RSVP is of French origin (répondez s’ill vows plaît) meaning request for response, please reply or respond to an invitation. I have a simple 5 step guide to help with this little but impactful thing called RSVP.
1. If an invitation is addressed to John and Sue Doe, they are the only invited guests at that address. John and Sue should not bring nor ask to bring others including children. Normally, if children are invited the invitation will read John and Sue Doe and family or Mr. and Mrs. Doe and children. So, please don’t show up with Aunt Sally, Uncle Jimmy, little Kayla and little Eric in tow unless they received their own invitation. If you don’t have a babysitter, you should decline the inviation. It may not be a good idea to mention the party to others unless you are certain they were invited.
2. The RSVP date specified on the invitation is critical for planning purposes. The host may need to give a head count to the caterer, order enough seating and have enough gifts for guests. It’s critical that you respond by the date.
3. Instead of RSVP, some invitations will have “regrets only”. Here, no need to reply unless you are not able to make the party.
4. After responding yes and you need to change to no, please contact the host as soon as possible. Make sure you are changing to no because of a matter of importance and not because you don’t feel like attending.
5. The day of the party, arrive on-time which means no more than 10-15 minutes early. For goodness sake, don’t overstay your welcome. If no ending time was indicated on the invitation, use good judgement by watching other guests. When everyone else start to leave, that is your cue to leave as well.
In the RSVP world, the same rules apply if it’s a holiday party, a wedding reception, a promotion party, retirement, etc. Letting your host know if you can or can’t attend their party is just plain common courtesy. I’m sure you have an invitation lying around that you need to contact the host and RSVP, so try it.