My head-banging, screaming at the top of my lungs, non compos mentis pet peeve? People who don’t respond to an RSVP.
You know, that crazy acronym you see on just about every invitation ever printed since Gutenberg made his name. They all end with the cryptic message: RSVP. Usually followed by a phone number or email address. Yes, that RSVP.
So, what does RSVP mean? It meansÂ rÃ©pondezÂ s’il vous plaÃ®t. It’s French. Yea, I know, not very helpful, but it simply means please reply. In other words, you’ve just been invited to a grand shindig and your potential host wants to know whether or not you are going to show up.
No, it doesn’t mean, “Call the host if you are not coming.” On the flip side, it also does not mean, “Call the host if you are coming.” It means, “FOR THE LOVE OF PETE, DON’T BE TRAILER TRASH, CALL YOUR BLESSED HOST AND TELL HER EITHER WAY!” “Please show your kind host the courtesy of letting her know if you will attend — whether you are accepting the invitation or whether you are declining — so she can plan accordingly.”
On occasion you may see an invitation specify, “RSVP, regrets only.” In this case, you are only required to respond if you are not attending. In other words, your host will expect you to be there unless you tell her otherwise.
While this has been a sore spot with me for nearly a quarter of a century, this week it was brought to the forefront in a big way.
My oldest daughter is getting married this month. Last Saturday the maid of honor threw a bridal shower for her. The invitation had a “regrets only” clause. Of those invited, five people didn’t call and didn’t show.
The host and the bridesmaids prepared food and supplies for all those who simply couldn’t be bothered to pick up the phone.
Yesterday I threw Caleb a belated 7th birthday party. (We were moving in the new house on his birthday, so we waited until we were more settled for the party.) His invitation practically pleaded for an RSVP. Of the 12 children invited, one called to say he could not come, seven called to say the would be there. One of those called less than one hour before the party. Of the four who did not RSVP, three came, one did not.
I like to get a lot of special things for the guests at our kids’ parties. Usually I get some fun thing to wear or personalized items. When people don’t RSVP, I have three choices, none of which are good:
- Call all the non-responders and ask if they will be coming
- Buy supplies for a bunch of kids who might not show up
- Don’t buy supplies for those who don’t call, and hope they don’t show up
I generally opt for #1, but frankly that’s kind of a pain, given that you’re already busy planning and preparing. This time I opted for #2 (because with the wedding events, I simply didn’t have time to make the calls), but decided not to make most of the nicer purchases. With adults, #3 is probably a good option, but I hate to disappoint a child just because their parents don’t understand (or care about) invitation etiquette.
Next time you get an invitation, call your host. It only takes a couple of minutes, but it really helps the in planning and avoiding overspending. And it will definitely put you on the A-list next time a party’s afoot.