Perhaps it is the fact that RSVP is an acronym for a French expression (répondez, s’il vous plait) that makes it so hard for us here in America to understand. Simply translated, it means “PLEASE RESPOND! It is common courtesy for goodness sake.
Bear in mind, in its purest form, the request is to respond to confirm or with regrets…not just “let me know if you can make it.”
“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.”
Some invitations request an RSVP for “regrets only.” This means that if you know you cannot attend, you should let the host know via the requested method as stated in the invitation. Keep in mind that if you fail to respond to a “regrets only” RSVP, you are expected to be there.
The RSVP has a number of important purposes for any event:
Once you have RSVP’d to an invitation, DO NOT be a no-show. The most common excuse is “I forgot! Well, hell, the host didn’t forget to invite you, so don’t be rude! That is no excuse. It is not the job of the host to remind you. When you respond, put it in your calendar. Another etiquette faux-pas (more French!) is showing up with an uninvited (read: unexpected) guest.
Also, don’t assume you get to bring a guest. This option may or may not appear on the RSVP itself. Instead the truth can be found on the envelope. Unless it says “and guest” you may not be welcome to add a “plus one.” If you are unsure, as a last resort, ask. It may be uncomfortable, but at least you will know for sure!
Social Media has become the scourge of event planners. While on the surface, it appears to be a wonderful way to spread the word, deep down, it is just not sticky enough. I for one am bombarded with event announcements and requests, many of which I just do not see. Some are relevant and some are not. Once I do see a Facebook Event request, I can tell the host “I am Going” or “I am Interested” and sometimes that “I am not going.”
Fortunately, there are digital event invitations that help alleviate a lot of these problem. They allow you to RSVP without a stamp, share the event with individuals or groups via social media, add the event directly to your calendar, and give the host the information they need (and give them the opportunity to get in touch with you easily — say the event location is moved or there is a pipe leak and the event is cancelled). We like WhenNow of course.
Modern technology has also offered some great ways to make Social Media more ”sticky” as is highlighted in this awesome blog.