The holidays are here and that means a lot of parties. Perhaps you’ve received a few invitations for holiday functions. Whether the invitations are for a holiday cocktail party or a summer barbeque the invitation most likely has the acronym RSVP on it. Let’s talk about that acronym and why people add it to their invitations.
RSVP is an abbreviation for the French phrase “Repondez S’il Vous Plait”, or “please respond” in English. When you see “RSVP” on an invitation it means “Please tell me if you are attending my party or not.” The host(ess) adds that so that s/he knows how many people to plan for. It’s hard to know how much liquor and food to have on hand if you don’t know how many people are attending your event. There’s nothing worse than running out of spirits or goodies during your party.
For some reason, despite RSVP or another request to respond yay or nay being on most invitations, many people do not respond. This is where I’m going to be firm. It is terribly rude and maddening to not respond to an invitation, even if you can’t attend.
I have heard so many horror stories about people’s bad manners when it comes to responding to invitations. Here’s the worst. A friend of a friend, who was expecting her second child, endured in one terrible day the loss of her husband and house, and learned that she was bankrupt. A baby shower had been planned for a date shortly after the horrible day. Of eight people who were invited only three responded they were coming. Two of those who said they were coming didn’t attend after all, and two who didn’t respond ended up showing up.
This poor woman! In her worst circumstances even her friends let her down. Now obviously most hosts are not destitute, but it is simply unacceptable to not respond to an invitation.
The other thing that seems to be a regular problem is people who say they are coming and then don’t show up. Perhaps you have said you were attending an event and then at the last minute decide you don’t want to go. Maybe you think, oh, I’m sure she won’t miss not having little ole me there. But I can guarantee you you’re not the only one who does this. Suddenly, the host who planned for 25 has only 12 people attend.
Here are the rules. If you are invited to a function of any kind whether it’s via evite or a mailed invitation, you must respond that you are attending or not within 48 hours of receiving the invitation. If you said you were attending, please attend! If you said you weren’t attending, please don’t attend!
And lastly, when you do respond, it’s not grammatically correct to say “I’m RSVPing to your event.” Simply say, “I’m responding to your holiday party invitation. John and I will be there.” Or “I regret John and I can’t attend.” If you can’t attend, you don’t need to give an excuse. But if it makes you feel better, simply say “we have other plans that night.” Those plans could be to watch Seinfeld reruns, but the host doesn’t need to know that.
Have you hosted a party where people didn’t respond? If you’re guilty of not responding, what kept you from doing so? Why do you think people don’t respond to invitations? I’d love to hear your thoughts.