If you've received an invitation to a wedding and you're not sure how exactly to respond? This is our guide to wedding RSVP etiquette, tips, and steps.
With so many different ways to send out wedding invitations and RSVPs, it can be a little confusing to know what the best way to RSVP to a wedding is. In this post, we’ll walk through how to RSVP to different types of wedding invitations.
There are a few things to keep in mind for all RSVPs, regardless of the format:
The acronym RSVP stands for the French phrase “répondez, s'il vous plaît" which translates literally to “respond if you please.”
Guest should respond to the invitation as quickly as possible, but at least by the RSVP deadline listed on the invite. The RSVP deadline should be two to three weeks before the wedding - enough time for the couple to get a final headcount and make arrangements as needed. Late RSVPs are not only impolite, but can lead to you not having a seat or meal at the wedding as wedding vendors require final headcount by a particular date. Whatever you do, don’t show up to the wedding without notifying the hosts that you’re planning to attend.
A wedding RSVP card will look different for every event, depending on the couple’s style and the formality of the celebration. However, there are a few things that are pretty standard across all RSVP cards. Here’s a breakdown of what you might typically find on a response card:
Here are examples for how the name line(s) might be worded:
Here are examples for how to actually fill it out:
– M r. David Beckham & Mrs. Victoria Beckham
– Name(s): Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi
On more formal wedding invitations, the name line is often preceded by a capital letter “M.” What does this mean, and more importantly, what is it for? It’s actually pretty simple. The “M” indicates that guests should fill out the line for their names with their proper title(s): Mr., Mrs., Ms., Miss.
If the invitation doesn’t have a response card included, look closely at the invitation for details about how to RSVP. It’s likely that the wedding hosts have opted to take RSVPs online (a common choice with couples who use Zola, since our Tools makes it easy to track responses and keep them all in one place). Alternatively, the host has included other instructions, like a phone number or email address, for how to communicate your acceptance or your regrets.
How to RSVP online will vary depending on which website or tool the couple has chosen for gathering responses. Your best bet is to type the URL provided on the invitation into your browser and follow the steps provided. The same rules of etiquette apply if you’re RSVPing online (with the exception of those that only relate to paper response cards), so see our quick list of RSVP rules to follow below.
When the hosts ask that you RSVP via email, it’s important to honor their request and follow directions. Specifics will vary, but here are some basic guidelines.
Dear Charles & Audra,
Thank you for inviting us to join your wedding celebration. Matt and I are happy to accept your invitation to the wedding day and the rehearsal.
In regard to entree choices, Matt and I would both prefer fish.
Looking forward to the big day!
Warmly, Matt & Shea Simmons
It’s okay if you are unable to attend the wedding, but it’s important to let the hosts know by declining their invitation formally. Don’t assume that not responding at all makes it clear that you won’t be present. Here’s how to properly decline a wedding invitation:
Dear Charles & Audra,
Thank you so much for inviting us to join you at your upcoming wedding. Unfortunately, we will not be able to attend as we will be out of the country on business that weekend. We are sad to miss this special event and will be celebrating with you from afar on the big day.
Sending our love and best wishes. Congratulations!
With love, Matt & Shea Simmons
Life happens, and there will be instances where you are unable to attend a wedding after you have said “yes” on the RSVP. Whether it be inclement weather, an illness, or an emergency, there’s a right and wrong way to inform the couple that you won’t be able to make it to the celebration:
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