Let’s talk about what “RSVP” means…
Do we really have to do that anymore? Isn’t that just a formality?
Many people seem to completely disregard the RSVP notation on invitations these days. Whether it is a formal event or casual dinner gathering amongst friends, if you see the letters “RSVP”, it means to “Please Reply” or “Please Respond”. It originates from the French and the letters stand for répondez s’il vous plait. In America, we commonly include the word “Please” in front of RSVP, but that isn’t necessary as it is actually redundant to what it stands for and should not be used.
The request for a response to the invitation is highly necessary for many reasons. First and foremost, it is an acknowledgement that your guests received the invitation. This is important because so many things get lost in the mail these days, or buried in one’s mail and overlooked, and even digital invitations sometimes end up in a “junk” folder never to be seen. You might not understand why your favorite aunt or cousin didn’t make it to your wedding, or why you never even heard from them if they didn’t even receive the invitation. In the case of family members or really close friends, if an RSVP has not been received, it might be a good idea to follow up with them. This, I can tell you from personal experience!
Secondly, it is usually very necessary to have an accurate guest count especially for a wedding. You not only need to know how many guests will be present for the caterer or whoever is providing food, but also for the number of seats to be provided, and many other details so you don’t overspend on things like programs (if you’re using), favors, special treats, venue capacity and possibly parking. If you are a guest invited to someone else’s wedding, you certainly wouldn’t want to be left out of the count and end up without a seat. Be considerate of your friends and family, and just as important, don’t send an RSVP that you will be attending and then not show up (unless of course it was a last minute emergency).
For even the most casual affairs, an RSVP may be requested due to some of the same reasons as a formal event. The host may need to make a reservation for the appropriate number of guests, or there might be a minimum spend required if the host has requested a private room. If it’s a dinner at home or small celebration, it is necessary in planning how much food to prepare or how large of a specialty cake may need to be ordered. A lot of these things are cost driving factors, but most of all, you don’t want to let your friends or family down by not letting them know you can’t make it, but also you shouldn’t be rude and just show up if you didn’t send a response at all.
So for all events, it is certainly still a necessary practice to request an RSVP (and this means a “yes” or a “no”) and it is something that everyone should respect and follow when invited to any event as a guest. Your event may be formal or casual, but everyone still needs to know how many guests will be attending.