What Is Proper RSVP Etiquette

Curious about proper RSVP etiquette? Not sure how to invite one person but not their children? How do you determine if an event is formal or dressy casual? These tips can help you get the right information to your guests.

If You Are Sending The Invitations:
Making the details as clear as possible can help you and your guests avoid embarrassment later on. Explain the following in your invitations so guests know whether to accept or decline:

Level Of Formality
Your style of invitation will indicate how formal or casual the event will be. However, if you plan on going black tie, make sure your invitations reflect the formality of the event, and say it's a black tie event in the invite itself.

Who Is Invited
Spell out exactly who is invited. If you do not want a guest to think mistakenly that she can bring along dates or children, make sure your invitation response card lists each person invited with a space for a check right there on the card indicating that she is or is not attending. With no extra space or name on the response card, no one can justify bringing along the kids or a new beau.

Allow Enough Time
Send Save the Date announcements four to six months in advance; send invitations six to eight weeks in advance.

Give All Needed Details
Make sure you provide date, time, location and information on nearby lodging for out-of-town guests. If the reception will take place somewhere other than the wedding location, make sure to include this information also.

If You Are Responding To An Invitation:
Respond to an RSVP invitation-even if you can't go-right away, lest the bride or groom have to track you down to get your answer. The only time you don't need to respond is if the event is "regrets only," meaning it will be assumed you will be there unless you respond saying you can't come.

Pay Attention To The Level Of Formality
Let the style of the invitation, the location and any other subtle clues tell you how formal or casual this event will be. You can always look up the location online and get a clue from the invite itself. If you can't determine how formal the event will be, call and ask. It's better to ask than show up terribly under or overdressed.

Indicate Clearly How Many Are Attending
If both you and your significant other are invited, but only you can attend, make sure you communicate this so the bride and groom know how much food to order and how many guests to plan on. Never invite someone who was not specifically invited on the invitation.

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