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.