Wedding RSVP Card Wording

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Wedding RSVP card wording–can’t it just be check “yes” or “no”?

Yep! It sure can. Buuut, there are a few tricks of the trade you might want to know before settling on generic wedding RSVP card wording.

Because if you have limited seating, reception dinner options, and/or a no-kids policy, you’re going to need a little more than a tick mark next to “can’t wait to celebrate” or “will toast from afar”.

Maybe you want guests to request a song.

Or accommodate dietary restrictions.

And, obviously, you need to know how many folks are coming.

I needed almost all of the above for my own RSVP cards, but guess which ones I used? None. Why? Because I didn’t know how to do it. I was swimming in a sea of etiquette rules when designing my own wedding stationery, and I had no idea all of the limitless possibilities there were for wedding rsvp card wording.

Thankfully, I’ve learned a lot from my own personal and professional experience, and I’ve been able to help thousands of brides since then navigate their way through a carefully crafted response card.

In today’s post, I’m summing up #allthethings on wedding RSVP card wording. You’ll learn:

  • What the “M” stands for

  • When your reply-by date should be

  • How to address limited seating or adults-only on reply cards

  • Fun rsvp wording ideas

  • And more!

I’ve also got a handy dandy resource called The Perfect Invite Kit–which has wording samples, rsvp wording samples and yes, even details card wording samples. The kit is in my Wedding Stationery Library, and I think you’re gonna just love it!

Join the Wedding Stationery Library to gain FREE access to all of my stationery resources, like the Perfect Invite Kit. Fill out the details below, and I’ll see ya on the other side!


What does the “M” stand for on reply cards?

The “M” stands for Mr. or Mrs., where guests can indicate their respective title, assuming it begins with “M”. However, if you have many guests who are doctors or if you are unsure of correct titles, you may choose to have a blank line or use “Names” followed by a blank line. This way, guests can fill it out accordingly.

What should the reply-by date be?

I am always surprised when I hear wedding professionals suggest the reply-by date be two weeks in advance of your wedding date.

Y’all–that is not going to give you enough time to get everything in order before the big day! (Not to mention, guests may be late sending in their responses.)

I’ve found that at least four weeks in advance of the wedding date is a sweet spot for the reply-by date. It gives you plenty of time to get things in order before the big day–like passing along meal choices to your caterer, getting place cards, making your seating chart, etc. It also gives you a good cushion of time to follow up with those late RSVPers.

Our caterer needs to know the entrée selection for each guest, how do we indicate meal preferences on reply cards?

Keeping in mind that your reply card should be as brief as possible, I recommend adding this phrase, “Please initial the entrée selection of each guest” on reply cards.

Underneath that phrase, add meal options, such as “chicken/beef/vegetarian”. Adding the full name of the meal (i.e. “Sirloin with Port Wine Demi-Glaze”) is unnecessary and can overcrowd small reply cards.

If you are worried that guests in your party may have allergies, at the bottom of your reply card, use this phrase “Dietary restrictions” followed by a blank line for guests to write out special requests.

Putting it all together, here’s how a reply card with meal options can look:

The favor of a response is requested by the fourteenth of June

M ____

Please initial the entrée selection of each guest

_ Beef

_ Chicken

_ Vegetarian

Dietary restrictions: ____

Do I have to use “number of guests” on our reply cards? I’m worried guests will invite extra people.

Having an accurate headcount is incredibly important for your big day, especially since I’ve seen the catering staff make a made dash for more tables, linens and chairs during an actual wedding reception before. This can end up being awkward for everyone involved.

For this reason, I think some form of “_ number of guests attending” on your reply cards is important.

This also makes a good case for having inner envelopes. With an inner envelope, you can write individual names of all guests invited. So the outer envelope would say, “Mr. and Mrs. John Whitmire” and the inner envelope could include the parents and children, such as “John, Sarah, Joseph and Ella”. If a guest can bring a plus-one, your inner envelope could say “Joseph and guest”.

Instead of “number of guests”, you can also use this phrase underneath your response date:

We have reserved _ seat(s) in your honor.

This option is straightforward and elegant. (Side note: It’s also my personal favorite!)

If you are still worried unexpected guests may arrive (and I totally get it, because I had the same feeling at my wedding!), then you can nix the “number of guests” phrase altogether.

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How do we indicate limited seating or adults-only on reply cards?

Traditionally, you never write “adults-only” on wedding invitations or reply cards. It can come across as offensive to some guests. However, there are a few clever workarounds.

First, make sure your envelopes are addressed to invited guests only. If you aren’t having any children at your event, that means the envelope could read something like, “Mr. and Mrs. John Whitmire”. If inner envelopes are included, you inner envelope will be addressed to the parents, “John and Sarah”.

Optionally, there are two phrases you can add on your response cards. At the top of your reply card, under the reply-by date, add:

We have reserved _ seat(s) in your honor.

or, at the bottom of your response card under the accepts/declines, add:

_ of _ guest(s) attending

With the second option, you will write in the number of invited guests in the second blank. (Guests will write in the number attending in the first blank.

Are there fun rsvp wording options aside from “accepts” or “declines”?

Absolutely! There are tons and tons of options. However, sometimes being direct is the best approach to prevent confusion. Here are a few fun rsvp wording options:

Can’t wait to celebrate / Will toast from afar

Graciously accepts / Sadly declines

Wouldn’t miss it / Will be there in spirit

Can’t wait / Can’t make it

Do I have to pre-stamp RSVP envelopes?

Ideally, the perfect RSVP envelope is pre-stamped and pre-addressed with your return address. It makes it so much easier for guests to pop it back in the mail to you.

Technically, however, stamps are optional, although it is common practice today (and a nice gesture) to pre-stamp them. Pre-addressed RSVP envelopes are absolutely required.

How do I write online RSVP wording?

Today, it’s very common for couples to request that their guests reply online. Modern tech makes it super easy to help you keep track of RSVPs, meal choices, and more. That being said, it’s acceptable to have guests RSVP online rather than mail.

Keep online RSVP wording short and sweet.

The favor of a response is requested by the fourteenth of June
on our wedding website at

And there you have it, friends!

Ready to wordsmith your way to the perfect invitation? Let’s mark one more thing off of your wedding to-do list. Join the Wedding Stationery Library to gain FREE access to my favorite stationery resources, like my Perfect Invite Kit–which has wording samples, rsvp wording samples and yes, even details card wording samples. Fill out the details below, and I’ll see ya on the other side!