Friday, June 27, 2014

Respond Si Vous Plait

RSVP = Respond si vous plait.

Does anyone know what this means any longer?  

It means, please get back to me. Let me know your intentions. I need to make plans and it is important to me to count you in or out.

Recently a friend assisted another friend in planning an event. She was genuinely surprised at the number of people who responded that they would, in fact, be attending and then didn't show up. I was not surprised.  She said they ended up with a lot of leftover food. It happens.

When I lived in Arizona, I was taught lovingly by my wonderful Mexican friends that only white people ask for an RSVP.  In the Mexican culture, they put a verbal invitation out there and you either go or you don't. They make enough food and room for whoever shows up and they don't spend time worrying about whether or not Jane Doe shows up. If Jane doesn't show up, she must have had something else going on. No big deal. They don't get mad at her. They don't shun her.  They don't take her off the invite list.  It always works out. I love this system.

How many to invite?
Now personally, I love being inclusive. I'd invite the entire world to my party ... if I was having one. I'd make a homemade card, hand-write your name and address and put a pretty stamp on it. I wouldn't ask you to commit ... I'd just hope that you had so much fun at my last party that you'd make time to come again. But I wouldn't want you to feel bad if you RSVP'd that you were coming and something came up and you couldn't come. We've got enough things in this world to feel bad about. So, I might leave the rsvp off my invites. Go random. Throw the invite out there and see what happens. I'd even go so far to say, BRING A FRIEND!  I love surprises!

When is an RSVP a good idea?
I don't know. I suppose there are times when RSVP's are important. If I'm paying a caterer $25 a plate for a sit-down dinner for a wedding reception, I need to know if you are coming.  CONFESSION:  I once RSVP'd to a reception and at the last minute we decided not to go, for whatever lame reason. Our friends were not very happy with us. That was 20+ years ago and I still feel bad about it. I just didn't understand the whole RSVP thing.  Today I do, which is why I think long and hard before I say yes to an RSVP. As a matter of fact, we RSVP'd to a 50th wedding anniversary party in July. We're traveling 200 miles to get there. I'm actually glad there was a request to respond. I am the kind of person who will show up if I say I'm going to show up so I sat on the request for a couple weeks. I can hardly wait for that one.
My questions to you are: 

What kinds of events should we be asking for an RSVP? 
Do you say yes when you really want to say no, and then just don't show up?
Do you ever host parties?
Do you worry about whether or not you should have people RSVP?
Have you ever flaked out after saying yes to a party?

I'd love to hear your take on this topic.

love, susan


  1. I thought of you when I came across this quip: "The wedding invitation we received offered a unique solution to an age-old etiquette problem. At the bottom it read: 'If you do not RSVP, bring a chair and a sandwich.'"

    Ha, that's certainly one solution!

    I can understand the need for an RSVP when the hosts have to pre-pay for the dinners and/or seating.

    As for me, if I receive an invite which includes an RSVP card where I can check the box for either attending or not attending, and return it in their pre-stamped envelope, I usually comply (as soon as I know for certain if I will attend or not). However, if I receive an invite that simply requests an RSVP (meaning I have to call someone or send a note myself) I rarely respond.

    1. Oh how I love that solution! Thanks for reading and replying to this post. Hope you are having a grand summer!


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