Finally, the debated meaning of the ever-elusive RSVP is revealed! This tip is for both hosts and guests alike because there seems to be a lot of confusion about the meaning of the term RSVP. Often, guests will see those letters on an invitation and not be sure what they're supposed to do about it. No one wants to be rude and not respond accordingly. There are times we as guests don't have the correct answer.
RSVP is a simple mystery that is not overly complicated. Explaining the acronym can help decode the confusion over the phrase "RSVP". You will never find yourself questioning what the phrase RSVP means and can proudly share the information with friends. Most importantly ignoring a RSVP does have its consequences.
Many people have experienced the frustration that even when they put a RSVP request on an invitation, guests don't do anything about it. This problem is an especially common frustration among those who are planning a wedding. Some hosts might skip asking for a RSVP but this could lead to many issues for the host. The biggest problem is that a host can't estimate how many guests plan to attend their party without an RSVP. What causes our friends and loved ones not to RSVP? Could it be as simple as a misunderstanding about what this acronym means?
What 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.
Why It's Inconsiderate Not to RSVP
Many people don't RSVP because they don't want to disappoint the host. This attempt to spare their loved ones feelings usually causes more trouble than a simple no. An incomplete list of respondents can cause numerous problems for a host including difficulty in planning food quantities, issues relating to minimum guarantees with catering halls, uncertainty over the number of party favors and difficulties in planning appropriate seating, among other things. Until you host your own parties, it's difficult to imagine the frustration that ensues from inadequate responses to a RSVP.
Sometimes people don't send a RSVP by the requested time because they are unsure if they will be able to attend and don't want to commit to an answer. If this is your situation it's best to be honest with the host about your situation. The only way they can help make accommodations for you is if they know you need them.
So the next time you see RSVP on an invitation you receive, please call your host and respond promptly. Your host will be eternally grateful.