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Wedding RSVP Wording and Card Etiquette for Brides and Guests

An RSVP card kindly asks your invitees to “répondez, s’il vous plaît,” which means “please reply” in French.

But how and when an invitation and RSVP is sent makes a difference. As does whether the guests respond on time or at all.

Wedding response card etiquette matters. When sent out and received on time, a wedding RSVP card helps couples create the final guest list and sometimes even helps finalize the catering for the reception.

Most people are unaware of proper RSVP etiquette, says wedding planner Tessa Brand, of Tessa Lyn Events, which is why she’s so passionate about the subject.

Proper RSVP etiquette followed by the host as well as the guests helps finalize the guest list and ensures a smooth wedding planning process.

With Tessa’s advice, this etiquette guide gives the final word on wedding RSVP wording, when to send wedding RSVP cards, what to include in them, what not to include in them, how to address them, and what to do when guests forget to RSVP.

You’ll also find fun and creative wedding RSVP wording ideas. For guests, we help eliminate any questions with information on how to fill out wedding RSVP cards without frustrating the host.

Read the entire wedding RSVP etiquette guide or skip to a section below:

Looking for a timeline for when to send wedding RSVP cards, what to include in the card, and the proper way to send it out? Shutterfly creates the ultimate wedding response card etiquette guide with expert tips from wedding planner Tessa Brand of Tessa Lyn Events.

Timeline: When to Send Wedding RSVP Cards

When should the host mail out wedding RSVP cards? Eight weeks before the wedding date.

A wedding RSVP postcard or card is mailed out along with the official wedding invitation, which is sent six to eight weeks before the big day.

How far before the wedding should the RSVP reply date be? Three to four weeks before the wedding date.

Do you ever not send an RSVP card with your wedding invitation? You don’t need to send out RSVP cards if you’re hosting a ceremony-only wedding.

Follow this checklist before sending out your response cards.

Wedding RSVP Card Checklist

  1. What’s your vision for your big day? With a color scheme and personal style in mind, you can select and create the perfect wedding invitations and RSVP cards.

    Pick your wedding day design scheme. An RSVP wedding card is a piece of the wedding stationery suite, along with the main invitation and any enclosure cards, if they apply. As such, couples choose wedding invitations and RSVP card sets that match the design scheme of their wedding day.

  2. Finalize your guest list. You need a complete and final wedding guest list before you can mail out your cards. Remember, if you’re hosting a ceremony-only wedding, RSVP cards are not required.
  3. Confirm your reception dinner menu. Your wedding response card can also include a choice of entrees for your guests to pick from. But before you can add this to your card, you will need to decide upon your catering company and the final menu for your wedding day.
  4. Pick an RSVP reply date: Set a date for three to four weeks before the date of your wedding when you’d like invitees to reply by.
  5. Choose your wedding cards and stationery. With both a wedding guest list and your design scheme finalized, you can shop for the perfect wedding stationery that reflects your unique vision for your big day.

What to Include in a Wedding RSVP Card

A proper wedding RSVP card requires the following information:

  1. A blank line for the guests to fill out their names. Your guest will use this space to write in their name as well as the name(s) of a spouse, a date, or children who will also be attending the wedding. You will be relying on this information to create your final guest list and create table place cards.
  2. The RSVP reply due date. Use a date three to four weeks before the wedding date.
  3. The “will attend” line. Short and simple, this phrase can say anything along the lines of “Yes, I will attend your wedding.” These are the final people you add to your guest list.

    Your wedding RSVP cards become a trusted source for the correct spelling of your guests’ names, which will be used to create your final guest list and wedding place cards.

  4. The “unable to attend” line. Although disappointing, use this information to cut down your guest list and reduce your wedding expenses. (Blessing in disguise?)
  5. Choice of entrées. Entrée selections should be placed on response cards for weddings offering meal choices at the reception.

What not to include in a wedding response card? Information about the registry. It’s never proper to include registry information in the main wedding invitation or on the wedding response card.

Expert Wedding Planning Tip: How to Decode the Mystery Wedding Guest

“Many guests forget to write their names on the response cards, which leaves a couple wondering who the mystery guests is,” says Tessa. “Use an invisible black light ink marker ($5 on Amazon) to write the guests’ initials on the back of each RSVP card. In the event that a card comes back blank, use your black light to discover the mystery guest.”

Wedding RSVP Card Wording Examples

Here are three varieties of standard wedding RSVP wording.

Wedding RSVP Card with Pre-Addressed and Stamped Envelopes

 

Kindly Respond by

the twenty-second of September

M____________

___Accepts with Pleasure ___Declines with Regrets

 

Wedding RSVP Card with Entrée Options

The Favor of your response is requested by

the twelfth of February

M____________

___ Joyfully Accepts ___ Regretfully Declines

Please initial the meal choice for each guest

_____ Cabernet Filet Mignon

____ Baked Salmon Filet

____ Quinoa with Tempeh

Wedding RSVP Card for Phone or Email Responses

 

M____________

___ Will Attend ___ Unable to Attend

Kindly Respond by

the seventeenth of December

AliceandJack@mail.com

Creative and Fun Wedding RSVP Wording Ideas

If you want, you can have a little fun with your wedding RSVP card wording. Add humor to your cards with these whimsical phrases.

Replace the expected line “accepts with pleasure,” with:

“Declines with regret,” can be replaced with:

How to Address Wedding RSVP Cards

Follow these tips on the proper way to address your wedding RSVP cards:

Proper Etiquette When Guests Fail to Provide RSVP Reply by the Due Date

What happens when a guest doesn’t RSVP to your wedding? According to Tessa, a couple should wait one week after the due date before calling the guests for a verbal response.

While your close friends and family are likely to respond immediately, not everyone has the same enthusiasm or focus. But it doesn’t mean they’re not excited about your wedding!

Most of the time, people simply forget to mail the RSVP reply or the card gets lost in the mail.

If a guest misses the RSVP date, grant them a one-week grace period. After seven days, give them a call. A friendly call is enough to get an accurate head count for your wedding day and keep everyone happy.

For the Wedding Guest: How to Fill out a Wedding RSVP Card

If no one’s ever walked you through it before, filling out wedding response cards can be confusing for guests.

If you’re perplexed by this small piece of stationery, don’t worry. This list of dos and don’ts for an RSVP reply card will ensure that your card reaches its destination without breaching etiquette or missing key information.

A wedding response card should be completed and mailed out ASAP to meet the deadline for the RSVP.

Personalized Wedding RSVP Cards

To go or not to go? That is the question friends and family must answer when they receive a wedding invitation in the mail.

Inserted with the invitation is a wedding RSVP card, or response card, an important piece of stationery that allows guests to do just that.

Shutterfly offers matching wedding invitations and RSVP card sets for a stunning package that reflects your vision for your big day. Along with styles and themes, our RSVP cards can be personalized with unique text and your choice of trim, color palette and type of paper.

From save the date cards to thank you cards and photo books marking the big day, Shutterfly helps the DIY and budget-smart bride create a beautiful, custom wedding stationery experience from end to end.