Wedding RSVP cards – do I have to??

vintage birdcage and stamp

RSVP cards.

For many brides, the reply cards that you tuck into your wedding invitations are a necessary evil. The cost of ordering those extra cards, then adding a stamp to each, is something you wish you could do without, but it seems like such a traditional and required part of your wedding stationery. And besides, your guests have to be able to let you know if they are coming to your wedding or not!

Or maybe you really like the extra elegance that a fancy looking reply card adds – and besides, it is kind of exciting when you start getting a few back in the mail every day!

Well, regardless of which side of the RSVP issue you are on, there are many options in today’s wedding world, and one of them is sure to suit you and your guests perfectly. yes, even if you would rather do without reply cards completely.

1. No RSVP cards at all

There are, of course, numerous benefits to not including reply cards with your wedding invitations. It cuts down on costs, obviously, since your invitations will weigh less and you will not have to pay for the additional postage stamps. Also, it means a lot less paper waste for those of you looking for a “green” option. If you’re having an international wedding with guests from more than one country, it is definitely the less complicated option as opposed to figuring out and coordinating postage requirements from foreign countries.

However, you have to consider your guest list also. If you have a lot of older guests, and some who are not very computer literate, you may have a hard time getting responses without something tangible for them to mail back to you. Or, if your guests include family members who prefer to do things the traditional, old-fashioned way, your omitting the RSVP cards completely may feel like a breach of etiquette. It’s up to you to decide how much these considerations will play into your own wedding.

If not sending out reply cards is the right choice for you, you can simply sign up with a wedding website, such as the knot or WeddingWire, where you can set things up to allow your guests to respond online. Then once you have the website address, simply add this to the bottom corner of your invitation. You can also simply provide an email address instead, but then you take the risk of your guests emailing you without including all the relevant information. Finally, add a phone number too so that guests can respond that way if they prefer.

 

2. A Postcard Compromise

If the thought of not sending RSVP cards sounds good to you, but you know there are too many guests who that would not work for, there is a compromise. You can simply include an RSVP postcard with your invitation.

RSVP postcards offer a lot of benefits. For one thing, they are lighter than regular RSVP cards and they also require less postage. In addition, if you look at the example above, you are actually first giving the guests the option of replying online or by phone. So chances are a large number of your guests will do just that. And for those guests who insist that “by mail” is the only way to respond, the postcard is ready for them!

It is up to you if you decide to stamp these postcards or not. Some brides feel that if you leave off the stamp, it will encourage your guests to use the other methods of replying to you. It would also save a lot of wasted postage from the guests that don’t use the cards. But again, this decision is up to you – you may feel it is worth the cost of the postage to make it easier for the guests who will be returning the postcard.

3. Combination invitation and RSVP card

One of the most original options I’ve seen out there is a combination wedding invitation and RSVP card all in one! This is a longer invitation, where a portion of the card is actually a reply card that the guests can cut off and mail back.

For one thing, this invitation eliminates the cost of extra paper weight since you don’t have a separate RSVP card. Since the invitation is customizable, you can easily change the wording to include your wedding website or email address for responses at the bottom of the RSVP section. So there will still most likely be many guests who opt for the convenience of responding online. Finally, this invitation is just really cute and something most of your guests probably haven’t seen before, so they’ll like it too.

4. The Traditional RSVP

So, if after considering all the above you’ve decided that the traditional response card is the choice for you, there are still many options. You can choose to leave the cards as simple or as detailed as you like. Many of the RSVP cards you see will simply have spaces for the guests’ names and number of people attending. However, you can also choose to include a spot for, for instance, your guest’s choice of meals:

If you choose a design that you love, it can actually be a beautiful addition to your whole invitation wedding suite, and can make quite an impression.

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So don’t feel locked into one strict way of doing wedding response cards. As you can see, you have many RSVP choices, and one of them is sure to make the most sense for you.

Here are some more RSVP cards and templates on Zazzle to get you started. But you can try more specific searches, such as “RSVP postcard”, to locate the exact one that is perfect for you and your wedding.

