Holiday time is just around the corner, and many will be planning to entertain for business and personal reasons. Many will send invitations that request a RSVP or Regrets Only response. It is important to respect what the host or hostess is asking with these terms.
RSVP is a French term, “repondez s’il vous plait,” which means “please respond.” The host or hostess would like to know if you are planning to attend their event.
Regrets Only means please respond if you are not planning to attend. The hostess will assume you are coming unless you respond otherwise.
It is very expensive to entertain today, and a lot of work and planning is required. If you have been invited to a party or gathering, and the invitation includes a RSVP by a certain date, the hostess is saying this:
I am planning a party and I’d like you to come. I am going to organize my list, plan my menu, shop for food that will appeal to everyone’s taste, shop for beverages that everyone will like, clean my house, make sure I have the necessary serving products to go with food and beverages, purchase necessary serving utensils, plan entertainment and music, consider the weather conditions, consider acceptable parking for the guests, possibly make arrangements for children, move furniture to accommodate the guest list and hope for a wonderful evening spent with great friends and associates. I am going to spend a lot of time, money, and consideration on all of these areas to ensure a memorable and successful event.
A RSVP or Regrets Only response makes the work and planning for a gathering far more precise. It is very important that the host or hostess know who is and who is not attending. The RSVP or Regrets Only request is not too much to ask. Schedules are very busy today and free time does not grow on trees. However, a quick 30-second phone call will help your hostess significantly. It is the least we can do when considering all the work that they will be enduring, in the hopes that their guests will have a great time.
Colleen Harding is a certified etiquette and protocol instructor and the founder of the Cleveland School of Etiquette and Corporate Protocol. Programs and packages available for children and businesses.