Well, I’m recovering, now, from hosting our daughter’s wedding a week ago. I never realized how much work, effort and sacrifice go into such an endeavor. This was my first time putting on something big, and this was a small wedding of 90. I can’t imagine one of these huge weddings with hundreds of guests. And through it all I learned something really important about the RSVP.
I grew up in a large, pretty much dysfunctional family. The eighth out of nine kids I pretty much followed the train. My mom was pretty much narcissistic so anything to do with invitations was all about her and nothing really ended up getting down to my end of the pecking order. So etiquette and protocol weren’t important to me, I just followed the crowd. When I was old enough to actually get an invite I didn’t know what RSVP was for let alone what it meant. I’d figured you thought enough about me to invite me, of course you can assume I’ll be there. And then later in life, for me it was more like a definite maybe, so I never thought about sending it back either, even though the price was paid.
So what does RSVP mean? It is an initialization derived from the French phrase répondez s’il vous plaît, meaning “Respond, if you please”. As I learned from the wedding, the sender NEEDS your response. We need to have an accurate count to order food, seating, tables and all the other trifles. The host is going to be spending a deal of money per invited guest and needs to know the tally. Even with an RSVP, you’ll have those that respond that they are coming and don’t show for some reason and those that don’t respond and do show up. It’s a nightmare of planning, and inconsiderate of the bride and groom. There may be some uninvited that could have come had they known who the no shows would be.