RSVP etiquette

Definition of RSVP: An abbreviation of "répondez s'il vous plaît", which is French for "please reply".

Before you can arrange your seating plan you need to know how many guests are coming. You can confirm numbers by sending out RSVPs. Typically RSVPs are sent out at least a month before the event. Your RSVP should make clear:

  • the nature and location, date and time of the event
  • who is invited (are children invited?)
  • a deadline for accepting (expecting people to reply within a week is not unreasonable)
  • how they can accept or decline (e.g. telephone, letter or email)
  • (optional) choice of meal

RSVP cards often include a space for the guest to fill-in and return.

You should always include a date by which people must reply, otherwise some people may decide to leave it to the day before the event. Chase up stragglers with a phone call once the reply deadline has expired.

If it is an important event and you want to warn people to keep the date free long before you send out RSVPs, you can send 'save the date' cards.

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