While it may seem with you do everything by email or text message today, it’s simply not appropriate for most of the communications that are required for a formal or semi-formal vow renewal. How you communicate information to guests about your special day sets the tone for the actual event.
Vow Renewal Invitations
If you are having a formal or semi-formal vow renewal, take pride in your vow renewal and send out invitations that communicate the style of your event to guests. The only exception for a formal vow renewal is if it is the ONLY way to get them to your guests! Even if you’re planning a surprise vow renewal at a big party, printed invitations of some kind would still be in order for the party. On the other hand, if you’re having a very casual vow renewal with only close family and friends, then you can go ahead email them if you really want to.
The general rule of etiquette for this advice is if you would be comfortable extending the invitation over the phone and very casual attire is appropriate, then an e-mail is acceptable. Email is not acceptable for communications that require conveying style, RSVP, or limiting who can come. Unless you’re prepared to extend the invitation to the whole world and not know how many people to expect, don’t send your invitation by email. Remember, we live in a social world today and there’s a real possibility your electronic invite will end up on Facebook or Twitter!
If you really want to go virtual, send save-the-dates via email if you’d like. It’s a quick way to let friends and relatives to mark their calendar!
You can also give your guests the option of replying by e-mail, website, or phone. You can do this by including the contact email at the bottom of your printed response card: “You may also reply by way of our e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org.” This is very appropriate if planning an informal or spur of the moment vow renewal or if you are in regular e-mail contact with many of your guests. Just don’t make email the only option – there are still a few people out there who don’t have email like Great Aunt Dorthy!
Travel and Other Information
If you’re sending formal invitations, a map and directions for out-of-town guests are normally an included enclosure. If you have email addresses for guests who have RSVP’d, you can send additional information on hotels, restaurants, and points of interest by group e-mail. Begin your email with a general salutation such as “Dear All” and use the same signature you would use for an individual message. This information can also be sent out by postal mail or posted on your website if you have one.
Email is fine for keeping family and attendants updated on plans and changes if you’re having them. Just don’t spam them by over-sharing every detail by email daily!
Thank You Notes
While gifts are not expected for a vow renewal, should you receive any, you need to send a handwritten note in thanks. Unless of course, the gift arrived electronically in the form of an electronic gift certificate, and then you should feel free to email a thank you to the giver.
Remember, email is not appropriate for resolving any conflicts or handling emotionally charges issues. Pick up the phone or talk in person.
Don’t forget technology has its glitches and your emails may never reach their destination, so if it’s really important, then send it by mail or place a call!