Despite living in the digital age, most couples opt to send traditional paper wedding invitations, including an RSVP card that guests are required to send back to note whether they will be in attendance or not. Similarly, most couples’ wedding registries are made available online to guests, who then have the option to ship a gift directly to the couple prior to their wedding day.
Although nothing compares to the feeling of receiving a handful of RSVP cards each day in the mail and boxes of gifts, it can be difficult to keep track of it all. RSVP cards could potentially get lost in the mail, or guests could forget to write their name on the card before sending it back, and gift tags and notes that correspond to each gift can get mixed up in the shuffle.
Well brides-to-be, there is a simple solution to organizing the chaos – Microsoft Excel and note cards! Here’s how to set up a system to track wedding RSVP cards, and for all your other wedding needs, too!
1. Start by building your guest list in a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet. Be sure to alphabetize the list by last name.
2. Next, create hard copy note cards with a return address label for each guest. Labels are an easy way to include all your guests’ information, such as their address, and there is room leftover on the note card to make personal notes, such as their date’s name, meal choices, etc. File the note cards in alphabetical order by last name in a card box – if the box doesn’t come with any, create letter dividers (A,B,C …) so you easily can flip to a section of guests.
3. Once all your note cards are created, refer back to the Excel spreadsheet. Notice at the far left of the spreadsheet that each row has an assigned number. On the top of each note card, write down the corresponding number for each guest.
4. Now it’s time to send your wedding invitations! You should use your note cards as an easy point of reference for names and addresses.
5. On the back of each RSVP card, such as the top right-hand corner, write down the corresponding number for the guest that you are writing the invitation to. This way if someone forgets to fill out their information before sending the card back, you can reference the number on your Excel spreadsheet and know which guest is attending or not. If you’d rather not have pen marks on the back of your RSVP cards, you even can purchase invisible ink pens and a black light.
6. As you receive the RSVP cards, file them away in the card box behind the guest’s corresponding note card so you have all pertinent information stored in one place. Then, in the Excel spreadsheet, create a column that indicates yes or no to the guest’s RSVP, how many people are attending in the party, and their meal choices.
Now that you have built a basic spreadsheet to keep track of all things wedding, you easily can add columns for additional items, including gifts and thank you cards.
As you receive gifts and cards in the mail, enter the gift or dollar amount received next to the corresponding guest’s name(s). You also can make note of the gift or money received on the back of the card or gift tag that came with the gift. Be sure to keep all the cards together in a pile for an easy reference and as a cross-check with your electronic spreadsheet before sending thank you notes.
As a word of caution, electronic thank you notes are never acceptable for a wedding. Your wedding guests rearrange schedules, travel and typically spend some money to be a part of your big day, so the least you can do is send a note of gratitude. You also typically want to send thank you cards as soon as possible following the wedding day. If it takes you longer than three months to send a card, a majority of guests may either grow irritated at the lack of thanks from the newlywed couple or guests may forget about it altogether. Even though photo thank you cards are popular these days, they don’t always fit into the appropriate time frame; instead, couples can choose to send a text-only thank you card and then follow-up with a photo card around the holidays with pictures from the wedding.
After the wedding once all the gifts and cards have been opened, refer back to your spreadsheet and enter in anything that is missing or correct any mistakes that were found during the cross-check with your hard copy records. Now, create a column for thank you cards and select a number that you plan to complete each day, whether that be 10 or 50. As you finishing writing each card, insert a check mark or highlight the box in the spreadsheet to indicate that you’ve written a card to that guest. Not only will this help you stay on track, it also will provide you a visual of the progress you’ve made and keep you motivated!
If you maintain a high-level of organization throughout the wedding planning process, including the above suggested spreadsheet, keeping track of RSVP cards and gifts, and getting your thank you cards in the mail in an appropriate amount of time should be a breeze.