Just the other day I was having a discussion with a friend about her son’s birthday party and how she had guests that did not RSVP. This of course led into a further conversation about what to do if guests showed up that didn’t RSVP and how many ‘extras’ you need of everything just in case that happened. All of which would have been a non-issue if everyone would have appropriately called to RSVP.
So this got me thinking.. What does RSVP really mean?? What is the proper RSVP etiquette? Is it a dying art?
Let’s first talk about… What does RSVP stand for? RSVP stands for a French phrase which means “please reply”. Essentially the person sending the invitation would like you to tell him or her whether you accept or decline the invitation. The response can be either with a formal letter back (usually for weddings or corporate events), a quick phone call (birthday parties, social gatherings), or even an electronic email. All depending on the type of event. Some invitations will carry a “regrets only” note at the end. Which means that the host will assume you are coming and you should only respond if you are unable to attend.
Why is RSVPing so important? If you have ever actually planned a party or event you should understand this one. The host needs to know how much of everything they need. How much food? How many utensils? How many drinks? How many seats? How many party favors? Planning a party can be stressful enough.. let alone having to play a guessing game of WHO might show up. So it’s simple courtesy to let the person, nice enough to invite you, to know whether you accept or regretfully decline their invitation.
So last but not least.. Is RSVPing a dying art? Normally for the events that I have hosted I have asked others to RSVP and I normally add an end date to the invitation. It’s also common that by that said date I will have a list of folks that I then turn and call because I have not heard from them. It can be frustrating, but it’s been my only way of knowing how to plan for a party.
Have I ever forgotten to RSVP to a party.. of course, I’m human, and like everyone else I’m extremely busy. BUT I’m talking about those individuals that routinely don’t RSVP (yes, you know who you are.. you nonresponders!). You need to fight the grain of social ignorance (as some report is the reason for the lack of RSVPing). We need to bring back the quick and timely responses to all future RSVPs received; making all of our lives a little easier. So next time you receive an invitation make sure to répondez, s’il vous plait.
– Mommy H.
(Yes – Party of 3)