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What is the correct way to RSVP?

Whether you receive an invitation to a formal event like a wedding or a casual get-together with friends, it is essential to respond appropriately with an RSVP. RSVP comes from the French phrase “Répondez s’il vous plaît,” which means “Please respond” in English.

Responding to an invite confirms your attendance or declines the invitation, making it easier for hosts to plan and prepare accordingly. Failing to respond can be rude and may leave the host with a lot of uncertainty, resulting in underestimating or overestimating the guest count.

However, RSVP etiquette can be a bit tricky to navigate, especially if you don’t get invited frequently or you have never attended an event of a similar caliber. In this article, we will explore the appropriate way to respond to an invitation and breaking down the RSVP etiquette to make it easier to follow.

What is an RSVP?

An RSVP is your response to an invitation sent by the host, whether it’s an email invitation, paper invitation, or a verbal invitation. The RSVP is typically sent to clarify whether you are attending or not, the date and time, and if you plan to bring a guest.

An RSVP is essential to the host, as it helps them determine the final headcount, plan for seating, food, and drinks, and other details. This allows the host to be better prepared and ensure that all guests have a good time.

RSVP Etiquette

RSVP etiquette is essential and shows the host that you’re taking their event seriously and you respect their invitation. Here are some general rules to follow when responding to an RSVP:

  • Always respond promptly – The RSVP date is the deadline for responding to the invite, so don’t wait until the last minute to let the host know whether you’re attending or not. If you need to check your calendar or arrange for a babysitter, be sure to take care of that as soon as possible.
  • Be Clear – If the invitation is for you alone, let the host know you are “Regrettably declined” if you can’t make it. If you want to bring a guest, indicate the number of additional guests you will bring, so the host can plan accordingly.
  • Type and send out the RSVP in the same manner the invitation came to you. If the host invited you by email, then respond by email and vice versa.
  • Respond even if you can’t make it – Even if you can’t make it to the event, respond to the invitation and let the host know. It’s always better to decline than to ignore the invitation completely.

Types of RSVPs

RSVPs come in different types, and the host may use any of these methods to communicate with their guests. Here are the different types of RSVPs you may come across:

Phone or Email RSVP

Some hosts may send their invites through emails or text messages, and the invite will typically contain instructions on how to RSVP. This can be a simple “Reply with Yes or No,” or the host might require more information like whether you’re bringing a guest or dietary needs.

If the invitation comes through the phone, the host would require confirmation of your attendance and other details. It’s essential to respond as soon as possible, whether with a text message or a phone call.

Mail-Reply RSVP

Often, formal events may use mail-reply RSVP, a more traditional way of responding. This type of RSVP comes with a separate card, usually included in the invitation, where you fill in your details and return the card by mail.

You should always use this card to respond to the invitation and include all the necessary details such as indicating whether you’re attending or not, along with the number of guests and dietary restrictions.

Online RSVP

Online RSVPs are becoming increasingly popular for casual events like parties, weddings, and baby showers. The host will typically provide a link that takes you to a webpage where you can RSVP to the event.

Just like phone and email RSVPs, you’re expected to respond as soon as possible to let the host know if you’re attending and the number of guests you plan to bring. Note that some hosts may require a password to access the page or limit the number of guests per invite.


RSVP is an important part of etiquette when it comes to events and gatherings. It shows that you appreciate the invitation and respect the host. Properly responding to an event invitation can help the host plan for the event accordingly, leading to a better experience for all the guests.

Remember, when responding to an RSVP, be clear and prompt, indicate whether you’re attending, the number of guests you will bring, and any dietary needs or restrictions you may have. Lastly, always respond even if you can’t make it.