You probably wouldn’t consider RSVP cards the most important piece of your wedding invitation suite, but they’re likely more crucial than you may think. These enclosure cards ensure that your wedding guests can adhere to wedding RSVP etiquette and, well, actually respond. Alternatively, your RSVP enclosure cards can direct wedding guests to your wedding website to accept or decline your wedding invites.

What Is A Wedding RSVP Card?

An RSVP card, also known as a response card, is an important piece of your wedding invitation suite. Although it might not get a lot of spotlight, this small card plays a critical role in facilitating guests’ responses to your invitation. RSVP cards are included in the same envelope as your wedding invitations, typically placed on top. They’re accompanied by postmarked, addressed return envelopes so that guests can fill out the required info and send back the completed card to you (or the event hosts/planners) with minimal effort. RSVP cards and envelopes are necessary unless you choose to include RSVP contact information on your invitation or to gather wedding RSVPs online.

Wedding RSVP Card Goals

A well-crafted RSVP card should accomplish the following:

  1. Provide a quick and easy way for guests to reply to your wedding invitations.
  2. Communicate to you (or the hosts) exactly who will be attending the wedding.
  3. Give guests a clear deadline by which they need to send a reply.
  4. Allow guests to pre-select their entree of choice, if you are serving a meal options.
  5. Gather other helpful information from guests, such as whether they plan on using provided transportation.
  6. Coordinate with your wedding invitation for a seamless, well-designed look.

When Should I Order My Wedding RSVP Cards?

Order response cards when you order your invitations to keep things coordinated, and to make sure all the invitation components are ready to mail together. Every wedding invitation design on Zola has matching RSVP cards that you can easily customize and add onto your order.

Basic Template for Wedding RSVP Card Wording

Writing an RSVP card is not rocket science, but there is a standard format—including a few odd formalities—that is helpful to understand. Below we’ve outlined a basic RSVP card template, followed by an explanation of each of the standard components.

[RSVP deadline]

[Name of guests]
– M____________

-OR-

– Name(s) ________

[Attendance line]
___ accept(s) ___ regret(s)

-OPTIONAL-

___________ of [total number of household members] will attend

[Entree selection instructions]

[Entree choices]

  1. RSVP deadline: Include an RSVP deadline no less than one month from your wedding date (or according to any vendors’ requirements), and prominently place the deadline on the card. If dates are spelled out in the invitation, the RSVP deadline should follow suit.
  2. Name of guests: Here, guests fill in their names on the blank line. See below for why more formal RSVP cards include the letter “M” at the beginning of this line.
  3. Attendance line: Guests mark the appropriate “yes” or “no” response here. While the name(s) on the envelope should make it clear who is included in this invitation, if you’re inviting many whole families, consider wording that accommodates multiple people per household to eliminate any confusion.
  4. Entree selection instruction line: If you’re serving a plated meal and you’re averse to utter chaos, it’s helpful to allow guests to select their entrées on their response cards. Whether you reveal each specific entrée or simply outline the proteins or meal types, include instructions for how to make a selection followed by a list of the options.

How to Word Wedding RSVP Cards

Although they don’t involve nearly as much information as the invitation itself, you should think carefully about your RSVP card wording to make the process as clear and simple as possible for (potentially unobservant) guests. Since the attendance line is perhaps the easiest place to personalize your RSVP card language, here are some name and attendance line wording examples based on formality.

Formal

M___________________________________

___ accept(s) with pleasure

___ declines with regret

Traditional

M___________________________________

___ will attend

___ will not attend

M___________________________________

___ accept(s)

___ regret(s)

Casual

Name(s): ___________________________________

___ will celebrate in person

___ will celebrate in spirit

Name(s): ___________________________________

___ Can’t wait!

___ Sorry, wish I could be there

Name(s): ___________________________________

___ Looking forward to it!

___ Sorry, can’t make it

Whimsical

Name(s): ___________________________________

___ Let the good times roll!

___ Sad to miss all the fun

Name(s): ___________________________________

___ Free booze? Count me in!

___ Sitting this one out

What Does The “M” Mean on a Wedding RSVP?

You’ve probably seen wedding RSVP cards that include an uppercase letter “M” at the beginning of the guest name line and wondered, “why is this M here?” Since only a fraction of the world has a name that begins with M, it’s universal inclusion might be puzzling. But in fact, this piece of wedding invitation etiquette seems much more complex and mysterious than it really is. For formal invitations, the line where guests are expected to write their names begins with an “M” to indicate that the guest(s) should include the proper courtesy title before his or her name(s): Mr., Mrs., Ms., or Miss. Think of it like a little jumpstart in formal addressing.

How to Address Wedding RSVP Envelopes

Speaking of addressing, now that you’ve nailed your RSVP card wording, you might be wondering how to handle your RSVP card envelopes. Generally speaking, be sure to include the name and address of the recipient on the response card envelope. It’s traditional to address guests using the proper courtesy title before his or her name(s): Mr., Mrs., Ms., or Miss. When addressing the married couple-to-be, only use the couple’s first names.

Here are three basic tips to remember when it comes to addressing and preparing your wedding RSVP envelopes:

  1. Print The Address on The Envelope
    Don’t make your invitees do more work than they have to—you want to make it super-easy for them to write their name, check a box, and mail the reply back to you. Therefore be sure to print the address to which you want the RSVP cards to be mailed on the front of the envelope. Most companies will offer RSVP envelope addressing as part of their services to you (Zola offers both RSVP envelopes and their addressing, for free!).

  2. Send Them to the Right Person
    While you do have to address your response card envelopes, you don’t necessarily have to address them to yourself and your partner. If you’ve hired a wedding planner or coordinator, s/he may prefer to receive the response cards. Or perhaps your parents are helping with the planning or actually hosting the wedding. Identify the person (or couple) that will be responsible for collecting, tracking, and generally organizing your invitation RSVPs, and address the response card envelopes to that person’s preferred mailing address.

  3. Include Postage
    If you want your guests to actually put your RSVP card in the mail, then offer them the courtesy of a pre-stamped envelope. Make sure you include the proper amount of postage (usually just a standard letter-rate stamp) per envelope. Beyond simple convenience, it’s rude to make your guests dig up their own stamp.

When Should Guests RSVP to a Wedding?

It’s standard etiquette to ask guests to RSVP to your wedding around one month before your wedding date. Anything less than four weeks, and you run the risk of not getting an accurate headcount in time for your wedding vendors (such as your caterer, transportation, or venue) to properly prepare for your event. You will have guests who don’t RSVP by your deadline, so four weeks prior to the big day allows you some extra time to hunt down those stragglers that have not yet replied. Read more about your wedding invitation etiquette timeline.