An RSVP email – short for répondez s’il vous plait, or “please respond” – helps the hosts of an event keep an accurate count of who will be attending. They’re most commonly used for formal gatherings like weddings and galas.
It’s important to reply to an RSVP email promptly, whether you’re accepting or denying the invitation. If you are accepting, answer any questions the host included in the card and note exactly who will be attending. If you are denying, offer a reason and your appreciation for the invitation.
Here’s how to reply to an RSVP email both positively and negatively.
How to Reply to RSVP Email
Ideally, you’ll want to respond to an RSVP email as soon as you get it; realistically, you’ll want to respond within 48 hours of receiving the message. The exception to this is if there is an “RSVP by” date in the invitation; if that is the case, then you have until the end of that day to respond.
If you are accepting the invitation, you’ll want to confirm who is attending the event – you and, if permissible, your “plus one” – by giving first and last names. You should also review the invitation and answer any questions the host has such as information about food allergies and preferences or special accommodation requests.
You may also ask any questions of the host that you need to for clarification, such as what the dress code is, whether you need to bring a gift, or if there are any other special considerations to be made.
If you are denying the invitation, you should first thank the host for inviting you. Then you can politely decline and offer a reason; this can be as simple as being unable to attend due to nonspecific personal reasons or noting that you are already committed to another event.
In either case, you should express your appreciation for the invitation.
RSVP Response Acceptance and Rejection Examples
RSVP responses tend to be short and to the point, so their composition is largely similar. However, an acceptance email is usually going to be longer than a denial email. You can choose to add whether you are accepting or denying to the subject, but this isn’t necessary.
If you are accepting the invitation, you can use this format.
SUBJECT: Re: RSVP for [Event]
Thank you very much for the invitation to [Event]. You can expect [Name] and me for the occasion. [OR] You can expect me for the occasion.
[In answer to questions] My/Our preferences are [Details]. In terms of accommodations, [Details].
Please let me/us know if there is anything else I/we need to do or bring. I/We look forward to seeing you there!
If you are denying the invitation, you can use this format.
SUBJECT: Re: RSVP for [Event]
Thank you very much for the invitation to [Event]. Unfortunately, I am unable to attend due to [Reason]. Once again, I appreciate the invitation and I wish you the best of luck and a lovely day.
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