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How To Write A Formal RSVP To An Invitation

RSVP is the initials for the french phrase, “répondez s'il vous plaît,” which translated means, “please respond.” The general rule for an RSVP to is respond promptly, politely and in kind. Even if the invitation does not contain an RSVP request, invitation etiquette dictates that you should still reply. It is polite to let the host know whether or not you’ll be attending. In most cases, the invitation will include a date to respond by, and it behooves you to respond by that date, or sooner if possible, as it is considered bad etiquette to leave your response to the last minute. If no date is given, the polite thing to do would be to respond within 24 hours of receiving the invitation, or at least two weeks before the event.

Often, especially with wedding invitations, the work is done for you in the form of an RSVP card, which can look like the following:

The favor of a reply is requested
by June 16, 2006.
M__________________________
____Accepts with pleasure
____Declines with regrets

or

M_____________________________
Will ______ Attend

In this case, you need only fill out the blanks with your name and indicate whether or not you’ll be attending. If declining an invitation, it is okay to include a separate note with a brief explanation or to express congratulations, but you need not feel obliged to explain your absence. For more information about declining an invitation, see the subsequent article on How to decline a wedding invitation.

Sometimes the wedding invitations will include a blank RSVP card. In this circumstance you should mirror your reply to match the style and formality of the wedding invitation, in which the lines are usually centered. It is customary to fill this out by hand and to refer to yourself in the third person, and then indicate whether or not you’ll be attending, such as:

Mr. And Mrs. David Smith
Accepts with pleasure/regrets that they are unable to accept
The kind invitation of
Mr. And Mrs. George Anderson
For Friday, the first of April

You might also want to include a small, personalized note of congratulations or regret, but don’t feel obliged to do more than indicate your attendance plans. If you do decide to include anything extra, keep it short and polite.

If the invitation gives alternate instructions on how to reply, whether it be to reply to an email address or by a phone call, etc., you should follow these instructions.

There is no need to stress out when it comes to replying to an invitation. Just remember these three basic things when considering how to write a formal RSVP to an invitation. Most importantly, reply promptly - it is inconsiderate to leave the host hanging. Secondly, keep it short and polite - you need only indicate your intentions. Lastly, respond in kind or by the instructions given - match the tone and formality of the invitation.

But perhaps most important of all, don’t forget to mark your calendar if you plan on attending!

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