What Does RSVP Mean on an Invitation? RSVP Definition & Meaning

There is a small envelope in your mailbox that is beautiful. No, it’s not a bill or junk mail. No, this letter is far more important. You’re the lucky recipient of a wedding invitation. Your friends or loved ones request your attendance regardless of whether it’s gold-trimmed, adorned, or printed on scented paper. It makes sense to scan the page and notice one part leap: RSVP.

RSVP is a French phrase that means “to respond.” It’s used as a verb and an adjective, which can be confusing for some people. In this article, we’ll explore the meaning of RSVP and how it’s used in varying contexts. We’ll also give advice on how to respond to invitations, cancel or change your responses, and more!

What does RSVP mean?

RSVP is an abbreviation for the French phrase “Répondez s’il vous plaît”, which translates to “Please respond.”

It’s used as a request for guests to respond to a party invitation by sending a written response or calling the host.

What Does RSVP Mean

How to respond to an invitation.

RSVP means “reply if you plan to attend.” It’s an invitation with a specific deadline or date by which you must respond with your answer: yes or no.

There are many reasons why couples choose to include an RSVP on their wedding invitations, but the most important reason is so they can get an accurate headcount for their event—and perhaps make sure they have enough food and drink!

Another reason is so they know how many people to expect at their wedding. When couples don’t ask for a response, it can lead to confusion on their part when they show up with 100 guests and only 50 people are there! In addition, some couples also like knowing who will be able to attend their wedding—and who can’t make it. It’s also nice for them to have an idea of how many tables they’ll need or if they should hire outside help (such as bartenders or servers).

Why It’s Important to RSVP

RSVPs are important for planning

Responding to an invitation is an absolute must, whether you intend to go or not. The chances are that the couple had to make some rather tricky decisions when creating the guest list. Put simply, every wedding guest costs. The price-per-head will always factor into the overall budget. So, the fact that you got invited may mean someone else did not.

With that in mind, letting the couple know whether you will be attending is plain good manners. Should you not be able to make it, for whatever reason, they may be able to invite someone from their ‘maybe’ list. On the other hand, if you’re planning to be a part of their special day, you need to let them know as soon as you can so they can plan accordingly and avoid overspending on food and drink!

How to Cancel or Change an RSVP

If you need to cancel or change your RSVP, the couple will appreciate it if you let them know as soon as possible. As soon as you know that your circumstances have changed, reach out to the couple. While you want to avoid an overly complicated explanation, you should include a reason. For example:

  • “We’ve decided not to attend.”
  • “I’m afraid we won’t be able to make it this year.”
  • “We’ll be out of town for work.”

RSVP Wording Etiquette

If you’re struggling with how to respond, don’t panic! There is a simple way to answer invitations. You don’t need to write an entire essay—just keep things short and snappy. Here is an example of how you can reply if you are attending the couple’s special day:

In a friendly tone

Here’s an example of how you can reply if you are attending the couple’s special day:

Dear [Insert Couple’s Names],


We would like to accept with pleasure the kind invitation to your wedding on Saturday, July 25 at 1.00 PM. We gleefully look forward to the event.

Kind wishes, 

[Insert Your Name(s)]


While the above example works for most circumstances, you may want to jazz things up. If you’re close to the couple in question or simply feel creative, you can add a splash of personality into your RSVP. See the following example:

Dear [Insert Couple’s Names],

Thank you so much for including us in your wedding plans. We accept with pleasure the kind invitation to your wedding on Saturday, July 25 at 1.00 PM. We cannot wait to celebrate your big day with you!

Kind wishes, 

[Insert Your Name(s)]

That’s all well and good, but what if you can’t attend the wedding? The golden rule here is not to overexplain the situation. The most likely reason you can’t make it is simply that you’re busy—nothing more, nothing less. Be sure to state that you have a prior engagement and wish the couple well. Here’s a quick example:

Dear [Insert Couple’s Names],

We would like to thank you for the kind invitation to your wedding on Saturday, July 25 at 1.00 PM. Regrettably, we will be unable to attend due to prior commitments. We wish you the best on your special day!

Kind wishes, 

[Insert Your Name(s)]

Needless to say, you may need to add more information to your personalized RSVP letter or message. If the couple has asked what meals you would like or for other details, you can include them here. Of course, you may also need to include the RSVP card and check the appropriate boxes too. Read the invitation fully and ensure that you follow the instructions down to the letter.



When does a wedding RSVP need to be returned by?

Many couples will provide an exact date to respond to their RSVP, but there may not always be a deadline. If the timeline isn’t specified, it is expected that you send your response at least a month before the wedding date. Remember, earlier is always better.

What should I expect on an RSVP for a wedding?

The purpose of an RSVP is to address the status of your attendance. Sometimes, couples may ask you to choose your food preferences or pick a favorite song they hope to hear on the dance floor.

How do online RSVPs work?

Online RSVPs may be sent via email or even through text. Sometimes, a couple will expect you to respond through a section on their wedding website. Also, you can find helpful information like the venue’s address or hotel blocks. Follow the prompts to submit your response—and save the link to refer to later just in case.


RSVP is a useful word to know, and it’s important to understand its meaning. You may have heard it before in the context of invitations or parties, but do you know what RSVP stands for? RSVP is short for “répondez s’il vous plaît,” which means “please respond.” It’s often used as part of an invitation that asks guests to respond with their intention of attending an event.