Do you have an invitation to a wedding or a birthday party tacked up on your fridge? Is your inbox flooded with e-vites for virtual baby showers and happy hours? Has your boss emailed you next month's calendar full of work meetings?
If you have a pending invitation of any type, check it right now and see if it asks you to RSVP.
When an invitation calls for an RSVP, it's crucial that you do so! Don't think it matters if you respond? Well, it does — and there are more than a few reasons why.
Here's what you need to know about the importance of RSVPing.
What Does RSVP Actually Mean?
What does RSVP mean, anyway?
RSVP is an acronym for the French phrase "répondez s'il vous plait", which translates to "please respond." If you see this on an invitation, it means that your host wants to know for certain if you'll be attending so that they plan and finalize the event.
The more formal the event, the more likely you will see RSVP on the invitation. Large celebrations and formal gatherings, such as weddings, will often include a response card or RSVP card that you can send back to the host through the mail.
Other events, such as birthday parties or bridal showers, may simply say RSVP at the bottom and include a phone number or email address that you can contact to respond.
On some invitations, you'll see "regrets only." If you see this, that means you only need to call if you won't be able to attend. If you do not call, your host will assume that you will be there.
Keep in mind, if you RSVP yes, you better make sure that you attend the event (barring a major medical emergency or something else beyond your control). No shows that don't attend after they've said they would be at the event are never appreciated!
RSVP So Your Host Can Order Food and Beverages
There's more to RSVPing than showing that you have good etiquette (though that is a big part of it).
The real reason for the RSVP is so that your host can plan the event, including hiring caterers and ordering food and beverages.
Unless you've been invited to a casual BYOB or a potluck, your host will need to know if you're planning to attend the event. Without a final headcount, there's no way to know how much food or how many beverages to order.
Depending on the type of event, your host may have even chosen a venue based on the expectation of a certain number of guests. RSVP soon after you receive the invitation, whether you will or won't be able to attend the event.
RSVP So Your Host Can Create Seating Arrangements
When it comes to formal celebrations, such as weddings, your RSVP will be crucial to setting seating arrangements.
If you've ever planned a wedding (or hosted any other event with assigned seating), you know just how difficult this part of the planning process can be. There is simply no way to create seating arrangements unless you know exactly who will be in attendance and who will be missing the event.
Also, RSVPing at the last minute just won't cut it. It would be best if you gave your host enough time to finalize all of the other details of the party — including where you'll be sitting. Whether you plan to attend or not, be sure to RSVP by the deadline stated on the invitation.
RSVP So Your Host Can Finalize Other Event Details
Aside from food, beverages and seating, there are other reasons why your host may request an RSVP.
In some cases, the venue for the event may have been reserved based on the number of invitees. If far fewer people attend than were invited, your host may need to book a smaller-sized event space or choose a different venue altogether.
For weddings, showers and birthday parties, it's also common for hosts to buy favors for each guest. Without receiving your RSVP, your host won't be able to properly plan for party favors and other sorts of the nitty-gritty details.
RSVP to Meetings, Not Just Social Events
When it comes to work events and team meetings, the RSVP request on your e-vite isn't just a sign that you plan to attend. In fact, it may be the impetus that actually schedules the meeting.
A digital meeting between two people may not even make its way to a calendar until the invitee responds. A digital meeting between a group may rely on RSVPs to determine if the meeting's date works for everyone or if the meeting should be rescheduled for a more conducive time.
Either way, if your boss, client or colleague sends you a digital invite to a meeting, take two seconds out of your day to check your calendar, make sure you can attend, and send the RSVP.
Do You Need to RSVP to Virtual Events?
RSVPing to an online event, such as a virtual baby shower or a virtual happy hour, doesn't have quite as much weight as RSVPing to an in-person event. But it's still considerate to do so!
With more and more people hosting virtual events online, you probably see multiple e-vites pop up in your inbox each week. (In just the past few months, we've been flooded with Zoom links to baby showers, happy hours, Friendsgiving, New Year's Eve and Sunday brunches).
And the right thing to do is to respond to all of them.
If one of your friends, relatives or colleagues is taking the time to organize and plan an event, albeit on Zoom, the least you can do is respond to say if you're planning to log in or not.
And just like with in-person events, it's always considerate to let your virtual host know how many guests to expect. Knowing how few or how many plan to attend may change their plans as far as scheduling speaking time, playing online games or providing some other sort of virtual entertainment.
Should You RSVP If You Haven't Made Up Your Mind?
In a situation where you may have a conflict of interest in scheduling, let your host know. There may be some flexibility where you can say no now and say yes later if your circumstances change.
In most cases, your host will want a firm headcount well in advance so that they can plan the party, but in some instances, they may make an exception for you.
For most virtual events, where the headcount doesn't really matter, it probably won't be an issue if you RSVP "no" then end up attending anyway.
But for in-person events, doing so can create a big problem for the host, mainly if they have created assigned seating arrangements.
The best thing to do? Be honest with your host. As long as you have a good reason for not being able to commit (yet), they may say it's okay if you change your mind at the last minute.
If your host is flexible, be sure to follow up a day or two before in order to give them your final decision. There's absolutely no reason to leave your host wondering if you'll be attending. As soon as you know for sure, let them know!
Just remember this:
With the exception of extreme circumstances, is it never okay to RSVP "yes" and then not show. Not only is being a no-show inconsiderate, but it can cost your host money, especially if they are paying for food by the plate or have already spent money on favors.
Why Is RSVPing So Important?
If you are sent an invitation that asks you to RSVP, do so! It's proper etiquette and common courtesy.
It only takes a few minutes to let your host know if you'll be attending or not, so be considerate and make that call, send that text or email, or mail in your response card.
Whether it's a birthday party, a formal wedding, or a virtual work meeting, RSVPing (before the deadline) is the right thing to do.
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The Importance of RSVPing:
- So Your Host Can Order Food and Beverages
- So Your Host Can Create Seating Arrangements
- So Your Host Can Finalize Other Event Details
- RSVP to Meetings, Not Just Social Events
- RSVP to All Virtual Events
- Let the Host Know if You Haven't Made Up Your Mind