Wedding RSVP Wording Examples

The right way to word your wedding reply card

wedding RSVP card, close-up
(Walter B. McKenzie/The Image Bank/Getty Images)

Since a wedding is a formal event, you should include a response card with the invitation, but do you know how a response card should be worded or the proper RSVP etiquette? Or are there other ways for guests to RSVP?

Once upon a time, people didn’t need response cards. When they received a written invitation, they would RSVP on their own stationery, offering congratulations and whether or not they would be able to attend.

With the invention of the telephone and email, it has become customary to include a response card for formal invitations and to ask people to RSVP by telephone or email for casual invitations.

RSVP Card Wording:

The good news is that there isn’t a “correct” way of wording a response card. Instead, ​there are styles that are more appropriate for a formal wedding and some that best suited for a casual wedding. There are also some styles best for a bride and groom with a very tight guest list and for the person who needs to have a total control and knowledge of who is and isn’t coming to the wedding.

Common Styles of Response Card Wording:

The favor of a reply is requested
by June 1, 2014.
M_____________________________
____ Accepts with pleasure
____ Declines with regrets

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

M_____________________________

Will ______ Attend

The line is meant for your guest to fill in Ms., Mr. or Mrs., and write their name(s).

In the first option, they simply check off whether or not they can come. In the second option, your guest will RSVP in the affirmative by only writing their name and leaving the space in between “will” and “attend” blank. If they must decline, they will write “not.”

Formal Response Card Wording:

Some couples prefer to not include response cards; Miss Manners herself even calls them horrid.

A compromise for a formal wedding is to use a small, simple card that says, “The favor of a reply is requested by June 1, 2014,” or, “We look forward to hearing from you.” Most people will either write a note on their personal stationery or use the card itself to send back a note. A few will call or email you, and that will be okay in the end.

Casual, Fun Response Card Wording:

We look forward to
celebrating with you.
Please reply by June 1, 2014
M___________________________
____ accepts _____ regrets

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

We have reserved two seats in your honor.
M___________________________
{ } Accept with pleasure
{ } Decline with regret
Please respond by June 1, 2014

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

___________________________

____is/are looking forward to dining, dancing, and celebrating

____has/have to miss the fun

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Please take a moment to fill in the blanks:

____________!
(Exclamation)

_____________ is/are ____________ to attend
(Your name(s)) (able/unable)

There are ___________ people in our posse.
(total number)

Kindly mail by June 1, 2014

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Kindly reply before June 1, 2014

Name(s)

_________________

___Can’t wait!

___Can’t come!

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Other Things to Include:

  • You may have guests who will neglect to write in their names or who write illegibly. Solve this problem by numbering your guest list, then inconspicuously writing the corresponding number on the back of each response card. Trust me, you’ll thank me for it later.
  • Even if you're doing a “fill-in-the-blank” style response card, you still may wish to leave some blank area for guests to write personal notes. The notes you’ll receive will likely be a mix of simple, humorous and poignant, but above all, unforgettable.
  • In order to get an exact number of attendees, you may wish to include this line “____ number attending."
  • Some guests will assume that their guests/dates/friends are invited, regardless of to whom you address the card. You can avoid these assumptions by writing “___ of ___ guest(s) will attend,” and then pre-filling in the second blank with the number of people that you are inviting. Some may find this slightly distasteful, but it certainly does get the point across! If a guest's date is, in fact, invited, simply address the invitation to both of them.
  • Include an easy way for guests to reply by pre-addressing and stamping a return envelope. You may also wish to include a phone number or email address. Just make sure that email isn’t the only way to reply.
  • Particularly if you are inviting a large number of families with children, you may wish to include separate lines reading:
    Number Attending Ceremony _______
    Number Attending Reception ______
  • When I am invited to a wedding without a guest, I hate having to reply on a card grammatically written for a couple, e.g. M__________ accept with pleasure. If this bothers you as well, be sure to include the single and plural forms, or write the response card so that it is universally appropriate. For example:
    Name(s) _____________________
    ___ will attend with pleasure
    ___ must decline with regret