Wednesday, May 13, 2009


On its way to becoming a verb, something funny happened to the French acronym RSVP that stands for, ‘Répondez vous s’il vous plaît.’ meaning ‘please respond’ - people stopped responding. And it’s not because they weren’t fluent in French.

A prominent hostess in San Francisco can’t believe how invitees think it’s enough to call and say, “I’m rsvping.” “What they’re saying is that they are responding,” she said. “That doesn’t tell me if they are attending or not.”

When someone invites you to a party or a wedding, rsvp isn’t on the invitation because it came with the printing deal. It’s on there so that you can let the hostess know if you are going to attend the event or not. Your response lets her know how much she’ll need to order or rent to make sure that guests are comfortable and well served.

Wedding invitations usually come with response cards and stamped envelopes. Yet, brides and wedding planners still have to call guests and ask if they’re coming. “Oh, I thought I had to send the card back only if I’m coming to the wedding,” one invited guest said to a planner.

“I couldn’t have made it easier,” explained the hostess in San Francisco now planning a bridal shower. “There was a designated phone number and an email address on the invitation. Half still haven’t responded.” Instead of making plans, she has to make phone calls to those who think they’ve responded and to those who haven’t at all.

The next time you receive the honor of an invitation, honor it. If you can’t make it, it’s all right to say so but not the day before. If you have pending plans, you can let your host know and give them an answer in a timely fashion. When there’s a stamped envelope, that means that there’s a required visit to a mail box in your near future. Whatever you do, don’t call and just say, “I’m rsvping.” That’s a real, non, non.


Anonymous said...

"Yes no one knows what is means. So true Y"

Meghan Berney said...

Having JUST gotten married and thrown a baby shower, I was in shock at how people find it difficult to return a PRE ADDRESSED STAMPED ENVELOPE to let you know if they're coming or not. How is that hard?!?!?

Spread the word ladies...hopefully we can all make this world a kinder and more polite place!

Anonymous said...

thanks I just learned something new.  Everyone who is attending always calls and say "I'm RSVPing", meaning "I'm coming".

Anonymous said...

"Yes no one knows what is means. So true Y"

Elizabeth G said...

Wow, this was a major stress when planning our wedding... Not until one gets married does she/he truly understand how rude it is to keep a busy bride and groom-to-be in waiting on their reply so they book catering, etc. etc.

Anonymous said...

So true--
I'm co-chair of a garden party in honor of a very generous donation, and you would think, after recieving a lovely invitation with RSVP and the phne #, that people would pick up the phone...but no. We're running about 50% responses. And the board of directors, who have known about this event for months, and whom I contacted in an email several weeks after their invitations went out...STILL haven't responded, save for one dear soul.
One shakes one's head in disbelief!
All well educated and seemingly well bred...appearances can be so deceiving.

Anonymous said...

As an event planner, I've learned to expect more than who responded. Sometimes, the opposite is true but not usually. As one of three who is responsible for a Public Arts organization, we must know, roughly, how many will be attending the presentation in question, simply because if the number of attendees is higher or lower than we expect, it gives us the opportunity to move the presentation either a larger or smaller venue.

People must understand that we are there to accommodate and to make the experience a pleasurable one. We can do this if people respond with a simple answer. "Yes, I will attend or No, I won't be there".

While what we do is not the same as a wedding reception, for example, the similarities certainly exist. The San Francisco hostess is absolutely correct.