guests, because they are the ones financially unable to go, and they are all family members, so we wanted to be with them on that day. So I thought I should be clear about this on the RSVP. Any thoughts?

Donna, Wedding Queen, President; Top Wedding Sites, Inc®, a wedding planning guide, and Recent Mother of the Groom –

I just want to point out that paying for some things, for some guests, really isn’t fair or polite. I wouldn’t post this in writing anywhere for fear of insulting either guest (those who can pay may feel slighted, and those who can’t pay may be embarrassed). Again, only mention the activities for which you are paying. I don’t see any polite way to make mention of activities for which a guest would have to pay for themselves. Maybe one of the other experts has an idea for how to do this politely?

Sending the RSVP in writing won’t assure a response. I’d send a reminder email, with instructions if you feel that would help, and then after the RSVP cut off date, call every guest who has not replied.

Rebecca Black, Etiquette By Rebecca

I agree. If you are listing an activity, you are inviting, which means you are paying. So, if you don’t intend to pay, it is best not to mention it at all. Plus, if you were to pay for some, others just might find out and be very insulted, especially with all the other travel related costs they will incur to attend your wedding.