When you receive an invitation to a particular function and see the initials R.S.V.P. on the invitation, it stands for a French phrase, “répondez, s’il Vous plaît,” which means to please reply.
The person sending the invitation would like you to tell them whether you accept or decline it. That is, will you be coming to the event or not? For hosts planning an event, it is essential to know how many guests will be coming to the function to prepare the appropriate amount of food and beverages; it’s a cost and setup issue. If you have planned a party, you know what I am talking about.
Perhaps we should eliminate R.S.V.P. because not enough people follow the proper etiquette of an R.S.V.P. So maybe if we wrote: “Please call me about the details of the party then you can tell me whether or not you are going to come.” This way, we get our answer right away. Invitations can come by mail or online, but our response to an invitation should be to reply with either type of invitation.
Have you ever wondered why we use these initials? There have always been rules of courtesy to follow in civilization, and many Western etiquette practices came from the French court of King Louis XIV in the late 17th and early 18th centuries. At Versailles, his palace, Louis XIV had the rules for court behavior written on what the French referred to as “tickets” or “étiquette.” The tickets either were signs posted at Versailles or the invitations issued to court events with the rules of behavior printed on the back; experts give different versions of the origin. And French was the language of refinement and high society through the 19th century in the United States. But in time, most things change; today, I see more frequently on invitations “regrets only” in the invitation, which means that the host will count on your being there unless you tell them otherwise.
So B4N. (Bye for now)
No need to R.S.V.P.