 

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Paris Wedding Invitation Collections

Paris themed wedding invites

Paris is one city with many different sides. Therefore, though your wedding may be Paris themed, you still have a great deal of choice as far as your invitation style. I’ve chosen some of my favorite wedding collections that will be perfect for your Paris wedding, whether you’re heading there for a destination wedding or getting married closer to home. All you have to do is decide which type of Parisian style you prefer.

Each design features at least a wedding invitation and RSVP card, and some designs have even more to choose from such as wedding favors, table number cards, and save the dates. Once you see which wedding invitation design you prefer, just click on it and you’ll go right to the item on Zazzle, one of the most popular and easy to use POD sites. There you’ll find the invitation template and you can enter your own information immediately just to see how it looks!

1. Black and White Eiffel Tower

This first design is elegant and very Parisian – a white background with black French style and Art Deco text, and in the very center of the wording is a black Eiffel Tower image. These invitations are actually quite chic and understated in a very French way. Wedding invitation, save the date, and RSVP card are available.

Black and White French Eiffel Tower Save the Date 5Black and White French Eiffel Tower Save the Date 5″ X 7″ Invitation Card

Black and White French Style Eiffel Tower Wedding 5Black and White French Style Eiffel Tower Wedding 5″ X 7″ Invitation Card

Black and White Elegant French Eiffel Tower RSVP 3.5Black and White Elegant French Eiffel Tower RSVP 3.5″ X 5″ Invitation Card


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2. Vintage Purple Peacock

This next design is great if your Paris wedding also has a purple theme! A purple background is covered with romantic, vintage writing, some elegant white roses, the Eiffel Tower, and of course a peacock feather, highlighted with beautiful faux gold streaks. All of your wedding information goes easily on the back of the card. Besides the wedding invitation, RSVP, and save the date, there are thank you cards, stickers, table numbers and more with this French design so you can customize your whole ceremony.

elegant purple peacock vintage paris wedding postcardelegant purple peacock vintage paris wedding postcard

elegant purple peacock vintage paris wedding postcardelegant purple peacock vintage paris wedding postcard

elegant purple peacock vintage paris wedding 4.25elegant purple peacock vintage paris wedding 4.25″ x 5.5″ invitation card


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3. Simple Elegant Pink and Black Vintage

As soon as you see this design, you can’t help but think French! The invitation has a soft pink background, and a modern vintage style black text. An ornate black circle contains the names of the bride and the groom. This is a simple, elegant choice that perfectly captures the Parisian aesthetic. Wedding invitation and RSVP card is available, plus additional items for the reception such as napkins and plates.

Simple Elegant Pink and Black Vintage Wedding RSVP 3.5Simple Elegant Pink and Black Vintage Wedding RSVP 3.5″ X 5″ Invitation Card

Simple Elegant Pink and Black Vintage Wedding 5Simple Elegant Pink and Black Vintage Wedding 5″ X 7″ Invitation Card

Simple Elegant Pink and Black Vintage Wedding Standard Cocktail NapkinSimple Elegant Pink and Black Vintage Wedding Standard Cocktail Napkin


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4. Gold Vintage Glamour

Finally, here is one more choice for those of you who want French style without necessarily showing off the Eiffel Tower or other typical symbols on your invitations. This gold vintage glam style features a champagne gold colored decorative border, and decorates a plain white background (though you can change to pearl shimmer cardstock to enhance the metallic look if you wish). Your wedding information is in fancy, gold colored text. These will also fit perfectly into the rest of your Paris theme. Wedding invitation, RSVP, and save the date cards are available, and in addition there are numerous matching accessories such as labels, table cards, postage, menu cards and more.

Wedding Invitations | Gold Vintage Glamour 5Wedding Invitations | Gold Vintage Glamour 5″ X 7″ Invitation Card

Wedding RSVP Card | Gold Vintage Glamour 3.5Wedding RSVP Card | Gold Vintage Glamour 3.5″ X 5″ Invitation Card

Wedding Save the Date Cards | Gold Vintage Glamour 4.25Wedding Save the Date Cards | Gold Vintage Glamour 4.25″ X 5.5″ Invitation Card


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Hopefully one or more of these invitations caught your eye! If you’re still looking, though, we have a special curated section of Paris theme wedding invitations to choose from right here in our shop, so please head over and look around! No matter what kind of Paris style you have, chances are good you’ll find something there you absolutely love.

