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RSVP Etiquette

A formal French phrase that, directly translated, means "Respond if it pleases you".

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NOT RSVPing Makes Your Ass Look Big.

  • Apr 15, 2010
Rating:
+3
This post is for ANYONE who has ever hosted a party, baby shower, wedding, bbq, WHATEVER and needed a head count in order to pull it off.

I've hosted my fair share of soirees.  I love to entertain, often casually, but at times more formally (including baby and bridal showers or birthday parties) by sending a Paper Invitation that requires one to RSVP by a certain date so I can ensure there is enough food, drink, favors, seating etc. for my lovely guests.

I find that more often people are failing to RSVP.  OR to RSVP well after the indicated date on the invitation (EVEN THE NIGHT BEFORE!)

For the sake of it (though Monkey Readers I'm sure already know this!!) a quick review on what the term RSVP means:

"The term RSVP 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 whether or not they plan to attend the party. It does not mean to respond only if you're coming, and it does not mean respond only if you're not coming (the expression "regrets only" is reserved for that instance). It means the host needs a definite head count for the planned event, and needs it by the date specified on the invitation."
 
Some would argue that people don't really understand what it means when an invitation says "RSVP by xxx 2010" and includes a phone number or email to respond to.  Is that what it is? People really don't understand what RSVP means?  Or even now often people will put "kindly respond by XXX date."  Surely that isn't confusing?

It is inconsiderate when someone does not RSVP by the requested date because hosts put in a lot of time, effort and money into planning a party to include you.  If you don't let them know you are coming, and you decide to show up to an invite only party it can throw things off. 

A side story: I once was hosting a baby shower with a caterer, personalized favors etc. and the night before a guest RSVP'd that her mother (who was not invited to the party in the first place) would be joining us.  I not have a party favor for her, or enough space, nor did I have enough food so we had to scramble last minute AND I had to pay quite a bit more to the caterer for this uninvited guest to attend! My only vindication was when the uninvited guest arrived she realized how intimate and detailed the party was and she was very embarrassed.
 
My theory is that anyone who fails to RSVP in a timely fashion has probably never hosted a big party before so they don't understand how incredibly rude it is.  What do you think?

Monkey Readers:
*Do you RSVP when invited to an event?
**Why do you think people fail to respond, or respond too late?

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NOT RSVPing Makes Your Ass Look Big.

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October 27, 2010
People know perfectly well what RSVP means. They might not know the exact French definition but they most certainly understand the spirit of it. This is an issue that drives me crazy. I entertain a lot (mostly casual bbqs) and I always provide all the food and refreshments because I really enjoy menu planning and cooking. I try to make food that will make great leftovers but a few times I've ended up with double the anticipated guests and ran out of food. I am dumbfounded by people not RSVPing and then showing up empty handed. I think if you're going to arrive unannounced then you should probably at least bring some refreshments so that you aren't taking food from people that were accounted for. I've gone so far as to jokingly threaten my guests with denial at the door. Nothing works. When I complain about it people say things like "I didn't realize I HAD to RSVP because obviously I am coming to your party. You should know that!" or "it's human nature not to reply". Perhaps it's time I reconsider my guest list.
 
April 15, 2010
i can't stand it when people don't RSVP to stuff i'm planning... it's so annoying and rude. But i'm guilty too. In fact i'm going to an event tonight and the organizer had to remind 2 days ago to RSVP... so i guess i can't talk.
 
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About the reviewer
Cameron Wilson ()
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Member Since: Jul 31, 2009
Last Login: Aug 15, 2011 09:28 PM UTC
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Wiki

"Répondez s'il vous plaît", is a formal French phrase that, directly translated, means "Respond if it pleases you" where "vous" is the plural or formal version of "you"; more simply, it means "Please answer".  It is with this meaning that invitation cards and similar documents are often marked with "RSVP".
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