Reception Reply Cards
There are two trends that are gaining in popularity – the reply postcard and the detailed reply card.
1- The reply postcard is just that – a postcard that you mail in your invitation that your family and friends mail back to you. This takes the place of the response card and pre-labeled envelope. My brother-in-law and his fiance recently did this and as another addition, they put a section for reception music requests. Often times, postcard are cheaper to mail (less postage) than cards, so that could be a benefit for you as well…in addition to having to order and pay for a card and envelope printing.
2- Detailed reply cards – this is especially great for weddings that will have a lot of out-of-town guests. Detailed reply cards not only ask how many will attend but also when they will be arriving and at what hotel they will be staying. This makes things easier on the bride and groom but also allows the guests to receive information when they arrive (and the OOT gift bags if you are doing those, when the guests arrive as well). You wouldn't want your guests to arrive to your destination and not know what to do. Of course, you wouldn't have to have all cards printed that way – just allow for OOT guests to get those. In-town guests can get basic reply cards.
Suggestion: Remember to give your guests enough time to respond. I say more than three weeks is sufficient. Any shorter and it seems rushed.