What the heck does it mean? R.S.V.P. stands for “répondez s'il
vous plaît,” French for “please reply”.
These abbreviations are placed on invitations for a specific reason:
to let you know that the host would like to know if you will be
attending or not.
In proper etiquette, a written invitation should require
a written acceptance/regret, but with the change of the times, it
has transformed to mean anything from a phone call to an email.
As long as you reply in some way, shape, or form, the host will
What happens if I don’t reply? As given in the previous example, your failure
to reply can result in the decision of having enough room for just
those who replied or going ahead and making room for everyone who
has and hasn’t replied and chancing it.
If the host/hostess is really concrete on knowing
how many are attending, they may go as far as making phone calls
to find out. If you fail to respond, you may receive a phone call,
but be prepared to give an answer. If you aren’t sure if you
will be able to attend, explain the situation and say “maybe”.
In this case, the host can plan for you, but it isn’t a hassle
if you don’t show.