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RSVP: Significance and Meaning

Dr. Sumaiya Khan Feb 28, 2019
The initials RSVP, found on all kinds of invitations aren't put in for a decorative purpose, quite the contrary they imply a request. If you are wondering what this is all about, then you are sure to find answers here.
It's a Surprise Birthday Party for
Susan Jameson
who is turning the big 3-0
on Friday, February 8th
at Bristos Bay
34 South Highway 51
Lauren, Oregon

R.S.V.P. to Janice Jameson by January 19th
at 545.128.4557
Undoubtedly, you have ignored the RSVP on this invitation card just like you have in the past. Call it ignorance or sheer boredom, but not responding to a request is considered to be a bad etiquette.
Invitations, especially personal invitations come with a humble request, one that often goes unnoticed. It may come across as being old school, however, a RSVP serves a key function. It requires you to respond to the invitation that has been sent to you. Let's just say, responding to a RSVP request is more like a courtesy call than being a mere etiquette.


'Répondez s'il vous plaît', or RSVP as one knows it, is a French phrase meaning, respond please. It simply means, the person who has invited you for the occasion, would like you to confirm your presence well in advance.
It has its origins in France, where etiquette seem to have originated. Many of these rules of etiquette have their roots somewhere in the mid 17th and 18th centuries in the French court of King Louis XIV.
According to Judith Martin - popularly known as 'Miss Manners', RSVP came about, as a polite way of reminding people of something that they should already know. It implies replying to a received invitation to state whether or not, you would be attending the event.

RSVP, Regrets Only

You are sure to come across a request like this. Just so you do not get confused, this happens to be a modern variation to the original RSVP request. In this case, the host expects or assumes you will be a part of the event. 
The request here is simple, it asks you to respond only if you won't be able to attend the event for certain reasons. Failing to respond to the 'RSVP, regrets only' would mean, you have no qualms about attending the event.

RSVP: Host's View

Responding to a RSVP helps the hosts have an estimate of the guests attending the event. In short, it serves as a head count.
An exact head count only aids the host in planning for the event which includes booking the venue and the number of tables to be set.
Catering to the food and drink of an exact number is always better than having either a surplus or too little of it.
In cases where distance is a concern, the host will also need to plan in advance for accommodating the guests.
Besides, the host will need an exact number of guests to prepare the party favors/takeaway.

How to RSVP

The most favored technique for a RSVP is to follow instructions given on the invitation card. In most cases, a response card is sent along with the invitation card. All you got to do is, make time to fill it up and mail it back to your host.
In case a response card is not sent along with the invitation, take time out to send a handwritten response to the host. Just so you do not forget, ensure you do this, the same day you receive the invitation.
You can also RSVP by email or phone whichever is more convenient, however, do not send a response via SMS.
When calling the host, ensure you do not leave a mere voicemail, personally talk and excuse yourself if required.
Remember to thank your host for the invitation before you accept or decline the invitation.

Sample Responses to Invitations

The favor of your reply is requested
by the nineteenth of January
___ will attend ___ regret.
Is joyful to be a part of the celebration
on February 8th
We'll be there to celebrate!
Sorry, we can't make it
on February 8th,
but will keep her in our prayers.
Kindly reply by the nineteenth of January
Delighted to attend
Sorry can't make it.
The next time you get an invitation with a RSVP, consider it your moral obligation to send a reply as soon as you possibly can. It is your way of thanking the host for sending you the invite besides, you ought to confirm your presence at the event.