In this article, I’ll look at why many couples are opting to collect their wedding RSVPs online. I’ll also take an in-depth look at withjoy.com, a wedding planning website with one of the most robust online RSVP systems available — all for free I might add!
Getting your wedding invitations prepped? Whether you’re sending digital or paper invites, now is the time to consider how you want your guests to RSVP for the big day. This will have a big impact on your wedding planning down the road, so it’s important to know your options and choose wisely.
Let’s dive into why online wedding RSVPs are the way to go and take a closer look at Joy’s slick system.
Please note: This is a sponsored post from WithJoy.com
Why Choose Online Wedding RSVPs
Tradition has long held paper RSVP replies in high esteem, but the tides are turning.
Why? Because almost everyone has access to the Internet in 2020 and online wedding planning platforms are becoming much more sophisticated. As a result, engaged couples are willing to embrace new traditions, especially if it makes planning a bit easier! There are plenty of reasons to opt for online wedding RSVPs, here are some of the key ones.
1. No Need to Manually Track Numbers
Whether you’ve hired a wedding planner or are going it alone, an online wedding RSVP system makes planning that much easier. Importantly, you won’t have to manually keep track of each RSVP you recieve or take a count at the end (yay technology!). This is especially helpful if you’re trying to keep track of multiple wedding events, such as the rehearsal dinner, ceremony, reception, gift-opening, etc.
2. Ask All the Questions You Want
One of the big downsides of paper replies is that space is limited. You only have so much room to ask questions, and guests only have so much room for answers. As a result, most paper replies limit the questions to attendance and meal selection.
By comparison, Withjoy.com allows you to ask as many questions as you wish and customize the wording of both questions and answers. Notably, not all online RSVP systems have this feature, so make sure you know what you’re getting before you commit time and energy.
This is the perfect opportunity to get your guests involved in your wedding and inject your unique personality. Ask them to share their favorite dance songs, or suggest questions for the shoe game (tip: let one of your wedding party crew review these suggestions).
While you’re at it, make the wording as fancy, casual, or quirky as you wish and give your guests a hint of what to expect on your big day!
If you’re having a destination wedding, this feature becomes even more valuable, as Erica Cheung, Product Manager at Joy explains: “Couples that are having destination weddings tend to be the most detailed with their RSVP questions, as they need the most information from their guests for planning purposes. Frequent questions we see asked for destination weddings including arrival and departure dates and times, if guests want to be connected with other guests to book Airbnb houses, if guests need airport pickup and dropoff, and if guests have any requests or needs not covered by the wedding website.”
3. Unexpected Guests Be Gone
Gone are the days when family friend Gertrude could simply add the names of her univited adult kids to your carefully-considered guest list. With their smartly-designed online RSVP system, Joy lets you control exactly who can RSVP and for how many people. This will curb any assumptions guests might have about who is actually invited to your wedding and hopefully avoid awkward conversations down the road.
4. Save Money and Create Less Waste
Any time you choose digital stationery over a print option, you’ll save money and create less paper waste. Even if you choose to go with print invitations, an online RSVP will still cut down costs and waste.
Instead of enclosing a print reply card and stamped envelope with each invitation, simply direct guests to RSVP for your wedding online. Save the cost of postage and reply cards, as every dollar saved (or spent!) adds up when you’re planning a wedding.
5. RSVP for Multiple Events
One of my absolute favorite features of Joy’s online RSVP platform is the ability to create multiple wedding events and have your guests respond to each one they’re invited to. Trust me when I tell you that this will save you A LOT of time. As well, it becomes much easier to keep track of all your wedding events – the bridal shower, rehearsal dinner, wedding breakfast, the ceremony, reception, and more.
I dig into this feature in more detail below, so keep reading.
6. Can’t Get Lost
I don’t know about you, but I’ve been guilty of losing a wedding RSVP card before I could send it back!
With paper reply cards, there are so many points at which they can get lost – in the post, at home, or even after you’ve received them back. An online RSVP platform eliminates these worries altogether.
7. Less Forgetting
Let’s be honest, you’re still going to have to wrangle a few guests to respond whether you go with a digital or paper RSVP. An online wedding RSVP platform, however, allows you to easily send a nudge to any late responders with a non-intrusive email notifcation.
