Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Vintage Manners - The RSVP

I am in the midst of organising a rather large party, which includes a splendid new frock for myself and a formal dinner for my guests.

For catering, seating and a myriad of other reasons, my hand crafted invitations include RSVP instructions, which led me to think of the proper etiquette of the required response.

Essentially, RSVP is an abbreviation of the French Répondez s'il vous plaît or, in English, literally translated as "Please respond". There are usually detailed instructions accompanying a RSVP request, such as whom you are to contact, how you are to contact them and by what date your response is required.

So, in a world where such etiquette is often confused, forgotten or not taught at all, I have constructed some pointers - just in case you were wondering Kittens!There are a myriad of books and online resources regarding etiquette, but it boils down to only three main points:
General rules are as follows:

1. You should respond within 24 hours of receiving the invitation with either the names of those attending* or indicate an inability to attend.

*It should be noted that if only one name appears on your personalised invitation, then you are to assume that the invitation is not extended to others.

2. Respond in writing if possible, or via the same method the invitation was extended. To be most proper, a hand-written response is the best way to RSVP. However, if an invitation was sent via email, an email RSVP is appropriate.

3. Respond even if you are unable to make it. You don't need to go into details and there are many ways to politely decline an invitation that won't embarrass you or your host.

Dear Host,

Thank you for your kind invitation to attend (insert event name here) on (insert event date, venue and time here).
Unfortunately I am unable to attend, but know that your party/dinner/wedding/school fete will be a wonderful/successful/memorable event.
Warm regards,

Vintage Verve.
There! Nice and easy!


Anonymous said...


I so miss the good old days of hand written letters, invitations and thank you notes. I have a habit now days of writing letters but never sending them.

Thank you for this Vintage Verve; it was a lovely read.


Super Kawaii Mama said...

This is one of my major pet hates. People seem to have lost the ability to RSVP let alone send thank you notes. When you go to all the effort to organise an event and a great guest list; to have non responders, party crashers and the last minute RSVP by SMS, my blood boils.

Imelda Matt - The Despotic Queen of Shoes said...

I agree with Mama...what happened to ye olde worlde manners?

Vintage Verve said...

oh Grant! Handwritten letters are so special - you should send them all!

SKM - would you believe I received an email from one of my guests asking if that was was considered a suitable reply. I gently explanined that he needed to contact Mamma Verve, as per the RSVP instructions so that his response wouldn't get lost. Shesh!

Oh, and I totally agree - hand written thank you notes should always be mandetory!

Imelda Matt - I simply think that we don't teach our youngsters politeness anymore :(

a cat of impossible colour said...

Absolutely one of my pet peeves too. Even at our WEDDING, people RSVP'd via text message, didn't bother to let us know at all (which meant we had to chase people up the week before) or assumed that their invitation (addressed only to them) included Flavour of the Month boyfriend, small children, random relatives who were in town, etc. So annoying!