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.