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Advice on wedding RSVP wording etiquette complete with ideas

RSVP stands for "répondez s'il vous plaît," which is French for "please reply." RSVPs, typically sent out with wedding invitations, are the traditional way of asking guests to confirm their attendance at a wedding. Wedding RSVP wording is not the minefield you may think, and most of the information you need to gather can be taken care of with tick boxes and a few fields for some information to be written by your guests.


But how can you word your wedding RSVP to gather all the necessary information from your potential guests politely and efficiently? Well, I've got you covered! In this article, I'll break down the different elements you need in your wedding RSVP, explain why each piece of information is important, and provide formal and casual suggestions that you can tailor to the tone of your wedding.


An RSVP card for a wedding on a background of a map of Mykonos with gold wax seal
An RSVP card is a great way to take some of the stress out of planning your wedding day

What information do you need?

The most important piece of information that you need from your guests is whether they'll be attending the wedding. You also need to know how many guests they'll be bringing (for example, plus ones or with the kids). Wedding vendors such as venues and caterers will be expecting a headcount before the big day, and getting these numbers correct is going to save you a tonne of stress in the run-up to your wedding.


If you're having a sit-down meal, you'll also need to know your guests' dietary requirements. This is especially important if you know friends or family have dietary intolerances or strictly held beliefs.


In addition to these basic pieces of information, you may also want to ask your guests about their preferences for other wedding events, such as rehearsal dinners or welcome parties.


The basics of wedding RSVP:

Before diving into the specific elements of your wedding RSVP, let's understand the basics. Your wedding RSVP must include:

Response deadline: Specify a date by which you'd like guests to RSVP.

Guest information: You need to know names and headcount.

Contact information: Include your contact details so guests can respond easily.


Setting the response date:

Make this clear from the start and put it right at the top. Depending on the timelines of your vendors (such as venue and caterers), this is usually one month before your wedding day. These are some examples of formal and casual wording to begin your RSVP:


Formal

  • "The favour of a reply is requested by [date]."

  • "Kindly respond by [date]."

  • "Please RSVP by [date]."

Casual

  • "Let us know by [date] if you'll be able to make it."

  • "Be a legend and RSVP by [date]."

  • "We hope to see you there! Please RSVP by [date]."


Ask for names:

You need to know who is attending your wedding, and the names of all the guests who plan to come. This will help you accurately plan the seating arrangements, create place cards, and ensure you have enough space and seating for everyone.


Formal Wording: Kindly indicate the names of all attendees.

Casual Wording: Let us know who'll be there!


Confirm attendance:

Knowing whether or not someone is attending your wedding is vital for your planning. Clearly ask for a response regarding your guest's attendance status. This is usually done by the addition of a couple of tick boxes indicating yes or no.


Formal Wording: [ ] Joyfully accepts / [ ] Regretfully declines

Casual Wording: [ ] I'm already packing! / [ ] Will send my love from afar


Number of guests:

It's essential to know the total number of guests attending. This helps you plan for seating, meals, and overall logistics.


Formal Wording: Number of guests attending: ______

Casual Wording: How many of you are there? ______


Menu choices (if applicable):

If your wedding reception includes a plated meal and offers menu choices, you'll need to ask your guests for their preferences. This is especially important if you're having a wedding with a large guest list as you can provide accurate numbers to your caterers.


Formal Wording: Please indicate your meal choice for the reception: [ ] Meat, [ ] Fish, [ ] Vegetarian.

Casual Wording: Food time! Let us know your favourite: [ ] Meat, [ ] Fish, [ ] Veggie


! Pro tip: You can also leave a blank space or ask your guests to pop a note on the reverse of the card if they have any specific allergies or intolerances that your caterers need to be made aware of.


Additional wedding events (rehearsal dinners, welcome parties, etc.):

If there will be additional events as part of your wedding celebrations, it's a good idea to gauge interest and plan accordingly. If you're sending these invitations out along with your main wedding invitation, you can also include checkboxes on the RSVP to get an idea of attendance levels.


Etiquette considerations:

Addressing the envelope: When addressing the invitation envelope, be specific about who is invited. If the invitation is addressed to "Mr John Smith," it means only Mr Smith is invited, not his plus-one. If you want to allow a plus-one, make sure to address it as "Mr John Smith and Guest."

RSVP deadline: Set a reasonable deadline for guests to respond, typically one month before the wedding, but make sure this leaves you plenty of time to notify your vendors of final numbers.

Response card envelope: Provide a pre-stamped and addressed response envelope with your invitation. This makes it convenient for guests to RSVP promptly.


! Pro tip: If you have a wedding website, you can always have an RSVP facility set up on a page to record attendee numbers and requirements. This web address can be added to a details card or similar in your wedding invitation suite.


Filling in the RSVP card as a guest:

As a guest, it's important to follow RSVP etiquette to help the couple with their wedding planning.

Reply by the deadline: Respond to the RSVP by the date specified. This allows the couple to make the necessary arrangements with their vendors.

Specify names: Clearly indicate the names of all guests attending, even if it's just you. If additional guests are invited, write their names as well. This is needed for seating plans and place cards.

Menu choices and dietary requirements: If the RSVP card asks for menu choices and you have dietary restrictions, write them in the provided space. If there's no option to indicate dietary preferences, contact the couple directly to discuss your needs.

Plus-one: If the invitation is addressed only to you, do not assume you can bring a plus-one. Respect the couple's guest list and don't bring an uninvited guest.

Regrets only: Some invitations might state "Regrets Only," meaning you only need to respond if you can't attend. In such cases, notify the couple promptly if you won't be able to make it.

Write legibly: The couple needs to be able to read your response.

If you're unsure about something: If you don't know whether you're allowed to bring a guest or how to flag special dietary requirements, don't be afraid to contact the couple. They'll be happy to help you!


Conclusion

RSVPs are an important part of planning a wedding that helps you gather essential information from your guests to ensure a stress-free and enjoyable day. By following these tips, you can write a clear, concise, and polite RSVP card that will help you get the information you need from your guests.


And if all sounds like a lot to take in, consider booking a wedding stationer (like me!) to take you through all the details and get your wedding stationery looking amazing!


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