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RSVP...What It Means & Why Its Important

Spring time is here and summer is upon us! We all enjoy spending time with family and friends and this is the time of year where we can begin to plan our spring/summer events.

For those that are parents, they are beginning to plan their Prom parties and Graduation events for their high school/college students, while others may be planning weddings, bridal showers, and baby showers. However, no matter what you are planning, I thought it would be great to remind everyone about invitations that they may receive and responding to said events.

That’s right! I am sure we all know what RSVP means, but for those that do not it is French for r├ępondez, s'il vous plait, translated in English it means PLEASE REPLY.

I am not sure why, but that acronym and that statement, mean the same to me, but what I have learned over the years is that most people do not care to reply and often give the old excuse of “I forgot”, “I didn’t get the invitation”, etc…which are so pat and useless that when I hear those words, I think, whatever.

I don’t feel that people even get the amount of planning, preparation, and work that goes into hosting an event. They seem not to care and/or understand that if you prepare food for 100 people that does not mean you automatically factored in an additional 25 for the following reasons:

I forgot
I didn’t get the invite
Oh, I’m sure they ordered more
It will be okay, I’m family
Bringing extra folks
They never run out of food
They’d be too embarrassed to run out of food

Honestly, not only are these poor excuses but they are rude reasons to just show up to any event.

The other issue that I want to address is the invitation, when you receive an invitation; it is addressed to the person(s) specifically intended. If it does not state Mr. & Mrs. And Family, then children are not allowed. If it is addressed to Ms. Jane Doe, then Jane cannot bring a guest.

Often times affairs are catered and/or food prepared by family and friends, and therefore there is a per person amount for each plate, beverage, appetizer, and dessert. With that said, a person rent’s a venue, you pay the caterer for said amount of individuals that responded, however, when the event arrives, an additional 30 individuals arrive that you are not prepared to accommodate.

I have seen this happen on so many occasions, and protocol dictates, that they are asked to sit/stand on the side while the guest [that responded] are seated. The funny part is that the non-responders’ simper on the sideline’s as if it’s the host/hostess fault that they were negligent in replying. Most times, the host/hostess, will try to ensure reasonable accommodations for the unexpected individuals, but is it fair to the host/hostess, and/or the others who responded in a timely manner. What these people do not know and/or do not care about, is that the host/hostess, will either have to pay an additional fee, or they will have to now stretch the meal to feed all. When what should happen, is these individuals are politely, yet firmly, turned away.

Unfortunately, that will does not happen, as many of these occasions are happy ones, and rarely are folks turned away.

Conversely, I watched as my girlfriend gave her daughter the wedding of her dreams, and although the majority of the guest responded in the positive at least twenty-five were not present. I walked around the reception and counted the money lost…over and she had over $1300, because of others negligence.

So as your invitations begin to arrive by snail mail, email, or are hand delivered, just remember that it only takes five minutes out of your life to say yes or no (by the time given on the invite) to celebrating with the inviters.


Helpful Hints: (this is a short list, feel free to add your own)

When responding in the positive post the invitation on your refrigerator or set a reminder on your cell phone or email, so that you won’t forget the date.

When responding in the negative, do not arrive on the day of the event because your plans changed.

Make sure to either purchase a gift from the bridal/shower registry and/or depending on the venue, be sure to give enough to pay for your meal. I.E. if you are at a seated dinner with open bar the least amount to give is $50/person; buffet’s depending on the menu, are $40/person.

At all events a gift is mandatory; Bridal and Shower Registries have items for little or no cost to big ticket items. Big ticket items are normally purchased by immediate family members and very close friends. If you cannot afford a gift, it would behoove you not to attend. Arriving to party and eat, sans gift is tacky and thoughtless.


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