8. They’ll Visit Your Wedding Website
These days many engaged couples have their own wedding website. And why not? With free design platforms it’s super easy to create a central ‘wedsite’ where you can share your love story, introduce your wedding party, and provide all the pertinent details about your big day.
Take the time to craft clever bios of your bridesmaids, select your favorite engagement photos, and create a masterpiece. The online wedding RSVP route means at least one guest from every household should land on your site. And, of course, they’ll be so impressed they’ll make sure everyone else in their party checks it out!
9. Convenient and Helpful
I’ve alluded to it above, but I can’t emphasize enough that an online wedding RSVP system is going to make guest management super easy and convenient.
Inviting out-of-country guests to your big day? No need to worry about sourcing international stamps for the reply envelopes.
Adding an extra event to your celebrations? Simply send out an update to your guests via email and ask them to RSVP to it online. Don’t have every guest’s postal address or email address? No problem – if you go with digital invites and RSVPs, you’ll only need the email address of one person per household.
Tip: Be sure to collect your guests’ mailing addressses when they RSVP, so you have the option of sending them a paper thank-you card after the big day!
Customized Online Wedding RSVPs – WITHJOY.com
Now that you’re wholly convinced that collecing wedding RSVPs online is the way to go, let’s dig a bit deeper into what makes Joy’s online RSVP system a unique and smart choice.
The power of Joy’s online RSVP system all starts with its customizable guest list. Once you upload or input your guest list into the platform, you can have all sorts of fun organizing your guests.
First, Joy gives you the option to create labels for your guests. These labels could indicate their role in the wedding (e.g. bridesmaid, family member, etc.), which wedding events you want to invite them to, and so on. The labels will be important when it comes time to create a schedule of events for the wedding.
Within the guest list, you can also organize your guests into households. This is especially handy if you only have the email address for one person in the household. They can RSVP for everyone and add pertinent contact information so future notifications go to each guest. Importantly, even if you send a digital invite to all the guests within a household, you can ensure they don’t double book by limiting the number of RSVPs for that household.
Guest labels help you manage the big day. For example, you can organize your seating chart in the guest list by tagging guests with Table 1, Table 2, etc. In essence, your Joy guest list can act as the central database for all guest and event management.
Tailor Event Schedules
You may not be thinking about the rehearsal dinner or bridal shower quite yet, but chances are your wedding is going to involve more than just the ceremony and reception. And this is where Joy’s RSVP system really shines.
First of all, you can add as many separate events to your wedding schedule as you wish. Don’t fret if you haven’t got everything sorted by the time wedding invitations go out, you can always add or amend RSVPs and update guests via email.
Furthermore, you can add as many questions for each event as you wish. This is an important feature that sets Joy apart from many other platforms, where the number of questions and/or separate events is limited. If you’re hosting a rehearsal dinner and need to confirm the menu beforehand, ask your guests which protein option they want.
And the feature that knocks it out of the park? Joy’s system is set up so each of guest will see a customized schedule of events depending on the events you’ve invited them to via the label feature in the guest list.
You know what this means!?
No one is confused about which events they’re invited to attend. No one feels left out of certain parts of your wedding. OK, that might still happen, but Joy’s customized event schedule should help. And, you can keep track of attendance numbers and other details for each and every wedding event.
Fully-Integrated Wedding Planning Platform
Did you know there are stand-alone online RSVP platforms out there? While I can see a few scenarios where this option would make sense (e.g. you’re a website developer and want to create your own wedding website), for the vast majority of couples, an integrated, full-service wedding planning platform is the best option.
Fortunately, in addition to their mighty impressive online RSVP system, Joy offers everything you could possibly need to announce your wedding and communicate with your guests. They offer free, completely customisable websites, invitations (print or digital), and save the dates. You can also create a one-stop shop for all the registries you’ve signed up with and even help your out-of-town guests book accommodations.
Tie all these features together with online RSVPs and you’ll have some of the key wedding planning elements sorted out in no time.
Help Guests Plan
Your wedding is probably the biggest event you’ll ever host. Make the most of it and treat guests like VIPs by using Joy’s integrated wedding planning system. When a guest RSVPs you can ask any questions that will help plan for this epic celebration, such as:
- Do they have any dietary restrictions?
