I wrote this blog post in 2009. It appears on blog site as one of the most popular posts so I thought I would share it here since this is the season for parties, weddings, showers, etc.
The term R.S.V.P comes from the French expression “répondez s’il vous plaît”, meaning “please respond”. If RSVP is written on an invitation it means the invited guest must tell the host or hostess whether or not they plan to attend the party or event. It does not mean to respond only if you’re coming, and it does not mean respond only if you’re not coming (the term “regrets only” is reserved for that instance). It means the host/hostess needs a definite head count for the planned event, and needs it by the date specified on the invitation. Or if a date is not specified, then the invitee needs to respond with a yes or no answer ASAP. Exert from About.com: Entertaining
I think most people think that RSVP means, ‘I’m suppose to let you know if I plan to attend.’ That would be nice, especially if there is a date stating to please respond by such and such a date.
Have you ever planned or hosted an event, party, dinner, etc.? Is it me or are people just oblivious to the terms, R.S.V.P, Regrets Only, or even more directive, ‘Please let me know you are coming OR NOT.’
I started musings about this a few weeks ago and wrote out my thoughts and said OK, let me come back to this later. The next evening I showed up at a networking event and got busted because guess who had not responded!? You guessed it, Me! I swear I thought I did. So I guess the moral of the story, (as the old saying goes), ‘don’t point the finger at anyone, because you have three pointing back at you.’
In today’s busy busy world, we forget, we procrastinate, we get busy, etc. I think we all have good intentions. We need to put ourselves in the person’s shoes who is hosting the event. Think about the last time you hosted an event. Let them know yes, no, or maybe, and follow up as soon as you know the maybe turns into a yes or no. And try not to wait until the last minute unless it is just unavoidable. The hostess has to plan. If food is involved, they have to plan for the number of guests, prepare the food, etc., not to mention every thing else that’s involved.
Get yourself organized. Plan ahead. Does living in a ‘spur of the moment,’ ‘flying by the seat of your pants,’ ‘Let’s see if the stars and the moon align just right I might go’ work for you? This is not being very respective or courteous to the hostess. And I love it when someone says, Well you know I’ll probably be there.’ No folks, the hostess doesn’t know. She is probably like me, she failed ‘Crystal Ball 101’ and ‘Basic Mind Reading.’
One more thing…..If you need directions or want to ask a question, call a day or two ahead of time. Don’t wait until you’re walking out the door. Another one of my other pet peeve, waiting until the day of the event and especially a few hours before hand to call and ask for directions (which were included in the invitation), ask if they can bring anything, or to call to say why they can’t come and keep you the phone for an hour. For several years we hosted a huge summer party and I always put my significant other’s cell phone number on the invitation as the number to call the day of the event. When you’re trying to get ready for 50 to 100 people to show up, you just have got some stuff to do and you just don’t have time to shoot the sX%!)… I’m mean breeze.
So the next time you receive an invitation and it says R.S.V.P., put yourself in that host/hostesses situation and give them a courtesy answer, even if you may not know until closer to the date. They need some sort of idea of a headcount for planning purposes.
May your next event or party be a smashing success.
Painted Lady Enterprises
“Helping You and Your Business Look Good”