You open the mail and find wedding invitation — how exciting! You may have known it was coming as you likely already received a Save the Date card, but now it’s official. Regardless of how close you are with the person or persons saying “I do,” it’s an incredible experience to witness a couple declare their lifelong love for each other.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves quite yet. You still have to fill out the RSVP card and send it back. Doing so certainly sounds easy, but formal jargon or a confusing layout can quickly make you feel clueless. Whether you haven’t been to many weddings before, or simply want to double-check that you’re doing everything right, we’re here to help you figure out how to fill out a wedding RSVP (which stands for the French phrase “répondez, s’il vous plaît” and translates literally to “respond if you please.”).
First Thing’s First
Don’t push the RSVP card aside. You don’t necessarily have to respond that same day, but putting it off makes things super difficult for the soon-to-be-married couple. There should be an RSVP-by date on the card, so make sure you respond a couple of days before then.
This doesn’t mean simply skimming the invitation. Read it and then read it again. The most important thing to look for is who the envelope is addressed to. If you’re married, engaged, or in a long-term relationship, your partner’s name will likely be listed alongside yours — if not, it should be indicated elsewhere that you have a plus-one or two seats reserved. Don’t automatically assume if, for example, you have kids that you can bring them. That’ll only be the case if the envelope is addressed to “The ___ Family,” or made clear elsewhere.
If the couple grants you the opportunity to bring someone, great! If not, don’t go against their wishes and write that you’ll be bringing a date or your kids.
Grab a Pen
Every RSVP card is different, but most of them share a few common elements, like a place to write your name (and, if applicable, your partner’s name) and a place to indicate whether you’ll be attending.
The line to write your name(s) will likely look one of two ways:
What does the “M” represent? The first letter of a person’s title, like Mrs., Mr., or Miss. Here’s how to determine which one(s) to use:
- Single man: Mr.
- Single woman: Miss
- Boyfriend/Girlfriend: Miss and Mr.
- Married Couple: Mr. and Mrs.
- If you have the same last name, simply write it once after “Mr. and Mrs.”
Once you’ve filled out your name(s), it’s time to write or check a box that indicates whether or not you can attend. Again, which you do depends on the response card.
If there’s a pre-printed response, there will likely be two options that say something along the lines of “accepts” or “regrets.” Those that received a plus-one or an invitation with multiple names will also need to indicate the total number of guests attending. If there’s not a line to fill-in this response, simply write the number two (or however many people were listed on the invite) next to the box you checked.
No prompts? No problem. You’ll just have to write out whether or not you’re coming. This can be done in the simplest way possible, or you can choose to express your excitement (if you’re going) or disappointment (if you can’t make it). Just use “Ms. Smith will (or “will not”) attend” as a basic guide. Draw inspiration from these examples from Beacon Lane:
- Will attend / With regrets
- Happily accepts / Regretfully declines
- Can’t wait! / Sad to miss it
- Will attend / Will be toasting from afar
- Will be there! / Will be there in spirit
- Delighted to attend / Sending regrets
- Yes, I would love to come! / No, sorry, but I have a really good excuse!
There may also be a place on the RSVP card to check off your meal preferences for the reception. If you’re attending with your partner and children, don’t just write a number next to the box of a meal — add a person’s initials, too.
After you’ve filled out all of the necessary details, pop the RSVP card into the prestamped and addressed envelope you received. That’s how to fill out a wedding RSVP!