Etiquette of R.S.V.P

If you have ever had the honor to receive an invitation to a dinner party, a wedding, or any formal event that requires the RSVP treatment, you may have questions regarding the meaning of it all, why you are required to submit a request, and what are the rules of engagement?


When a person decides to schedule a dinner event or any type of formal occasion, it requires a bit of planning to know how many people are attending, and the easiest way to do that is by requesting RSVP service of those that you invite. The most important thing to do is to reply as soon as you know your schedule to give the host time to prepare for those that have accepted. By not responding, it puts the host in a bind and in the worst case scenario, you may not be invited to future events.


What is RSVP?


Using the French slogan “respondez s’il vous plait’, RSVP simply means to please respond. Whether it is a dinner party, a wedding, or any other formal event that depends on a host to coordinate everything from drinks, food, and other party favors, it is considered to be proper etiquette to respond so the hosts won’t overspend for the event.


RSVP Types


rsvp invitation


There are some types of invitations that request that you alert the sender if you will be attending. Once you receive the RSVP, read it immediately and get the instructions on how to respond. Most invitations come with a small card that can be filled out and returned with the envelope enclosed. Most invitations come with a telephone number and email address that you can use to reply with. Follow these instructions and ensure the hosts receive it in a timely manner. These days, RSVP requests electronically have become the norm.


Regrets Only


There are some RSVP slips that come with a ‘regrets only’ request which means to let the host know through the requested method if you are sure you cannot attend. For these types of invitations, if you fail to answer, it is expected that you will be there.


Canceling a RSVP




Once you’ve sent out the RSVP that you are attending, you are then obligated to attend. If something else comes along on the same date, then too bad. Canceling when you have already sent out an RSVP is considered bad taste and rude, and if you do it, it may be the last time you ever get invited to something again from this host. It is only acceptable if you are under the weather or someone has died in the immediate family. If you decline to attend something that you think is better, you can opt to contact the person hosting and find out if it possible to change plans. But be prepared if the host replies that it is too late for any changes.


Bringing Guests


Once you have received an invitation, there is a blank spot to write down how many people will be coming from your group. DO not exceed the limit and if you think you may need more places, ask the host. If some amendments must be made, it is considered proper etiquette to alert the host well in advance.


Planning Your Event Menu

In order to execute a great event, lots of things must be taken into consideration, and that includes great food and beverages to ensure the enjoyment of guests. As an event planner, your duties are varied and many as you will be likely working with a catering professional to select the menu for the group that is pitch perfect.


Planning the Menu




Whether you are working with a catering manager or a private caterer, it is always advantageous to take into consideration the many factors that can affect building an event menu. When it comes to menu options, remember that they are 100% flexible and subject to change. It is advisable to confirm the menu and number of guests at least three weeks before the event. I would suggest confirming even sooner if possible to prevent any last minute issues that could arise. Besides, the food should be treated as an essential component just like a foot spa machine for relaxation.


Menus for Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner


A pre-packaged menu option with a few a la carte options are a nice touch and can be selected by a caterer or executive chef. The approach to meals of the day are unique and you should consider these issues for breakfast, lunch, or dinner:


Breakfast: for breakfast, the most cost effective are packaged menus as they are quite easy to select. Options include hot buffets, continental breakfasts, and even a breakfast station. If you have breakfast as part of the actual official program, ensure that it works with the rest of the things scheduled.


Lunch: from boxed lunches, a la carte sandwiches, lunch buffets or more, there are various options to consider that all depend on the amount of time you have on the schedule


Dinner: from plated dinners to 3 to 5-course meals, dinner options can vary and depend on the guests and the chef’s personal preferences that allow him/her to shine


Snacks, Reception Menus


Planning for the event goes beyond just three square meals, of course. For some conferences, there may be scheduled breaks for pre-packaged snacks that may come with a la carte options.


Break Items: depending on your budget, these breaks can be basic or be extremely interesting


Receptions: from a la carte selections to hors d’oeuvres, caterers can offer a number of selections based on the group’s wishes


Buffet vs. Plated Dinner?




No matter what the meal is, there are still problems that can arise that each come with their own set of guidelines.


Plated: these require a minimum of about 1.5 hours and are normally used for informal executive meetings


Buffet: a buffet meal should have at least an hour of allotted time and are perfect for both breakfast or lunch


Passed Items: typically used at receptions, hors d’oeuvres are always a great option for this type of setting


Special Needs


Many people have dietary issues that must be addressed, making it important for the catering manager to be made aware of those requests that include but are not limited to:


Food allergies


Religious requirements


Dietary restrictions


It is always important to ask what special needs are and let the catering professional know in advance before any menu is made.