What Does R.S.V.P. Mean?

What Do You Do When Your Guests Don't R.S.V.P?

party gifts party gifts
It's important for hosts to have an accurate count of how many people will be at their events so they can provide the right amount of things like little gifts. Thurtell/Thinkstock

As we mentioned previously, if you receive an invitation with an R.S.V.P. request, it's proper etiquette to reply as soon as possible — and the sooner the better. But what if you're the hostess and your guests don't R.S.V.P. — then what? Unfortunately it's more common than not. Some guests wait too long to respond and then simply forget. Others may feel guilty that they can't attend your event, so they just don't respond. Still some don't understand the importance of why they need to R.S.V.P.

One thing you can do as the hostess, according to the Emily Post Institute, is follow up. It's totally fine — and perfectly polite — to call on guests that haven't replied and ask if they plan to attend. It's important for you to have an accurate count of how many people will be at your event so you will have the proper amount of food, drinks and party gifts, and the only way you can do that — if guests don't let you know on their own — is to follow up. It's a pain, but it's not socially taboo.

Just be nice. The Emily Post Institute suggests saying something like: "Hi Elizabeth, It's Alice. I'm calling to make sure you got the invitation to John's 40th birthday party, as I haven't heard whether you're planning to attend. I hope you can. I need to give the caterers a final number next week, so please call me back and let me know if you'll be there. Thanks!"

Every wondered why we use the acronym R.S.V.P. anyway? We'll talk about that next.