The holiday season is rapidly approaching and with that will come holiday events!! (I'm not READY!!) How many events will you attend this holiday season? How many of those events will require an RSVP? What is required of you as an invitee? To reply or not reply, what is the proper etiquette?
Respondez s'il vous plait is the French expression of the term RSVP. Many are familiar with the terminology but not fully grasp the meaning of the acronym which simply translates to "Please respond/reply". An RSVP deserves a response whether you plan to attend the event or not.
I am no expert on etiquette and I often refer to myself as "a proper southern woman" to my friends but do become annoyed when there is a lack of response from an invitee. As a host of an event, a RSVP is crucial to the success of the event due to many factors that relies on guest count. When I am hosting an event, my biggest concern is food. Will I have enough? Or Will there be too much? These are typical concerns of a host and that feeling applies when providing beverages (especially alcoholic beverages) as well. The objective for any host is to throw a great event. The event should be the talk of the town or at least inside of your social circle .Who doesn't want to be known as the host that throws the greatest events with the best food.
If your plan is to hire a caterer, you may be required to give a somewhat accurate guest count a few days prior to your event. The caterer typically charges per guest and this help to know how much food is needed. . For some who've never worked in the hospitality industry, may not understand that the caterer does not show up to an event with a never ending abundance of food. I mean really people?! Even Popeye's will run out of chicken if they do not order accurately based on the previous week's item sales. The caterer may have anywhere from a 10%- 20% cushion. That cushion is only for unplanned mishaps which may include a few extra guest who didn't RSVP but you can't count on that.
In my opinion (Not an Expert), Food/beverage is the main factor of a RSVP. Just think.... Anytime a host request a RSVP, it is beneficial and respectful to respond your attendance. Weddings, anniversary parties and surprise parties are just a few events that often request a RSVP. I myself request RSVP for all events that I host. Think of it this way,,, If a host has thought to invite you to an event then you may be of some importance to them.
Sent in my RSVP so what's next?
So you have sent your RSVP for the event and you would like to bring a guest but WAIT, there is not a plus one. What should you do? You should contact the host and ask if it is acceptable for you to bring a guest. Please do not show up to an event with extra guest especially if it's a wedding or anniversary party. If you were invited to an event a restaurant, I'm pretty sure your host made a reservation. As a former restaurant manager, it was a huge inconvenience to the restaurant staff that has accounted for the reserved guest only. This will cause your host extra stress and frustration with management if the extra guest can't be quickly or easily accommodated. It's not the restaurant's fault and you probably can not have that table near the group because that table is for guests that has actually waited for 45 minutes. You will get accommodated but not at your speed.
Children and RSVPs
All events are not created equally and children may not be invited. If you have children, you should always inquire if kids are allowed (especially if this is not a family function) before sending your RSVP. Not all events are appropriate for children and you do have to respect the host decision not to include kids in their event.
So next time you receive that RSVP, please be considerate of the host's thoughtfulness and respond. Remember to ask about bringing a guest because any extra may not be in the budget if the host is paying.