 

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French Wedding Traditions

Traditional French Wedding Details

For many of us (myself included), when we think about a Paris style wedding, we think about including things such as Eiffel Tower favors, pretty pink striped fabric, and lots of soft pink flowers. Vintage lace and even French macarons.

Yet the truth is that what we picture as a typical French wedding is often quite different from the way things are done in an actual, traditional wedding in Paris, France. Although brides there are starting to interpret many of these traditions in a more updated way, and even sometimes adapting American and English traditions, there are several traditional details that are usually part of a French wedding. I thought it was interesting to read about them, and perhaps one or more of these details will make it into your own wedding!

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First of all, just about all the decorations are white. Flowers (which are more often than not, roses), the wedding gown, any ribbons or decorations would have white as the prevailing theme. And speaking of the wedding dress, the traditional French style would be white or off-white silk. Usually the dress will be simple and elegant, not covered in lace or lots of beads. The bride does wear a veil.

At the ceremony, there are no bridesmaids or best men – instead, there are witnesses, or les temoins. These are friends and family members selected by the bride and groom, and they typically can wear anything they choose. There are, however, something similar to flower boys and girls. These children are called les enfants d’honneur and they do simple things to help, like sprinkling petals on the ground, holding the rings, or helping the bride with her train.

The groom walks his mother down the aisle first, before the bride enters. There is a silk canopy that the bride and groom stand under for their final blessing. Then, when the couple leave the church after the ceremony, people throw rice, petals, or even wheat in some cases.

After the ceremony, but before the actual reception and sit down dinner, there is something called the le vin d’honneur. This is a sort of mini-reception where some of the guests who aren’t invited to the later reception are able to visit and give their best wishes to the newlyweds – usually this will include people like co-workers, friends of friends, and others the couple may not be super close to. Drinks will be served (wine, Kir Royale, juice) as well as finger foods.

the Wedding Dance

Now continuing on to the French wedding reception, you will find more differences. For one thing, the first dance is not a dance between the bride and groom as it is in the United States. Rather, the first dance is a father-daughter waltz.

Just as in the weddings you may be familiar with, guests are typically assigned to a table where a name tag is waiting for them. Guests will also receive a wedding favor – traditionally, dragees are common. These are sugared or chocolate covered almonds, symbolizing both the bitterness and the sweetness of love. Today you will find more and more choices offered instead of these dragees, but this is what one tends to think of as traditional.

croquembouche

Drinks may often be limited to wine and champagne, plus coffee of course, and all alcohol is normally free rather than having a cash bar. The wedding cake was one of the most surprising differences for me personally. Unlike the white, layered, tower cakes I always think of, most French weddings serve something called croquembouche. This means “crisp in the mouth” and is a tall pyramid of creme-filled pastry puffs (or profiterles) covered in a caramel glaze. They can be decorated with real flowers, fruit, or even sparklers, believe it or not! If you are curious, here is a recipe for croquembouche just to give you a better idea of what it’s like.

When it is time for the wedding toast, the bride and groom invoke an old French custom and drink from the coupe de mariage. This is a two-handled, engraved cup the couple drinks their toast from. Later, this is passed on to future generations, so the cup the bride and groom are drinking from is likely to be very old and meaningful.

Finally, don’t expect the party to end very early. Usually the dinners go on for hours. There is plenty of dancing, a DJ, entertainment, and by the time all is said and done the ceremony probably won’t end much before 4:00 in the morning! But you won’t be sent home without a warm bowl of French onion soup, served to guests before they leave.

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Of course, none of these details will be the same in every wedding held in France, but they are things that are common enough to be generally accepted as traditional. You may want to adopt some of these details into your own wedding – can you imagine your guests’ surprise and delight if a big croquembouche was wheeled out to them? You can also get some little French candy dishes, put a piece of tulle inside, and fill with sugared almonds for a true Paris style favor. If you are planning for your wedding, you may just want to add some of these authentic French details.

