If you look up “RSVP” you might find this as the definition: répondez  vous plaît, or please reply (used at the end of invitations to request a response). Social etiquette teaches us that 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 also means the host needs a definite head count for the planned event by the date specified on the invitation. For some reason, we have gotten away from this simple act of r

esponding. Your host has spent a great amount of time planning for seating, meal counts, venue size, and sometimes organized activities, all of which require the host to know precisely how many to plan for. Some hosts even supply a self-stamped envelope in formal invitations. This only requires the guest to drop the response in the nearest mailbox, or pin to their mailbox for the postal carrier to collect. Yet, we still fail to respond. This can be both frustrating and costly for the host, and quite frankly, just plain rude.

RSVP requests can be distributed in several ways.They can be found in formal invitations with a response card and a return envelope. Informal RSVP could be through an email, phone number, text, social media, or electronic links.  Be sure to respond in the way requested so the host doesn’t have to compile responses from several different sources. If the RSVP says, “regrets only,” you only respond if you are unable to attend. If you do not respond the host will expect you to be there.

RSVP requests often include a deadline for response. This is an important deadline as the host is finalizing numbers for the caterer, event site, favors, etc.  It’s best to respond as soon as possible rather than delaying.

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 dilemma, promptly communicate with your host. The only way they can help make accommodations for you is if you have requested them.

The next time you receive an RSVP, please call, write, or text your host and respond promptly. Your host will be eternally grateful, and you are more likely to be invited again in the future.