How many times have you received an invitation and there’s an RSVP at the bottom?  Do you know what RSVP stands for? It’s French:  Respondez s‘il vous plait; respond if you please.  “Respond” is the operative word.

Why is it so hard for some people to either press the “reply” key and say, “yes, I’m coming,” or “no, I can’t”?  I’m amazed that so few people take the time, or have the courtesy to respond to invitations.  Why don’t they respond?  I don’t have the answer.

I helped out a client with her new business and we planned an open house.  I sent 50 e-mails and she sent out another dozen or so for the evening.  Initially I heard from five or six people that they would or wouldn’t be there.  The second time I sent out the invitation, I heard back from 10 others who said they couldn’t come.  (I appreciated knowing, as did the hostess.)  What happened to the others?  Did they not get the invitation?  Did they not have the time to press the “reply” button?

Hostesses need to plan.  Planning not only takes time, but also money, and RSVP’s are money;  not in the literal sense.  Each RSVP means a person; therefore,  a cocktail or a glass of wine or two, a shrimp, a napkin, a plate, a chip, whatever.  If you or I don’t know how many people to plan for, it makes it difficult to make arrangements with either a caterer, a grocery store, COSTCO or SAMS Club.  If you think 20 people will come and plan accordingly, then you have food, drinks and utensils, plates, napkins, room for 20.  If five show up, then you have food for the next month…good and bad!  If 30 show up, you’ll have to tell people they can have only one shrimp and two chips to make certain there’s enough to go around!

The holidays are upon us –  we know this through all the advertising! – and parties abound.  Help your host/esses with a polite RSVP so s/he can organize and prepare.  If you’re the host/ess you want to know how many people will stop by, come for dinner, be the first and last to arrive and leave.  Knowing the numbers makes planning easier and more expedient.  That way you have a visual of how many people will be in your kitchen, around your hors d’oeuvre table, at the bar and in the house, and that makes a world of difference from your comfort level and the success of your event.

Remember RSVP  means Respond if you please, and most definitely not the day of the party, but days ahead.  When you plan your next party, send out invitations, and ask for an RSVP, you’ll be thrilled that you know exactly – exactly – how many people to plan for when all your invitees do indeed RSVP.



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