 

“Croquembouche wedding cake” by Eric Baker – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Croquembouche_wedding_cake.jpg#/media/File:Croquembouche_wedding_cake.jpg

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Should we get married in Paris?

Should we get married in Paris?

There’s no doubt about it, Paris is a magical place.

Who wouldn’t want to be in the midst of the romance of this beautiful city on their wedding day? Perhaps you’ve even been entertaining the idea of having your own dream destination wedding there! Well, as wonderful as a Parisian wedding can be, there are some important points to consider first.

1. Residency and Documentation Requirements for Foreigners

It is incredibly difficult for a foreigner to get married in a legal, civil ceremony in France. For one thing, one spouse must first reside in the county for 40 days (or else your parents must live there). There is also some very specific paperwork that you must fill out. (Official requirements are here for residents of the United States, here for residents of the UK, and here for residents of Canada.)

Therefore, it’s much more common for couples to first perform a civil ceremony at home, and then travel to Paris for a religious or symbolic service afterwards. You’ll still get the chance to wear a beautiful dress and hold hands with your groom in the midst of the beauty of Paris (and end up with some incredible photographs), but without the residency woes.

2. The Language Problem

If you don’t speak French, consider the fact that your initial correspondence with vendors, churches, and planners will probably have to be done through translated emails. There will likely be a decent amount of communication needed up front just to find out costs, available dates, and so on. Unfortunately it is sometimes hard to even get an initial reply at all, so you will have to be able to keep on top of things if necessary. This can be stressful enough to do in your own native tongue!

3. You will not be able to view things firsthand

Face it, it can be very difficult to give up all control to someone you don’t even know in the least. Yet by setting up your wedding from another country, you are essentially completely depending on your vendors that they will do everything to your standards. You won’t be able to taste the cake, see the venue, or choose the flowers. So you have to be willing to be very trusting and put many aspects of your wedding into a stranger’s hands.

Paris destination wedding

4. The Expense

This one is probably not a surprise to anyone who’s considering a Parisian wedding, but there is a good chance the cost will be higher than having a wedding closer to home. Paris can be an expensive city, and you will have to take that into consideration when making up a budget. Also, you may decide to help some close family members with their expenses in making the trip if they would otherwise not be able to attend.

One option, however, is to rent a chateau somewhere in the French countryside. It doesn’t have to be far from Paris, yet the price is usually lower for you to rent the entire chateau (and there are many extremely beautiful ones), including rooms for all your guests, than to arrange a nice ceremony in the city.

5. Fewer Friends and Family Members Present

Black and White Paris View
This one may be either a pro or a con depending on your situation! However, if you do want to share the day with a large group of your closest family and friends, a wedding in Paris may not be the way to do it. Many brides say they only receive a 25 to 30 percent guest acceptance rate for their destination weddings simply because of the travel and expense involved.

And if you are continuing your honeymoon in Paris, just keep in mind that those relatives who do attend the wedding may expect to spend part of those days with you as well! If having lots of friends and family at your wedding is an essential part of the day for you, though, perhaps think about eloping with your groom in Paris, and then returning home to a big reception with a Parisian theme so that everyone can share in the experience.

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There is no getting around it; a destination wedding in Paris can be a bit of a struggle. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be done, and that it can’t be the wedding you have always dreamed of. If you consider all of the above points and still want nothing more than a Parisian wedding, definitely go for it! There are lots of message boards you can find online where you can get advice from other brides who have done this, and they are usually more than willing to help answer your specific questions too. And you are definitely not the first couple to do this – all the others have managed to navigate the obstacles and still end up with an amazing destination wedding in Paris. And probably they would all say, “It was worth it!”

Bonne chance!

Clicking on any of the save the date cards featured in this post will take you to Zazzle where you can purchase it.
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5 Simple Ways to Create a Chic, Paris Themed Wedding

Paris city view
Whether you are still trying to decide on a wedding style, or you have definitely settled on an elegant Parisian theme, there should be something here for you to use in preparing for the big day.

