How to Use Proper RSVP Etiquette

by eHow Contributor, studioD

RSVP is a French acronym that means "Respondez S'il Vous Plait" which is translated in English to mean "please respond or respond please". The acronym RSVP was typically used with invitations related to formal events such as weddings engagement parties or christenings. These were occasions where the number of attendees was significant to the host to ensure sufficient food, grab bags or tokens of appreciation were present for all. However, it is becoming more common in the informal setting as well as people learn to budget and save and still enjoy life. Read on to learn the proper RSVP etiquette to use the next time you're invited to a party.

Read the invitation. The host should have a telephone number, email address or some instructions on how to reply to the invitation. Less formal events typically note the RSVPs at the bottom of the invitation. Real formal events send a self-addressed, stamped RSVP card for you to answer and return via U.S. Mail.

Respond to electronic RSVPs, too. As the world is becoming more "e" based, many invitations are sent using electronic software such as Hallmark or It saves on stamps and is almost a guarantee the person will get it. Electronic emails arrive faster and allows you to answer the RSVP with a click of the reply button. If the host desires, e-invitation system will show you who plan to attend the party and have RSVP'd.

Pay strict attention to the deadline. The host will set the deadline for the RSVP a couple of days before the event. It is important that you adhere to this because party preparations are made based on the number of RSVP responses received. The caterer need to be notified and many require a 24 hour notice. Don't wait until the day of the event and show up. That is poor etiquette and just plain rude.

If the invitation says "Regrets Only", you only need to RSVP if you cannot attend the event. Otherwise, the host has already counted you in. Remember to contact the host if you cannot attend.

Do not answer yes to the RSVP and fail to show up. Only a matter of serious illness or death should keep you away. It is bad etiquette and rude to RSVP stating you will attend and not show up.

Items you will need

  • Invitation
  • Telephone, computer or appropriate means of contacting someone

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