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.

What’s the M on the RSVP Card For?

Even for modern weddings, wedding response cards often include a line that looks something like this:

M _______________________________

The letter M is intended to be helpful although in practice we must admit it’s rather confusing.

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.

Lots of wedding response cards have replaced the “M” with less traditional (but entirely more clear!) “Name” or a simple blank line:

Radiant Respond Card

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First Things First – Decipher Who’s Invited

The wedding RSVP card will likely have a space where you’ll write in how many of you are attending. But before you make assumptions about if you can bring a date or your children, do a double check.

There are a few places on the wedding invitation that may indicate who is invited:

The Envelopes

The names of the people in your home that are invited to the wedding might 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.

Addressed Wedding Inner Envelope Example

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.

Addressed Wedding Outer Envelope Example

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 and you should not bring a date.

Addressed Wedding Outer Envelope Example with Guest

The Invitation or Information Card

If you’re hoping to bring your children, check over every piece on the invitation suite to make sure there’s nothing that indicates an adults-only wedding.

The RSVP Card

Sometimes, people will indicate exactly how many people from your home are invited directly on the RSVP card. It will usually be hand-written and look something like this:

Adorned Deckle Respond Card

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What Do I Write After the M on the RSVP Card?

It’s time to fill out the RSVP card! Remember - only the names of those attending the wedding should appear on this line. It’s important to list first and last names as clearly as possible so the couple can easily read who has responded.

If there is a blank space for you to fill out how many people will be attending, be sure to fill this out too.

For a husband and wife, tradition will tell you to lead with the husband’s title and you would use his first and last name: M_ r. and Mrs. Joseph Andersen

We understand this seems like a slightly antiquated practice but such is tradition. If you’d like to throw tradition out the window, simply fill out your wedding RSVP in a way that makes you and your partner most comfortable.

For a same-sex couple, formatting is the same: M_ r. and Mr. Jameson Fillmore

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:

M_ iss Marissa Porte and Mr. Henry Satre

If you need to add children, you may write their first names, if there’s room. You can also indicate that you’re bringing children on the space that asks you to write in your number of attendees.

Wedded Bliss Respond Card

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And remember, if you can’t attend the wedding, it’s important you still fill out the RSVP card, with your names and indicate you cannot attend. If you don’t send your RSVP card back, you can expect a stressed out bride or groom reaching out.

And remember the golden rule of wedding inviting – if you didn’t send your RSVP card back, do not attend the wedding.

Writing the Number of Attendees on the RSVP Card

If the response card does not include food choices, your job is pretty easy. You will simply state the number of people attending or not attending.

But let’s say two people from your home are invited and only one can attend the wedding. The guest that is accepting would fill in the blank line with their title as well as their first and last name. 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.

And remember, you can also write a note on the backside of the RSVP card for clarity. There’s nothing more fun than receiving little personalized notes back from wedding guests.

How to Indicate Your Food Choice

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

Blossoming Respond Card

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And Finally…Send Your RSVP Back on Time

Wedding attendees should reply in time for the couple to receive the RSVP card back by the requested “due date”.

But our best advice is to 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.

Remember - as the wedding date gets closer, couples are often creating what can be a very complicated seating plan and confirming head count with vendors. Give them as much time as possible to adjust it as necessary.

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