The acronym “RSVP” is short for “Répondez S’il Vous Plaît” in French. This means: “Please Respond.” When RSVP is stated on an invitation card, the host of the event requests for a response from the invitee if they will or will not be in attendance at the event.
When an invitation card states “Regrets Only RSVP” on it, the invitee is required to respond only if they will not be in attendance. Otherwise, the host of the event assumes they will be in attendance.
To avoid confusing the host, only respond to a “regrets only RSVP” if you would not be available to attend.
Purpose of RSVP
Formal invitations, for example, a wedding invitation card, have instructions on how to RSVP. These invitations usually have an enclosed response card which you should return in the provided envelope. Informal invitations may have a telephone number, texting address, or email address to respond to.
Event organizers use the expression RSVP to have an estimate of the number of people that would be in attendance for the wedding. Also, they would know the number of people that would not be in attendance and ascertain if they have to send out more invites. This information is vital in planning and managing available resources. They would be able to make necessary arrangements such as sitting arrangements or hotel reservations.
When to RSVP
RSVPs usually include deadlines for responses. This allows the host to finalize the numbers for the event planners, caterers, souvenirs, and other details. It is good to respond as soon as you can to prevent wrong planning. When you RSVP to a wedding invitation, for example, the host knows how to make up for your absence.
Honoring an RSVP
RSVP invitations indicate you are special enough to the host to be invited. Therefore, courtesy demands that you honor that. Couples and families are named together mostly. It can also be indicated to bring along a “Plus One.” These indications should be followed explicitly.
Sometimes, the host requires a response on the number of family members that would be attending as guests. Other times, the invitation states the number of guests allowed.
Dos and Don’ts That Are Applicable
1. Do not change an RSVP that you responded “no” to. The host has the responsibility to make plans based on those that would be in attendance at an event. When declining, your decision should be tangible, and all the factors that could affect your decision should have been considered. If you later find that you can attend the event, contact the host immediately but bear in mind that your slot could have been given out.
2. Do send a gift in if you will or will not be in attendance at the event. Though this is not mandatory, it is a thoughtful gesture.
3. If it’s an event hosted by a close friend or relation, honestly explain your reason for not being able to be in attendance. Consider offering to make it up to them.
4. If the event is hosted by someone distant to you, you do not have to explain your reasons for absenting.
5. Do respond promptly and graciously whether you would be in attendance or not.