Q. What does RSVP mean?
A. Everyone knows that RSVP is a general way of saying “please let me hear back from you,” but the real meaning comes from the French phrase “Répondez, s’il vous plaît” which means “Please reply” in English. British high society adopted this form of French etiquette in the late 18th century, and now it is used in modern day etiquette.
Q. How do I respond?
A. RSVP’s can be tricky. Usually invitations come with instructions on how to respond but we’ve included a few tips if you’re confused on how to handle your response or if there’s no instructions on the invite.
If it is indicated that you need to RSVP but there is no response card, you may use your personal stationery to craft a response and send it to the host.
If you need to RSVP, there is no response card but there is a phone number, you may call your host and reply. If you get a voice mailbox or answering machine, you may leave a message, but it’s always wise to talk to a person just to make sure.
If your invite says “Regrets Only,” you only need to respond if you are not attending. Otherwise, the host thinks you’re coming!
Q. Is it proper to send a thank you note or follow-up to thank the host for inviting you to their party?
A. Yes! It’s always nice to be thanked for hosting a party. Before you leave, thank the hosts as you make your way out of the door. A thank you note sent the same week telling them how much you enjoyed the event is good manners as well.
Q. Am I allowed to bring a guest?
A. If it lists your name and a “plus guest” or “and guest” indicator, you may. But if it’s only addressed to you, then you’re the only person that may attend.
Q. What should I wear?
A. An invitation or the event itself should be a good indicator of what you should wear. Hosts should do a good job conveying the formality through the invitation, but will sometimes include it on the invite – for example, “Black Tie,” “Cocktail/Sport Coat,” “Business Casual,” etc. When in doubt, simply call the host and ask.