Ben Whitley’s Thoughts on R.s.v.p. – simply put, “Please reply.”

Ben Whitley

R.S.V.P is a very traditional way to elicit a reply from people to whom you have sent an invitation to an event. The French phrase, upper/lower case letters are most commonly used, though there are other schools of thought. Some people insist on R.S.V.P. or RSVP. All forms are accepted usage. (R.S.V.P. is the French acronym for repondez s’il vous plait – “please reply”.)

…I myself prefer the upper/lower case R.s.v.p. after 33 years in the stationery/invitation business. (Some habits are hard to break!)

Consistently through the years I have listened to customers ruminate about the lack of courtesy with regard to responses. One would like to think that many of the recipients would themselves have had the same unwelcome experience. …Since we are in reality talking about money here, this is a critical issue. Responding to “Are you or are you not coming?” is more than a courtesy – it is vital information!

Although R.s.v.p is used on formal invitations such as weddings or formal dinners, on less formal invitations such phrases as “Please reply” or “Please respond” are often used. Some people seem to find R.s.v.p. intimidating.

In addition, today we most often put a cut-off date on the reply line (Please reply by October 20.). This gives license to call or email non-responders and ask if they are coming or not. It’s sad that we have come to this, but at least it gives you a last resort.

Bottom line – when a response is required, respond promptly. It will make everyone’s life better and eliminate unnecessary stress. Do unto others what you expect from them.

Say it on paper,


Bering’s Stationer


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