What Does RSVP Mean?

All languages have words that reflect common courtesy. They show politeness, respect, etiquette, and social conduct. In the English...

Hristina Yordanova Written by Hristina Yordanova · 3 min read >

All languages have words that reflect common courtesy. They show politeness, respect, etiquette, and social conduct. In the English language, some of these words include please, excuse me, may I, pardon me, thank you to name a few. What’s more, there is a commonly used courtesy word known as rsvp. RSVP is an abbreviation for a French phrase répondez s’ il vous plaît.

How do you pronounce rsvp in English?

Rsvp pronounced in its French form is ray-pond-ay sill-voo-play. Pronouncing the word is difficult, especially if you do not speak French. In  English, it is more written than pronounced but if you decide to pronounce it, simply say each of its letters r s v p.

What does rsvp stand for in English?

What does rsvp express in English? The phrase répondez s’ il Vous plaît, in English literally translates to respond if you please. Other definitions are please reply or please respond. RSVP is a courtesy phrase used in invitations that require confirmation of the invitation. If you get an rsvp on an invitation, it means the guest is expected to respond and confirm if they will attend the event or not.

Does rsvp mean yes or no?

An rsvp usually appears at the end of an invitation after all the event information and other content. Most people think it is optional but it is actually very important to the host; they’ll know if you are going to be among the guests or not. Hence, not replying is not a choice. Whether it’s a party, a wedding, or just small events, if you have been invited and requested to rsvp, it is proper etiquette to respond.

The question however is? Does rsvp indicate yes or no? Well, your response to an rsvp can either be yes or no. You cannot say you will be going then fail to attend. Also, you cannot say you will not be available but then end up attending. You have to say yes or no and live up to your answer.

What’s more, if you receive a wedding invitation card with an rsvp that says regrets only, it means you only need to reply if you will not be able to attend. So this kind of rsvp means no. If you fail to reply to it, the host will expect you to be there.

The other ordinary rsvp requires a reply; either a yes or a no. If it happens that you declined an rsvp but discover you can attend the event, there is a need to call, email, or text the host to let them know beforehand.

How do you respond to rsvp?

In modern day, invitations are commonly sent by mail or by email. Once you get your invitation, let’s say a wedding invitation, and it has an rsvp, there are different ways you can decide to respond or reply. Invitations with an rsvp usually include information on how to respond.

Formal invitations, like a wedding invitation, mostly come with an rsvp card through which you can submit your reply. For an informal invitation, a telephone number, an email address, a texting address, or a social media address is provided for sending the response.

Many invitations have improved to make it easier for the guests to respond. Electronic rsvp requests use an email or link to a website where you have a yes or no option. Easy right? It might be the easiest method, especially in this digital age.

On the other hand, an rsvp card comes with an envelope which has a stamp and address so you can just mail it back. Very efficient. The card also has space to write an optional message to the host.

Here you can include a message to the host while also giving them your yes or no response. If your answer is no, you can use this space to offer an explanation on why you will not be attending the wedding and wish them good luck on the big day.

A response card usually has a deadline indicated. Once you receive your invitation, if an rsvp is required, all you have to do is state whether you are planning to attend or not. Reply as soon as you can instead of delaying to allow for efficient planning.

The hosts need to know the number of seats to preserve, how many drinks they need to buy, how much food to prepare. Therefore, it is really important to rsvp events you are invited to, and in due time. That said, it is advisable for the host to place their rsvp deadline two to three weeks before the party or event.

What happens when people fail to rsvp?

Many people fail to rsvp for different reasons. Some are afraid of disappointing the host, others are unsure of whether they will make it or not and don’t want to commit to one answer. Others even fail to rsvp because they are related to the host and assume the host will include them regardless of their response. Whatever the reason may be, it is still very necessary to respond to your rsvp. Rsvps are very important and failure to respond can cause a lot of avoidable inconveniences.

When a host is unsure of the number of guests attending their party, it may cause so many problems. For instance, in the case of a wedding, if the number of guests expected is unknown, food quantity will end up too much and wasted or too little such that some guests end up missing food. The host needs to get an accurate headcount to ensure the venue and food will be sufficient for their event.

Also as the host, if by the deadline you realise that most people have not responded, you can follow up. It may not be formal especially if you had sent formal invites but it is polite and saves you the trouble of having a disorganised wedding. Call your guests that have not replied and inquire if they have plans of attending. You need to be sure so that your wedding or party will have the proper amount of food, drinks and gifts.

On the other hand, as a guest, remember to make use of those rsvp cards you’ve been ignoring. Call or email your host and let them know if they should expect you or not, and don’t forget to include a special note.

Written by Hristina Yordanova
Hristina Yordanova has a Cambridge CPE certification in English and is now pursuing her International Journalism for Media Professionals at the Edinburgh Napier University. She regularly contributes to Cryptopolitan.com and EnglishForward.com from their inception. Her well-written perceptive articles have attracted a steady audience. Profile