The perfect fairy-tale wedding… it’s something many couples dream of when they’re tying the knot. It’s also a lot easier said than done. Behind every ideal wedding is a lot of stressful planning and out-of-pocket expenses. That’s why RSVPs are so useful. Short for Répondez s’il vous plait, RSVPs take some of the uncertainty out of planning such an important event. Naturally, there are things you should consider when answering an RSVP card. Read on to find out more.
RSVPs are a wedding planner’s friend because they provide a head count of how many guests can be expected. This number is passed on to the vendors so that they can provide the right amount of food, drink and favours—as well as determine the bill and set payment deadlines. In other words, there’s always something riding on how you respond to an RSVP card. So, if you plan on confirming an invitation, always be sure that you really can attend.
The time frame in which you respond to an invite is also pretty important. Most invitations will include a deadline so that wedding plans can be finalized in a timely fashion. If no deadline is mentioned, a good guideline is to give an answer at least three weeks before the big day. But an even better suggestion is to respond as soon as you can. As busy as our lives are, it’s all too easy to procrastinate and then forget or misplace an invite. Not only that, a quick response also shows your host that you’re enthusiastic about attending. And that’s a great way to thank someone for wanting to include you in one of life’s biggest events.
Regardless of whether or not you’re able (or willing) to accept a wedding invite, you should always respond to one. Don’t assume that no response will be taken as a “No.” Your answer, whatever it is, will still be needed to finalize the guest list, seating chart and other plans. Sure, you might be worried that declining an invite will be seen as rude, but just remember that responding late or not at all creates additional stress for the host and planner, at a time when additional stress is the last thing anyone wants. A timely and polite “No” will almost always be preferable. Do, however, send a card and your best wishes.
Many wedding planners and etiquette mavens will say that death and illness are the only acceptable reasons to cancel after you’ve confirmed. In other words, a “Yes” response should never be made lightly. If you’re unsure whether you will attend, it’s a better idea to decline an invite than risk having to back out later. Few things are as annoying to someone planning a wedding as a last-minute cancellation or a no-show. In fact, it can sometimes go beyond annoying and be taken as an insult.
Nonetheless, mistakes inevitably happen. If you have erred, or if something pressing comes up, the best thing you can do is be upfront and admit it promptly. Contact the host ASAP and let him or her know. If final numbers haven’t been submitted, it may not be a huge problem, as the host won’t be left holding the bag financially. Then try your best to make it up to the host, perhaps by treating him or her to a nice dinner out the next time you meet. You’ll also definitely want to send a card and a wedding gift, as well.
As anyone who’s planned or paid for a wedding knows, these ceremonies can easily get pricey. No-showing or cancelling when refunds are no longer possible only make things worse. When catering and other expenses are taken into account, a wedding can cost upwards of $500 per guest. For destination weddings, where the hosts are paying for hotel rooms and possibly group activities, the cost can really skyrocket. Every confirmed guest that doesn’t show represents wasted money and food. With this in mind, try to be the sort of guest you would want at your own wedding—be there, have fun and share in the big day with the people you care about. t8n
Oddly enough, the initialism RSVP isn’t used in France. While SVP (for s’il vous plaît) is common enough, RSVP has disappeared from use. French invitations will instead ask, sans abbreviations, invitees to respond before a certain date.
The word etiquette may have originated from little cards that had written instructions on how to behave at court. These cards, or estiquettes (“tickets”), were carried by French courtiers and eventually became shorthand for polite, refined conduct.