The why and how of RSVPs.
When planning a party of any sort, it's customary to ask for a head count. The French say, "Répondez, s'il vous plait," which roughly translates, "Let me know you're coming or there won't be enough fried chicken to go around."
Let's Get Together
Many of us attend parties all the time, but they are often company parties where the guest list is already a given. And there are some folks that just don't see the need to go to parties at all. However, those of us who occasionally plan get-togethers should already know the importance of making our intentions known.
Breaking It Down
Allow me to break down the whole process for a moment. The host or hostess of the party has gotten excited about something and decided to open his or her home to a lot of people, or maybe spend the money to rent a nice location. They thoughtfully plan to have food and beverages at the gathering. Perhaps they even send out printed invitations, and so at this point, a lot of time and effort has been taken by the instigating party to instigate this party.
Let's then say that you, honored guest, receive said invitation and also become excited about the event -- so excited, in fact, that you think briefly about the date and stick the invitation to your fridge with a dolphin magnet. Well, a few weeks pass and you discuss the party with your friends and convince yourself that nothing could keep you away.
The date of the event rolls around and you march your freshly-bathed self through the front door and flippantly apologize for not confirming your presence. Imagine the look on the host's face upon seeing you and realizing that there are now not enough servings of grilled trout for everyone. Your host quickly composes himself by turning over his plate to you, only to find that you have brought your "and guest" as well.
Frankly, this situation is now your fault, and the host is irritated and left to decide whether he should offer you an invitation to his next event. The tough news is that it could have all been prevented with a simple response. Oh, wait! Do not – I repeat – do not bring a guest if your invitation does not indicate that you are encouraged to do so.