Weddings are special and enjoyable events, however they also come with certain etiquette and expectations. We wanted to provide some suggested wording and guidance on how to reply to a wedding invitation.
Upon receiving a wedding invitation, it is common to read Répondez s'il vous plaît or R.S.V.P. towards the bottom of the invitation. Translated, it literally means 'Respond if you please', and the desired response is for you to let the hosts know your response to whether you can attend, or not, and perhaps some other questions they ask.
These days there is all manner of methods for how the host would like to receive the response; email, wedding websites, response cards or no preferred method.
While you should always endeavour to use the method prescribed by the host, a handwritten response as a standalone or, in addition to the prescribed manner is a beautiful way to leave an impression with the host - remember, they are very excited about their big day and it is wonderful to see someone take the time to echo that excitement.
Responses help the hosts keep track of the guest list, which is an important and often stressful part of the wedding planning process. Therefore when invited to a wedding a guests duty is to respond promptly confirming your attendance or regrets.
Style & Examples
When writing your RSVP, base the formality of your response on the style of the invitation and if you're comfortable, what you believe the happy couple might find appropriate - a touch of humour is often appreciated for example.
For a formal Response, typically when the invitation is black tie, a guest should write in the third person, this reply follows the wording of a formal invitation.
For a Split Acceptance/Regret, where more than one person has been invited, but not all are able to attend, the following form is used:
If you and your children are invited on one invitation, their names should have been written on the inner envelope along with yours. You would respond the same way:
For a more informal personal approach, usually written to hosts directly, that you know well, keep the response brief but sincere or with a touch of humour.
If you cannot attend the wedding, it is also often a good idea to send a 'Telegram' before the day to either the venue, or, if you know their details, a member of the Bridal party that can be read out or given to the happy couple to let them know they are in your thoughts on the day.