R.s.v.p. or Regrets Only – What Exactly is the Difference?

R.S.V.P.Most invitations include some sort of R.s.v.p., the abbreviation for Répondez, s’il vous plaît, which means, “Respond, please” in French.  Responding to an invitation lets the host know how many guests will be attending – crucial information when having a sit-down dinner or a catered party that requires specific head counts.

  • Only R.s.v.p. or R.S.V.P. are truly correct, according to both Emily Post’s Etiquette: Manners for a New World and Crane & Co.’s The Wedding Blue Book.
  • It is never correct to use “Please R.s.v.p.” because that says “Please respond please”!
  • Phone number or email address?  These days, providing an email address is just as acceptable as a phone number.  Here are two questions that can help you decide to use one or both:  “Will ALL of my guests be comfortable responding via email?” and “What will be the most convenient way for me to process all the responses from my guests?”
  • When you need to provide an accurate head count for a caterer, include a “Reply by” date, usually a week or more before the event.

It may be tempting to add “Regrets only” instead of R.s.v.p. to save from being inundated by phone calls or emails. This is not the best option when an accurate head count is needed. Many guests find it confusing and either call anyway or simply forget to call and then fail to show up. Be aware that if you use “Regrets only,” you will not know for certain if everyone is coming or no one at all!

R.s.v.p. or Regrets only?  If there is any detail of your party that is dependent upon an exact head count, an R.s.v.p. is more appropriate. With a casual drop-in affair or Open House where the refreshments and entertainment are ordered regardless of the number of attendees, using “Regrets only” is just fine.

Have questions? Stop by either Bering’s location to have our knowledgeable stationers help you with all of your invitation and stationery needs.

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