R.S.V.P. stands for a French phrase, "répondez, s'il vous plaît," which means "please reply."
In other words, will you be coming to the event or not?
One would think that it is common etiquette to RSVP, but many are wondering if the days of the RSVP are long gone. More than not these days those four little letters go unnoticed leaving party hostesses scratching their heads and biting their nails before the big event.
Thankfully, there are ways that you can encourage your guests to RSVP.
Here are a few tips to make sure that you get the response you need when sending out invites.
1. Send them out on time!
You can't blame guests for not responding if you send out your invites right before the event. That is why it is important to send them out well in advance. Of course, this time varies by the event type.
For weddings, it is recommended that invitations be sent out eight weeks before the wedding at the latest. This gives guests four to five weeks to respond, so you can make your RSVP date three to four weeks before the wedding.
For company picnics, as soon as you have a date and time, send out a save-the-date. To get the best turnout, at least eight weeks notice is also recommended. However, with company picnics you'll have the option to send out more reminders, as well as post flyers around your office. You'll want to build excitement for the event, so more than one invitation will be needed (more on that later!).
For children's birthday parties, send the invitations out three weeks in advance and ask for the RSVP one week out. The only exception is for summer parties when children are busier. Then it is recommended to send the invites out at least a month in advance.
2. Mail invitations on a Wednesday.
Or at least mail them towards the middle of the week. Weekday mail often gets put in a "to-read" pile. Mailing invites toward the middle of the week ensures that it gets there on the weekend and is at the top of the pile. Plus, since it is the weekend your guests will be more likely to respond when they open the invitation.
3. Utilize an online invitation service.
Although they lack the formality of a paper invitation, online invitations such as Evite are much easier for guest to RSVP to. There are several providers to choose from including Punchbowl, Sendomatic, and even Facebook events. What's nice is that most of these are free, so you can even send them in addition to your paper invite with no extra cost. However, if you are planning a formal event, stick to the paper invitation. Since online invitations are casual, it can send a mixed message about what to expect if they are sent for a formal party.