I received a lovely invitation to a friend’s wedding the other day. It was very formal, as expected, with the typical “Mr. and Mrs. so-and-so request your presence at…” language. And then I came to this RSVP card:
What’s the correct way to fill this out? I figured out that the “M____” line is to put my name, so that was clear enough. Just using an “M” at the start of the line lets you put “Mr.”, “Mrs.”, “Ms.” as your title, to keep with the original formal language. But what about the “will ___ attend”?
Well, if I’m not attending I simply write: “will not attend”. OK, that’s easy. But I am attending. Now what? Some options:
- will X attend – An “X” or a checkmark might do it, but looks really tacky. It’d be more appropriate to use these if there was in fact a checkbox for the “will not attend” option too. So that’s not going to work.
- will yes attend – Now that’s some bad grammar. Writing “not” keeps the sentence correct, but “yes” isn’t an effective opposite and it breaks the sentence.
- will definitely attend – There we go, we’ve made a sentence that makes sense. We could also use, “absolutely”, “positively”, “certainly” or any number of other affirmative words. But that little line doesn’t really give you enough space. I’m guessing this is wrong.
- will probably attend – Line space issue aside, this has got to be a major wedding RSVP faux pas. You generally don’t plan for “maybe” guests at a wedding, so that’s right out.
- will ___ attend – Leave it blank. Grammatically and formally, this seems best since it forms a nice sentence, “Mr. C. Taylor will attend.” But leaving it blank makes me a little uneasy. Is simply mailing this back enough to positively confirm that I’ll be there?
- will ___ attend your wedding to the best of his ability. – Ah ha, leaving it blank but writing something afterwards! I mean, what if some catastrophe happens on that day and I can’t make it even though I’ve said yes. This option covers my bases. But alas, scribbling in the rest of the sentence might not be too classy (then again, there’s no period after “attend” so maybe it’s open for expansion).
A quick Google search confirmed that option 5 is indeed the proper etiquette for replying on this type of invitation. Couldn’t this be less of a nerve-wracking choice? I mean, the proper way to answer the question is to not answer it. Checkboxes, while uglier, would be more reassuring since I’ve got a clear yes/no choice.
But actually, checkboxes aren’t even the best choice for this type of one-or-the-other decision. We need invitation response cards with radio buttons.