Wedding Invitation  Etiquette Guide | How to word your invitaions Wedding Invitation  Etiquette Guide | How to word your invitaions

photo by melanie duerkopp


anatomy of an invitation suite

Reply Card Etiquette

Anatomy of a Reply Card


This is the line that formally requests a reply from your guests. The language “the favour of a response is requested by” is the most traditional phrasing and is almost always used with the invitation language indicating that a wedding will be hosted by the bride’s parents with the ceremony held in a place of worship. If the traditional British spelling of honour is used on the invitation, then favour should also be spelled with a “u” on the response card. There are several other less formal phrasing options, such as: “Kindly reply by...” or “Please respond by...”


The reply date will be influenced by two factors: 1) When you mail your invitations and 2) Whether your caterer or venue need a final head count by a specific date prior to the wedding. It is important to check with both of these vendors to make sure you request a reply with enough time for you to provide a count of who will be coming. Keep in mind that you may not have a response from every guest by the specified date and follow up may be necessary. A little extra time should be alotted just in case. Typically responses should be requested two to four weeks in advance of the wedding.


THE “M” LINE - The “M” line on the response card is the place where guests will write in their names. The M itself is meant to designate the first letter of the formal salutation (Mr., Mrs., Miss or Ms.). It is most traditional to use the “M” line, though couples may opt to use the langauge, “Name(s)” instead.


The accept and decline lines are traditionally worded as “accepts with pleasure” and “declines with regret.” There are many other options implying less formality that can be subsituted, such as “joyfully accepts” / “regretfully declines” or “will attend” / “will not attend." A “number attending” line may also be added for guests to specify how many will comprise their party.

Extra Details


Sometimes, specifying exactly how many guests are invited with the invitation is necessary. This is traditionally done using an inner envelope, however, for couples that want to be particularly explicit, a line noting how many seat(s) have been reserved can be added to the reply card. The number will need to be filled in by the couple prior to mailing, but this will send a clear message as to how many people are included in the invitation.


It may also be necessary to ascertain a guest’s meal preference on the response card to provide your caterer with an accurate count for each entrée you will be serving. The best way to word this is to ask each guest to initial their selection. This ensures that you know exactly which meal each guest prefers. The meal options can be written out in full or presented using small icons.