- Do they need transportation to and from the wedding?
- Do they need child care?
Another great feature is that guests don’t have to leave your wedding site to find hotel accommodations, thanks to an embedded booking assistant feature. Of course, you can add other important details and suggestions to your website like:
- nearby airports;
- car rental agencies;
- restaurants you recommend; and
- other attractions guests may want to partake
In short, Joy can help make sure that guests’ every need is looked after through both the RSVP itself and your stellar wedding website.
Organize Like Never Before
A savvy online RSVP system may morph you into a master planner, if you weren’t already one! At least that’s what the folks at Joy have observed from the innovative ways couples are using the platform to plan their big day. Erica Cheung notes:
“Since couples can set specific RSVP questions to only be visible to certain guests, we see couples get very detailed with the types of wedding events they include RSVP questions for, rather than only including the main wedding festivities.
“Couples are creating detailed wedding day timelines, including items like the wedding rehearsal, the meetup time to get ready on the wedding day, when each bridesmaid is getting hair and makeup done, when to be at the wedding venue, and when the wedding party photos are taking place, and creating custom RSVP questions for each event on the timeline, visible only to the wedding party. This way everyone that needs the details has them handy.”
Another neat feature of Joy is their mobile app, which has the ability to send push notifications to your guests’ mobile phones. Again, the notifications are tied to each guest’s customised events. So, you could set up a notification to remind those guests that indicated they need transport to/from the hotel that the shuttle is leaving in 15 minutes. Or you could set notifications to remind the groomsmen that it’s time to get the groom to the location of your first look.
All this is possible thanks to Joy’s unique capability to customize event schedules for each and every guest.
Online Wedding RSVP Tips
Ready to prep your online wedding RSVPs? Here are a few key tips to keep in mind.
Do a Trial Run
I’m a big fan of trial runs when it comes to wedding planning. This goes for everything from makeup and hair to an online RSVP. Once you have your guest list and RSVP questions set up, test things out by sending the RSVP to yourself, a couple of your bridesmaids, or a couple of close family members. That way you can check that they are seeing their customized event schedule on the website and that you haven’t missed any obvious questions for the RSVP.
Don’t agonize if you do miss a question or two, you can always add these at a later date and notify guests to update their RSVP.
Phone or Paper Option
If you have a handful of guests that simply aren’t familiar with the digital world, consider adding a phone number or paper reply option to their invitations. You’ll have to manually add these responses to the online system, but if you’re only providing the phone/paper reply to a small selection of guests, it shouldn’t be too time-consuming. And that’s the key – make sure you don’t give the phone/paper RSVP option to all your guests.
Don’t Go Overboard
As tempting as it may be, don’t go overboard with your RSVPs just because you can. Absolutely, I encourage you to use the customization features noted above to make your wedding planning and guest management a breeze! Just try not to bog down guests’ RSVP experience by asking complex or unnecessary questions.
Tip: Always ask RSVP questions in order of importance. Guests are more likely to skip questions the further along in filling out the RSVP.
Make the Most of Your Wedding Website
When guests go to your ‘wedsite’ to RSVP, they are probably going to poke around. Surprise them by infusing the website with your personalities via fun photos, a romantic how we met’ story, or quirky weddy party bios. Add a sneak peek at what they can expect from your wedding day.
Be sure to include information about the wedding as well. Personally, I love an FAQ-style page to address key items (eg. parking, dress attire, etc.) and those more sensitive topics such as whether it’s a no children event, whether outside alcohol is permitted, and so on.
Withjoy.com’s wedding planning platform makes is super easy to create a completely customized ‘wedsite’. Choose from a large selection of themes, layouts, and fonts.
This is a great time to explore if you want to brand your wedding. While that may sound uber-corporate, let me assure you it’s not. Branding your wedding is all about creating a cohesive vibe and experience that reflects you and your beau’s values and interests. For more insight, check out our Complete Guide to Branding Your Wedding in 9 Easy Steps.
Now that you have a greater understanding of how valuable an online RSVP platform can be for planning your wedding, I encourage you to check out withjoy.com. Their RSVP options go above and beyond what is currently offered by most of the popular wedding planning platforms available. And with a pricetag of $0 (aka FREE), you really can’t go wrong.