Sunday, December 16, 2007

The Elusive RSVP

I thought that it was just me, but it's not. Many hostesses complain that people never give an RSVP anymore when invited to a dinner, a party, a wedding, whatever. Some say that it is because that the general public no longer knows the meaning of "RSVP." It simply means "please reply," or, in formal parlance, "the favor of a reply is requested." If you think that the majority of your guests are in the dark about the meaning of "RSVP," then it is better to just write "please reply." Hopefully, they will get the point.

Anyone who has planned a large party or reception is aware of how important it is to have a head count. It is particularly vital when arranging a formal, catered sit-down dinner, in which the caterer expects to be paid per head. And yet, I have friends and relatives who have been greatly inconvenienced by guests who did give an RSVP to a formal sit-down dinner and then never showed up. Why is there such a lack of courtesy? Such gestures are not a matter of having grand, formal manners but of showing basic consideration for others.

Here are a few points to remember:

1) When invited to a function always respond in the time frame designated by the RSVP. If a reply is asked for only if one plans to go, that is fine. (It is always courteous and acceptable to thank the hostess anyway, even if one cannot attend.)

2) If you do not know whether or not you can go to the party, it is better to decline. Otherwise, you give the strong impression that you will accept unless you get a *better* invitation somewhere else. Just say "no."

3)When invited to a party at someone's house, do not respond with "I don't know" and then go on to have your own party, on the same day, inviting the same circle of friends. That is the height of rudeness, to say the least.

4) If you have accepted the invitation, assuring the host and hostess of the pleasure of your company, but then at the last minute find that you are unable to be there, then at least call the host/hostess. Give them your most heartfelt apologies. This will give them time to rearrange the table.

5) After having enjoyed an event, be careful not to talk about it around those who were not invited. There may be reasons unknown to yourself why various persons were not invited to a certain function. It must always, however, be taken for granted that everyone has feelings and may be hurt at hearing about the good time at a party from which they were excluded. Share


Anonymous said...

Yes, I have heard many complaints about this…invited guests do not reply to invitations.. I believe that often people wait to decide what their plans are and then time goes by and they forget. I do not believe it is meant to be a lack of courtesy, just a lack of organization. Some people do not set aside a time to sit at their desk and handle these kinds of obligations, bills are paid on line, etc. Also this often fell into the category of things the woman of the house had to handle and many of them work, so priorities become getting the children fed, homework completed, sports events, etc. etc.

Anonymous said...

I agree, it is rude but it looks like a trend that won't likely get better. I bet invitations that go out electronically have more folks responding. For good or bad, we've all gotten used to the too-easy clicks of "reply" and "send"!

elena maria vidal said...

I love those on-line invitations!