How to Fill Out a Wedding RSVP

Years ago, the etiquette for responding to a wedding invitation included writing a handwritten note on personal stationery and sending it to the address indicated on the wedding invitations. Of course, this process has been simplified over the years to make responding a little more convenient. However, the effort to streamline the process has made today’s typical wedding RSVP a little confusing. Here we’ll share how to fill out a wedding RSVP, plus some tips for when things get a little more complicated.

How to Fill Out an RSVP

What is the M for
Most of today’s response cards include a line that looks something like this, “The favor of a reply is requested by [date here]” and below this statement you will see a blank line beginning with the letter M. The letter M is intended to be helpful although in practice we must admit it’s rather confusing. It’s meant to begin the recipient’s response. The letter M is simply the beginning of the person’s title — Mr., Miss, Mrs. and Ms. — which would then be followed by the person’s name. Only the names of those attending should appear on this line. It is also important to list first and last names as clearly as possible so the couple can easily read who has responded. Below this blank line, you will see a line indicating how many people will be attending.

If you’re married, then you would lead with the husband’s title and you would use his first and last name: Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Andersen. We understand this seems like a slightly antiquated practice but such is tradition. Feel free to fill out your wedding RSVP in a way that makes you and your partner most comfortable. Perhaps you haven’t taken your husband’s last name. Then you would list Mr. Joseph Smith and Mrs. Sarah Andersen. This is also how you would fill it out as an unmarried couple, except the woman would use Ms. or Miss as her title. (What’s the difference between Ms. and Miss? Miss refers to an unmarried woman but Ms. can refer to a married or unmarried woman.)

Deciphering Who Is Invited
Next you will fill out the number of guests attending. There are few things to note here. First of all, do you know exactly who is invited? This should be listed on the inner envelope of the invitation. Each person invited should be addressed by his or her first name on the inner envelope. No inner envelope? Then pay attention to who is addressed on the outer envelope. If you are a family of five but your three children were not addressed on the outer envelope by name or “and family,” and they weren’t addressed on the inner envelope, then just the parents are invited to the wedding. Same goes for a plus one. If “and guest” is not listed on the outer envelope or inner envelope, only the person addressed is invited.

Indicating Number of Attendees
If the response card does not include food choices, your job is pretty easy. You will simply state the number of people attending and/or not attending. Some wedding RSVPs will simply list “persons will attend.” Others may list accepts and declines. If you and your spouse have been invited to a wedding but only one person can attend, that person would fill in the blank line with his/her title as well as his/her first and last name. He/she would then place a 1 next to “accepts” and a 1 next to “declines.” Always use a number rather than an x to indicate accepts and declines.

Indicating Food Choices
If the response card includes food choices, place the attendee’s initials next to his/her food choice. It is important to indicate each person’s initials next to his/her food choice because the bride and groom will use these responses to gather how many of each entrée the caterer will need to prepare.

A Formal Affair
If you receive a response card with ample space above or below the wording, you are expected to write a note. If the reply card simply says, “R.s.v.p.” or “The favour of a reply is requested by…” you will write a note that includes your full name, the first names of other family members attending the wedding and a few lines of well wishes. If the reply card includes a line for your names and an area for accept and declines, you should write a simple note of well wishes to the couple.

When to Reply
Wedding attendees should reply as soon as possible after receiving the wedding invitations. If you respond that you will be attending the wedding and then later find out you won’t be able to make it, call the couple as soon as possible to let them know. As the wedding date gets closer, couples are often creating what can be a very complicated seating plan. Give them as much time as possible to adjust it as necessary. Attendees should stay true to their wedding responses. If you were allowed to invite a plus one but responded that you were not bringing a plus one, then you should not bring a guest to the wedding.