, , , , , , ,

There is great power in these four little letters: R.S.V.P.

R.S.V.P.-1They request, politely and in French, that we reply to an invitation: Répondez, S’il Vous Plaît

…in other words:
Please Respond.

But these days the idea of letting your host know that you are (or are not) going to attend an event – an event to which you have been so graciously invited – seems to be something that people think is ‘optional’.

It’s not.

I repeat, not replying is not optional.

I’m not entirely sure why there has been a rise in the ‘non-reply’ column but I suspect that it’s a side effect of our more casual lifestyles. Don’t get me wrong, our causal lifestyles are great, but if you’re throwing an event, any kind of event, you really want (and need) to know who is coming. You need to know how many places to set, how many hotdogs to throw on the BBQ, or how many party hats to buy.

Your host hasn’t just included those four little letters for the hell of it…they aren’t there just to keep up with tradition, or to balance out the text on the invitation. They are there because your host actually needs to know how many people will be attending, and they generally need to know by the date given on the invitation.

So please, show your host the consideration of replying. And because we are all so busy, the best thing to do is to reply as soon as you receive the invitation – don’t just look at it and think, I’ll do that later. You won’t. You’ll get distracted and forget. I guarantee it.

Keep in mind that many hosts are working with limited space and send invitations out in waves. Therefore, they need to know if you are going to attend or not. If you are going to attend, wonderful! Say yes, and secure your place. If you’re not, then let your host know so that your seat can be offered to third cousin Fortesque.

If you are truly unsure about whether you can make it, but want to keep the option open, then call your host and explain. Once you have done that, make sure you update them when you have a firm answer. NOTE that this should only be done if there is a legitimate reason, not just because you’re waiting for something better/different to come along.

Top tips for getting it right:

  • RSVP on or before the date requested
  • Use the method requested – telephone, email, the enclosure that arrived with the invitation, an online form, etc
  • Make sure to include all information requested (guest name for your ‘plus one’, dietary/allergy information; meal option, if required). Don’t add to your host’s work load by making them chase you for answers
  • If you need to change your RSVP make sure to do so as soon as you are able
  • …AND under no circumstances should you:
    • Be a ‘no show’ if you have RSVPed yes
    • Show up if you have RSVPed no.

A few last points to keep in mind:

  • Your host didn’t have to invite you
  • The more often you don’t respond to invitations, the fewer times you will be invited
  • You show your host kindness and consideration by replying, and replying quickly
  • Enjoy the party!