I started researching this silly little initialism derived from the French phrase Répondez s'il vous plaît.
Etiquette rules followed in most Western cultures require that if I receive a formal, written invitation, I should reply promptly, perhaps that same day. For hosts who are planning a dinner party, a wedding or a reception, this is important from an obvious point of view, because they need to know how many people to count on and how much food and drink to buy. More important, though, is the simple courtesy of responding to someone who was nice enough to invite you, even if it is to say that you regret that you will not be able to attend.
Some forget others procrastinate and then probably feel guilty, so they put it off. For me as a host on the non-receiving end of an RSVP, I feel as if my invitee is just waiting for something “better” to come along. And what about the "maybe" reply? Maybe you'll grace us with your presence? So, I will prepare for you attending...And if you don't, I am left with an empty place setting or two, more food than we need, and an ill-mannered friend that I most likely will not invite again.
It is said that it is okay for hosts to call friends to ask if they plan to attend. I don't know about you, but when I'm planning a party, the last thing I want to have to do is sit down with my phone and call or text people to see if they are coming to my party! If I have to call and beg for an answer it is my thought that I made a mistake in inviting that person in the first place.
We've had guests that will call the day of, or even a hour prior to say they are coming. Some have even asked if they can bring their entourage. Yikes! Really? And then there's me... too nice... let it happen... and I am left scrambling. Why don't people understand that my party takes time to plan just as theirs does? I certainly don't want to spend more of my time educating people on manners and holding their hand through what is a simple process to RSVP.
On my invitations paper or Internet, formal or informal, my cell and email information is on the invite making it easy to reply. And so, with that said, I am left scratching my head and saying "gee, what happened here?" "How can I possibly make it easier to R.S.V.P.?"
I am open to your thoughts and ideas....please share!