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R.S.V. Peeved

November 11, 2009
Judi Hendrickson

You can call me a "hostzilla," but I am peeved.

Recently I was in charge of a nonprofit event. It was a catered affair. I had a deadline to give final count to the caterer and purchase wine and drink supplies. I sent invitations to approximately 25 businessmen and women, city officials, board members and other guests.

The invitation included an RSVP. I stated the date for the RSVP and the telephone number to reply. RSVP is an abbreviation for Repondez, S'il Vous Plait, a French phrase that translates to "please respond." Etiquette rules require that if you receive a formal, written invitation, you should reply promptly. I was so happy when a few replies came in. Then I waited. The event got closer, and I still had not heard from 15 of the 25 people. It was time to give count to the caterer, so another board member and I started calling those who had not replied. We certainly shouldn't have had to do this.

Because I did not actually know how many people were coming, we had to include in the count the people who had not responded as well as those who had. This raised our count by approximately 10 people. This may not sound like a lot; however, it cost our organization money we could have used for one of our community projects.

I have found that my experience with this event was not all that unusual. For whatever reasons, people no longer seem to realize that a response is expected and is quite important to a host or hostess planning an event. When you don't reply:

Put yourself in the shoes of the hosts, and imagine it was your event and no one cared enough to reply to you. Hurts, huh? When an invitation asks for an RSVP:

Judi Hendrickson of Wheeling is the co-author with Dr. Jeanne Finstein of "Walking Pleasant Valley" and is working with Finstein on their second book, "Walking Woodsdale." She teaches etiquette and presents programs on Tea Time Traditions, the History and Etiquette of Tea and Wedding Traditions.

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