DEAR MISS MANNERS: Is it customary to put return postage on envelopes for RSVPs in invitations, or does one expect that the guest should pay for his or her own postage for the return? It seems that if I expect the invitee to send the card back, I should make it as convenient as possible.
GENTLE READER: Maybe you should also enclose a pre-inked stamp offering the choice of yes or no (or thumbs up or thumbs down, if that's easier on the eyes), and a tiny vial of water so your guests would not be put to the trouble of licking the envelope.
Miss Manners roundly condemns people who are so rude as to fail to respond to invitations. But she finds it exasperating when the injured hosts ascribe excuses and pathetic when they think of how to placate them.
The response card itself was invented as one such pathetic attempt. As if initiating a response were an unreasonably onerous task, compared to, say, the job of planning for the pleasure and refreshment of others.
Surely you do not think that people of good will simply ignore those who are offering to entertain them because of the difficulty in finding or affixing a stamp. And anyone who thinks of bringing up the cost might consider the value received from the host.
What errant guests actually admit is that they don't respond because they don't know if they will feel like going when the time comes. Then they will just show up or not. An equally rude variation on this is to accept the invitation but not consider it binding.
So making it easier is not likely to help. It is those guests who make it harder on the host, who must keep prompting to get answers.