What goes on my response cards?

The answer to this question is it depends. Are you having a formal or casual celebration? Are you doing a sit down meal or a buffet? Once you make these decisions, be sure to check with your venue and/or caterer to make sure you are collecting all the information they need and by the time they need it.

Below is the basic breakdown of a response card, starting with your request for response.

Request for Response

To start, you'll want to kindly ask for a response from your guests by a specific date. There are a few ways to word this depending on your preference.

The most traditional way, and what is typically used when the wedding is to be held in a place of worship, is:
     The favor of a reply is requested before [date]

The more casual way is:
      Kindly reply before [date]   

Response Deadline

Your response deadline should be three to four weeks before your wedding day. It’s important to check with your caterer as to when they will need your final head count for meal planning. Since you’ll find not all guests will get their responses in on time, add a week or two to that date.

The M-Line or Name(s)

Each response card will include a line for your guests to write their name(s). The “M” signifies the first letter of their salutation (Mr., Mrs., Ms., Miss). Another option is to simply write, "Name(s)." You would be surprised how often people forget to write their name on this line. To help with that issue, I highly recommend numbering your guest list and writing that corresponding number on the back of their response card. With this trick, you can do some simple detective work to figure out whose card it is and to mark them as attending or declining.

Accept or Decline 

Up next is the part you will want to pay the most attention to: will the guest be accepting or declining your invitation? There are a variety of ways to word the options depending on your style. Here are a few:

  • Accepts with pleasure / Declines with regret
  • Gratefully accepts / Regretfully declines
  • Will attend / Will not attend
  • Can’t wait to celebrate / Will celebrate from afar

Number of Guests 

To be extra clear about how many seats you are reserving per household, you can add a line on your response card below the accept/decline line that reads:

  • We have reserved ____ seats in your honor
  • ____ of ____ guest will attend
  • Number of guests attending ____

Make sure you write in the total number of guests invited on the lines for options one and two!

Other Headcount Details

If you are offering transportation to and from the wedding, hosting a farewell brunch the morning after the wedding or a cocktail reception the evening before you can use your response cards to collect this information as well. Below the name line, list out the events that you’ll need a headcount for, an accepts/decline line and a line for them to write in the number of guests.

Meal Choice

This comes into play more when you are having a sit down meal and need to collect each guest’s preference. You can write out the main meal options, just the proteins or use cute icons to indicate the choices. It’s always nice to have a vegetarian option for non-meat eating friends.


Lastly, if you are concerned about guests who may have allergies you can include a line on your response card to ask for this information. To save space, it’s best to ask for this information like so:

“Please note any food allergies or restrictions on the reverse side of the card.”
“Any allergies? Please let us know on the back of this card."

Knowing this ahead of time will help your caterer. The main allergies you need to look out for are shellfish and peanuts. Certain allergies, such as strawberries or dairy, are things the guest can let the wait staff know at the reception as they would at any restaurant.

Pro Tip: No room on the card to include this? Guests with allergies will likely communicate this in some way to you even if you don’t ask!

More questions about what goes on your response cards? Reach out to Kara Anne + Co. by clicking HERE.

Photo Credit: Rob + Kristen Photography