To start, here is a list of 5 Simple Ways to create the perfect Paris-themed wedding. There are lots of choices within each area depending on your own taste (after all, no two Parisians have the same exact style!), but these are the basics that will set your wedding and reception apart and put you and the guests in a romantic, French frame of mind.

1. Invitations

Start with your save-the-date cards and invitations to set the “mood” for the wedding. Choose something with a Parisian theme, but definitely consider whether you are leaning more towards an elegant, upscale Paris style wedding or a more rustic, “shabby chic” look. There are a lot of romantic, vintage options with old French handwriting and postmarks, and other more minimal, simple invitations. You will find plenty of options regardless of your style.

Here are some of my favorite Paris themed wedding invitations, all of which you can customize and purchase online. Just click on any of them for more information.

Paris Vintage Pink Roses Invitation 5Paris Vintage Pink Roses Invitation 5″ X 7″ Invitation Card

Black and White French Style Eiffel Tower Wedding 5Black and White French Style Eiffel Tower Wedding 5″ X 7″ Invitation Card

Rustic Country Burlap Lace Twine Wedding Invites 5Rustic Country Burlap Lace Twine Wedding Invites 5″ X 7″ Invitation Card

Vintage Floral Wedding Invitation 5Vintage Floral Wedding Invitation 5″ X 7″ Invitation Card

Elegant Damask Chocolate Cake Wedding Invitation 5.25

Eiffel Tower Paris Wedding 5Eiffel Tower Paris Wedding 5″ X 7″ Invitation Card


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2. Music

French music in itself is often soft and romantic, so it will be easy to find some that fits perfectly with your wedding. Erik Satie wrote a lot of instrumental piano music that just sounds “French” to anyone who hears it. Although not French himself, Cole Porter lived in and wrote about Paris and his songs would be another good choice. If you are lucky enough to be able to hire an accordion player, just think how Parisian that would be!


 

3. Color

Here again, there are many choices for you. Black, white, and light pink is a classic elegant French trio of colors. If you choose this palette, keep in mind that stripes are also popular in these shades.
5 simple ways to create a chic Paris themed wedding
For more of a “Moulin Rouge” type of look, you can go with deep red and gold. Here again stripes would be a good choice, as well as gold damask which is another popular French design pattern. Finally, champagne, mint, and gold would also work beautifully together and create a more soft, romantic look. You can incorporate these colors into the bridal party’s dresses as well as table decor and favors.

 

4. Typical Parisian Symbols

Choose a typically Parisian symbol to decorate your favors, napkins, and invitations in order to keep the theme consistent and to make it clear to everyone that your theme is Paris!
There are so many images that just say “Paris” to people – the Eiffel Tower, macarons, a fleur-de-lis, vintage French postmarks, even birdcages. Corks work great as placeholders since France is known for its great wine (so start saving up your corks now!). Similarly, wine bottles are a perfect option for candle holders.  Also, use popular French words and phrases such as “Je t’aime”, “Merci Beaucoup”, or “L’amour” wherever possible, rather than their English equivalents.

5. Food

You can’t really choose Paris for a wedding theme and ignore the importance of the food! The food you serve should be elegant and refined, even if you choose a simple French menu. Charcuterie (cheeses and meats), crusty French bread, grapes, quiche, French pastries, escargot,  pate, and crepes are all great choices for hors d’oeuvres . Wine is a great idea, of course; perhaps you can offer a wine tasting station for your guests. As far as the dinner menu itself, French onion soup, parsleyed potatoes, Coq au Vin, Steak Au Poivre, and Sole Meunière are all classic French dishes. If you are using a caterer, they will certainly have some good ideas for you.

Dinner

So you can see that although your Paris themed wedding can go in a number of different directions, it all comes down to elegance, good taste, and refinement. That doesn’t mean stuffy, of course. Just choose the options that make you the happiest and your wedding is certain to be a day that everyone will remember fondly (and you just may kindle a new-found love of Paris in some of your guests!)

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