R.S.V.P. (Repondez s'il vous plait) is a French abbreviation that means “Please Respond” or “Please Answer.” An invitation with the wording R.S.V.P. is requesting that the invitee notify the host as to whether or not they will attend the occasion.
In our present economy, R.S.V.P. etiquette is becoming more and more important as people are managing their money and time more efficiently.
It is customary for an R.S.V.P. request to appear on wedding invitations; however more people are requesting responses to casual gatherings such as backyard get-togethers or picnics.
One should respond to an R.S.V.P. to allow the coordinator to properly prepare for an event. Once the event planner has the exact headcount, accurate arrangements can be made to accommodate guests (seating, food and beverage, accommodations, etc.) Managing events without information can cause overspending on the part of the planner.
When should one R.S.V.P.?
The sooner the better. R.S.V.P. immediately or as soon as possible. Ideally, one should reply upon receipt of an invitation. Once you check your calendar, respond! This affords the planner ample time to accommodate guests.
Do not wait until 2-3 days before the event to respond. If a response date is not indicated on the invitation, at minimum, respond a week in advance. Hosts: To avoid last-minute responses, include a cutoff date for notifications.
How to Respond?
Reply to the invitation by the preferred method of the sender. If a response card or phone number is included, respond accordingly. When no method is noted, a written letter (reply) is deemed etiquette protocol.
Once a proper response has been made, follow through as stated. Indicating that you will attend means… you will attend. If an emergency arises, immediately advise the host of your change of plans and share your regrets.
On the other hand, do not bring uninvited guests. It is rude and improper for uninvited guests to tag along unless the host specifies “the more the merrier.”
Adhere to the importance of R.S.V.P. etiquette. Even if the invitation does not require a reply, consider contacting the planning coordinator to advise of your attendance, remembering to always express your gratitude for the invitation.