Tuesday, January 18, 2011


RSVP (invitations), request for responses
From the French RSVP, répondez s'il vous plaît, meaning “reply please”.

My mother was always one to RSVP within days of receiving an invitation. She thought it impolite to wait and unacceptable to not RSVP at all, so I followed suit. I was never quite sure what "RSVP" stood for but I always knew what it was asking of me. I didn't get the chance to personally request others RSVP until I was 24 and hosting an anniversary party for my parents. The RSVPs came in promptly and all were in before the requested date. (I should note that the majority of the guests were my parent’s age.) The party was perfect. Years later I once again would be asking for an RSVP to a party I was hosting but this time the guest list had a different look. It was a much younger crowd. The RSVP dead line date was drawing nearer and many of the guests hadn't responded. It was right there on the invitation, clear as day, along with the proper contact information. I panicked. "The invitations never got there", was my first thought. I began calling guests and was a bit put off by what I found. The invitations had been delivered but the RSVP was ignored. After making some phone calls and hearing many half hearted apologizes and excuses I came up with a tentative head count (something that is very important when ordering food, planning seating, or preparing gifts for guest.) I became bitter by the lack of respect for the RSVP and began to question if it was something personal. (Unfortunately for them, but thankfully for my feelings, I later found that some others had the same problem.) The party went well and, to my surprise, some guests who didn't RSVP showed up.
Now, as I prepare for my son Samuel's first birthday party I also prepare myself for the dreaded RSVP...or lack thereof. I decided to be proactive and have begun to inform guests of the party two months in advance. I am getting creative with goodies for the kids so as not to be left with bunches of goody bags or worse, not enough. I have planned a menu that will be easy to expand on short notice. I even booked a venue that will comfortably accommodate any amount of people that may show up unexpected. I am also contemplating having the invitations read “Please, please, please RSVP” but that may be pushing it. So, I can only wonder, has the RSVP become a lost art for my generation?

Another thought (and possible next blog); Are “Thank you” cards no longer expected? For what occasions are they a must and when are they just not necessary?