RSVP (invitations)

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In the context of social invitations, RSVP is a process for a response from the invited person or people. It is an initialism derived from the French phrase Répondez s'il vous plaît meaning "Please respond". The acronym "RSVP" or the phrase "Répondez s'il vous plaît" are sometimes still used in current French to require confirmation of an invitation.[1][better source needed] In French, however, the acronym SVP, initialism for S'il vous plaît, is used to write "please", and RSVP could be written "répondez SVP."

Post, Funk & Wagnalls, 1975 and some recent editions describe breaching this standard as "inexcusably rude".[citation needed]

The Emily Post Institute advises anyone receiving an invitation with an RSVP on it must reply promptly, and should reply within a day or two of receiving the invitation.[2]

RSVP, regrets only[edit]

The phrase "RSVP, regrets only", or simply "Regrets only", is a popular modern variation that implies "if you do not reply, that will be taken as an acceptance."

More specifically, if most invitations can be assumed to be accepted, a "regrets only" RSVP will reduce the communication required by both the host and his/her guests. The phrase "Regrets only" refers to the assumption that a decline will be worded with some variation of "We regret we cannot attend..."; it follows that if the guest intends to attend the event then any "regrets" must be missing from the reply.[3]

Save the date cards[edit]

Prior to sending the RSVP invitation, the host may mail out a "save the date" card to advise the date and location of the celebration. This may be used when the event will be held in a distant location to allow for travel plans, such as a wedding, christening or any other important event.[4]

RSVP please[edit]

In recent years, the use of RSVP in the English language has spread outside of the discourse of highly formal correspondence and commonly figures in group emails. In this context, the acronym seems to have loosened its tie to its original meaning and is often understood simply as an abbreviation for "reply". Some writers therefore routinely use the phrase "RSVP please",[citation needed] which is a pleonasm.


  1. ^ fr:Invitation
  2. ^ "Invitation Etiquette". The Emily Post Institute, Inc. Retrieved 2012-06-24. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ "Invitation Etiquette". The Emily Post Institute, Inc. Retrieved 2012-06-24. 

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