How to Respond to an RSVP by Email

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In the era of text messaging and brief social media posts, customs like RSVPs can seem more than a little old-fashioned. However, whether you receive a fancy paper wedding invitation in the mail or an Eventbrite invite through your favorite social media site, an RSVP response is customary. Depending on the instructions in the invitation, you may be able to provide an RSVP email to the sender, saving both time and money. Even if an email response is acceptable, you may have questions about how to format your reply.


How to RSVP

RSVP is an acronym for the French phrase "répondez s'il vous plait," which translates loosely as "please respond." Traditionally, mailed invitations include a stamped envelope with a reply card, which make it easy for the recipient to respond. This is one way to handle a wedding invitation RSVP, with the cost of return postage and extra printing worth it to the happy couple to have an accurate head count.

As postal mail has become less common, RSVP has moved to other formats. The response no longer has to be paper-based. In many instances, you can send an RSVP email or text message. However, if you have been directed on the invitation to reply via a specific method, you should do so. If email is allowed or encouraged or no other method is stipulated, an email response is acceptable, particularly if you have an existing email relationship with the inviter.


Writing a Formal Response

Whether your RSVP response should be formal or not depends on the tone of the invitation itself. A wedding invitation response is typically more formal than an invitation to a backyard barbecue. You need to let the person know whether you're coming and if you are bringing a guest.

Even in email format, a formal response should follow the wording of the invitation. "Richard and Rebecca Rogers accept with pleasure (or regret that they are unable to accept) your kind invitation to the (name of event) on (date of event)." This provides all the information the host needs to add you to or check you off an attendance list.


Writing a Personal Response

If the invitation is casual or you feel comfortable personalizing your response, you can use informal language. RSVP by email, text or direct message on social media, depending on your existing relationship with the sender and how the original invitation was sent. If you neglected your wedding invitation response past the due date, for example, and the bride has asked for tardy respondents to reply as soon as possible, a quick email or text should do it. Write a brief sentence such as, "Richard and I are excited to accept your invitation to your party on Saturday." If you're unable to attend, write, "Richard and I are sorry to say we won't be able to make it on Saturday." If you feel you need to add an explanation for your absence, do so. Often knowing in advance how many will attend is more important to an event host than gathering an excuse for everyone who can't come.