What Does RSVP Mean Anyway

Have you ever stopped to think about what RSVP actually stands for. Most people know that RSVP is to let someone planning an event know whether you are able to attend. Where did the RSVP phrase come from?

The term RSVP comes from the French phrase, “Respondez, s’il vous plait,” which means “Please respond.”

Many of the etiquette practices in the United States originated from the French court of King Louis XIV in the late 17th and early 18th c­enturies. RSVP became the polite way to remind people if you receive an invitation, you should respond.

In most wedding invitations, an RSVP card is included with return postage for guests to reply whether they are able to attend. The RSVP typically includes a line for guests to write their name and boxes to indicate whether they will be attending or if they are unable to attend. If the wedding meal is a plated dinner, a space is included to indicate the guest’s meal preference.

RSVP card collage by Betsy N Co

The wording can vary from formal, “Kindly accepts,” to a fun personal flair, “Wouldn’t miss it for the world.”

Today, a lot of couples are including more ways for guests to be involved in the wedding plans. One of those ways is by including a line on the RSVP’s for guests’ song preferences. It’s often worded “I promise to dance if you play……”

Traditionally, RSVP’s are mailed back with an enclosed envelope. Many couples are opting to use a RSVP postcard to save on the cost of the envelope as well as the postage cost.

If the event is smaller and less formal, like a birthday party or baby / bridal shower, an invitation may just include a line to RSVP to a specific person by phone, text or email. Many people use the “Regrets Only” line to indicate to only contact if you will not be attending.

Now that you know the formal history behind the RSVP phrase, you have no excuse when responding to an event invitation! 



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