Wednesday, May 12, 2010

What I Think About--RSVP

With wedding and graduation season upon us, I feel the need to talk about the art of the RSVP.

RSVP is commonly found on wedding, birthday, and other celebratory invitations.  However, if you've ever thrown a party--or known someone who has--you've probably heard the host or hostess bemoaning the lack of RSVPs for the event.

Perhaps not RSVPing is an indication at the growing rudeness in our nation (I've already complained about ingratitude and the lack of thank you cards).  Perhaps people simply don't understand what RSVP means.  In the spirit of giving people the benefit of the doubt, here is what RSVP means and what you should do about it.

The initials RSVP come from a French term "répondez s'il vous plaît" which basically means "please respond."  

If you receive an invitation requesting an RSVP, it clearly indicates that the host/ess desires a firm head count as to who is coming to the party.  Unless the invitation says "RSVP regrets only" then you should respond regardless of whether you plan on attending or not.  

Not responding to an RSVP request puts extra burden on the host (and causes countless other problems--how much food to order?  How many chairs to set up?  How many favors to have?).

Now for a sad story.  

A few weeks ago (on April 13) I did a tribute to my nephew on his 10th birthday.  In true etiquette fashion, my sister dutifully sent out invitations to her son's party.  NO ONE, not one single person responded to the RSVP.  Knowing that not responding to RSVPs is a growing epidemic, my sister thought little of it (though she was terribly irritated).  Come the birthday boy's big party day, not one child showed up.  Can you imagine this?  Being 10 and having NO ONE come to your party?  There was my sister with her crying son, a huge cake, an expensive pool rental, tons of food and toys for party favors and no guests.  Shame on the parents who didn't RSVP.  Now I know what you're thinking--she should have called to check in--but really, she did her part.  The parents of the invited children should have RSVPed "NO" if they couldn't make it. That way, my sister could have been prepared to deal with the hurt feelings of a disappointed little boy.

This season when you get those wedding invitations or graduation invites, do the polite thing and let the host know whether or not you will attend the event.

If you can't go, RSVP NO.
If you can go, RSVP YES.
If you aren't sure, call the host and explain the situation and see what she would like to do about your "maybe."

What I think about RSVPs is we all need to be more polite and respond when we are invited to an event. 


  1. Amen. I think way too many people think that you only have to respond if you're coming for sure.

  2. I forgot to tell you that I left an award on my blog for you yesterday :) If you don't have time to respond, it's ok!

  3. This is a technologic society. I don't know many people who don't have cell phones with texting, internet with the ability to send an email, and there is still the good ol' standby by of snail mail. What gets me is that if you don't want to attend something but are afraid to personally confront the inviter, simply send a text or an e-mail. Simple. That is what frustrates me the most outside of the obvious lack of common courtesy.

  4. @Sarah--Right. Like we shouldn't plan for them unless they say they are coming when really the opposite is true. Hostess always plan for more, not less!


    @Randean--no kidding. Sometimes I feel having a lack of courtesy by NOT inviting someone (and then telling them when they ask why that it is expensive to invite them and never know if they are coming or not). Ok, I'd never do it but my passive-aggressive thought process is there!

  5. Girl you are so right. I so wanted to put the RSVP on Mike's graduation open house invites but no not a single soul will RSVP so I'm planning for 50 and if more come well tough luck, you could of told me, if less come, well I guess we'll have lots of cake to eat. Thank goodness for daycare kids.
    I feel so sorry for your nephew, how unfair was that. Some people are so mean.
    Thanks for sharing this and from now on I will always make sure I RSVP (even though I do I'll make sure, for sure).
    Take care and have a great and blessed afternoon.

  6. That is so sad about your nephew's party, how horrible not one person RSVP'd! I always have problems with RSVP, I even had to call a few people when I got married because I needed a head count and they didn't RSVP. Good topic.

  7. @Julie--Thanks for stopping by and good luck with the party!

    @Kristen--We had problems with our wedding too! It was very small and one family friend (husband's side) pitched a fit they weren't invited. So we invited all 4 of them ($30/plate served dinner), they didn't rsvp OR show up! BoooooooHissssssssssss!

  8. That is a pretty sad story. I feel really sorry for your nephew. My boys are 9 and 10, so I can only imagine...

    You know I'm all over this topic, even though I'll admit I am slow to reply. I am always so afraid I will say yes and then someone will get sick and they will have bought us food for nothing. One of my kids always seems to come down with something horrible right before a party!

  9. @CrazyMom--I'm so with you. It is hard to commit. In times when we can't commit I think the best idea is to contact the host/ess and share our thoughts and dilemma. If one RSVPs yes and then cannot go, a note or call to the host/ess is probably warranted (maybe even offer to "pay" for what the change of plans might have cost? I'm not sure what the rules on this are--just food for thought!).


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