RSVP – Why It’s Important
By Shannon Wright, Owner of Wright Time, Wright Place Events
June 9, 2018
RSVP. You see this on invitations of all kinds, from birthday party invitations to the most elegant and extravagant events. But what is it? What does it mean? Why do we need it? How do they work? What should be included? RSVP is a French phrase which stands for Répondez, S'il Vous Plaît, which, quite simply, means “please reply.” But why is it so important to RSVP? Please allow me to explain.
WEDDINGS ARE EXPENSIVE! If you have ever planned a wedding or a party, you know that things can add up, and quickly, too. According to The Bridal Association of America* the average cost of a wedding meal, which includes food and food service/staff, cake and cake cutting fees, drinks and drinks service/staff, is around $85 per person (Everafterguide.net). So, if we do simple math, and if we figure an average of one hundred people at a wedding, that’s $8500, just for food and drinks. This doesn’t include the other expenses such as photographer, wedding dress/tuxedo, flowers, venue, ceremony, etc. This is just the cost of food.
I recently worked two weddings where people did/did not RSVP like they were supposed to, and it caused problems at the weddings.
Wedding #1: The bride and groom sent out the invitations with RSVP cards. She had less than a hundred guests RSVP, stating that they were coming. So, as she should, she met with the caterers and together, they planned enough food for exactly one hundred people. Wedding day came. The linens, glasses, and china was all ordered and ready for less than 100 people. The less than one hundred people who RSVP’s showed up… But then so did several people who had not RSVP’d, making the guest count at almost 165 people. During the room flip, the venue had to add more tables and chairs. This wasn’t necessarily a problem, per say, because the venue had them to set up. However, the extra table linens didn’t match the rest of the room, there weren’t enough chair covers to go over the extra chairs, and there certainly wasn’t enough china or glasses. Then we come to problem of the food. As mentioned before, the caterer made enough food for 100 people. The food was served buffet style. There are both positives and negatives for this style of serving food, but that’s for another blog post. Anyway, thankfully, there was actually enough food to go around. However, the guests who had to use throw away eating utensils, glasses and plates were definitely not happy about it, many of them stating that it was very unprofessional of the ‘venue’ to not be prepared. Unfortunately, since this particular issue was not the fault of the venue, it is not fair to blame them or the staff that was working the wedding. Some of the guests who were unfortunately made to eat off the cheap plates instead of the good china did say that they had in fact RSVP’d, so they should have been able to get the good china and nicer looking tables. Unfortunately, in this particular wedding, there were no seating assignments, the guests were allowed to sit where ever they wanted. This allowed those who had not RSVP’d to choose the nicer looking tables, leaving the ‘new’ tables for the guests who had RSVP’d.
Wedding #2: Again, the bride and groom sent out invites and RSVP cards. People RSVP’d and a seating chart was made. When the guests arrived for the reception, they began looking for their names. Several people, who had not RSVP’d, obviously didn’t find their names in the seating chart. Thankfully in this situation, some of the people who had RSVP’d never showed up, so there was room and food for those who had not RSVP’d.
So, now that we have seen the importance of why we should RSVP, let’s talk about what an RSVP card should include.
An RSVP Card should have the following on it:
· A Place for the guest's name(s).
“Respond by” date.
· Whether or not the invited people will be attending.
· A place to list the names of ALL people attending.
· A place where dietary restrictions can be named.
· The name of the bride and groom, as well as the address where the RSVP card should be returned.
Hopefully you have found this helpful. Please help the bride and groom be able to enjoy their big day by sending in the RSVP cards promptly. This will help ease the stress of the already stressed couple getting married, but it will ensure that the correct amount of food, décor, etc. are ordered so that no one feels left out or put out.
Stay tuned for more blog posts coming to you from Wright Time, Wright Place Events!