Planning a wedding can be overwhelming even if you are the most organized party planning Type A bride. There's so many tiny details to consider and unexpected obstacles that it's easy to get lost in the planning and decide eloping is way easier, well it probably is but it's not nearly as fun. So in order to help keep the stress level down, where your invitations are concerned, I'm going to be doing a mini series called WEDDING INVITATION let's kick it off with the part of your suite that is ALL business...the reply card.

You think receiving replies will be easy and it can be if you set yourself up for success. Here are 3 tips to make it go as smooth as possible:

1. Ask your guests to respond at least 3 weeks prior to the wedding date. Caterers ask for your headcount 1-2 weeks in advance and you will have to track down people who don't respond, even if you think you won't. But you're thinking everybody is dying to celebrate your big day and you have an incredibly respectful and well mannered circle so of course they will all send it back by the requested date. WRONG. Give yourself the 1-2 week cushion to track down any one who hasn't responded.

2. Number your reply cards in light pencil on the back or if you are really over the top, do it in invisible ink. Why? Look at this:

I bet your super excited the __________ is coming to almost all of your events but _________ forgot to fill in their name. Think this won't happen? WRONG! And even more common, your guest fills in their name and you can't read it. Insert sad face emoticon here. If you have numbered your reply cards to you correspond with your guest list, crisis averted!

3. Do not, I repeat DO NOT give the guest the option to fill in "Number Attending _______."

True story: A woman invites her boss to her wedding, the invitation is addressed to Mr. and Mrs. John Smith (names have be changed to protect the innocent) and when Mr. Smith fills in the number attending it says "11"....Uh, what? Is Mr. Smith implying that he is 1 and his wife is 1, like tally marks? Or is he bringing 11 people? Bride politely asks her boss what his intention was after several days of careful consideration and Mr. Smith in fact meant he was bringing 11 people: his wife, their grown children and spouses. Now the bride is forced into an uncomfortable conversation with her BOSS, who was inevitably mortified.

Want to be stuck in this position? I didn't think so, don't give anyone the option of telling you how many people they would like to bring to your $250 a head wedding. The simplest of options is a choosing Attending/Declines or Accepts/Declines but you can get more creative with your options...more on that in the future.

Hopefully these 3 tip will be all you need to navigate your reply card easily! And if not this is why God invented bridesmaids and Pinot Grigio.