The Importance of the RSVP

gretchen hamm

A Special Note on RSVPs, courtesy of the original Mother of A Bride, Gretchen Hamm

In which of the following categories do you fall?

Are you waiting by the mailbox everyday for your response cards to be delivered?  If so, you most likely are a bride or a groom hoping to know the actual count of guests for your big day to facilitate your planning and budget concerns!  

Do you return your response cards or RSVP as soon as you get them?  Then you are probably a happily married groom or bride who learned by your own mailbox vigilance how helpful and essential it is to receive those response cards as SOON as possible.  They always say experience is the best teacher!

Are you slow to respond or RSVP to parties or weddings, not sure if you want to commit or don’t know yet?  Do you lose that response card or invitation in the pile of paper on your desk?  You may intend to RSVP but tend to put it off until the last minute.  Unfortunately you are most likely under 40 and tend to be careless about the finer points of etiquette, particularly about RSVPing.  (Of course, this does not describe everyone; I know some of you act appropriately!)

Once someone hosts a party or reception which needs a head count to give to the caterer, he or she suddenly sees how important it is to get those response cards back as soon as possible to the host.   Each response card can be a $50-$75 (or more) swing on the total amount paid out.  If 50 people do not RSVP, then 50 people at $50 each can be a $2500 swing on the caterer’s bill.  It also affects how many tables and chairs are needed and how many floral arrangements are needed for the guests who have not let their hosts know if they are coming or not, which increases the financial outflow unnecessarily.  One can estimate the number, but this is rarely correct.

In a perfect world each host would receive a response card from each guest sent an invitation.  We can always try for that perfect world!  In the old days, each guest would write a formal acceptance or a decline on her very lovely personal stationery and mail to the host.  How easy do we have it now!

So please, please RSVP as soon as you receive your invitation.  How difficult is it to write your name and your partner’s name on the line provided and check whether you are coming or not.  (I am getting that Mother tone, aren’t I?)  Your friends will appreciate your taking that minute and returning it immediately.  If you are not sure, add that note.  You can always let them know later if there is a change in your plans.  Believe me, they much prefer this than wondering what your plans are; and they are doing a mailbox vigilance, eager to know who is coming or not.  After all, there are the seating plans to be made!

Don’t forget to call and RSVP for those showers and holiday parties, too!  Such a small act of kindness is so appreciated by your friends!

At the risk of sounding like a submission to the Hints from Heloise column, I’ll let you in on a tip: I put a check mark on my invitations as I RSVP, so I know that I made that phone call or sent that email to RSVP.   I have to RSVP to myself that I RSVPed for the party!

On behalf of hostesses everywhere, this Mother of A Bride, thanks you for your prompt reply!