What Does RSVP Stand For?

You probably know what it means, but can you answer the question, “What does RSVP stand for?”

If you’ve ever hosted a big event like a wedding or 50th birthday party, you know how important getting RSVPs from all your guests is. It determines how much food you’ll need to order, how many tables and chairs you’ll need, and how to set up the seating chart so your bickering aunts aren’t right next to each other. Getting those little checked off note cards back is a pretty big deal.

What does RSVP stand for?

RSVP is actually a French expression meaning répondez s’il vous plait. That translates to “please respond.” If you ever get an invitation in the mail that includes a request for you to RSVP, it means that the host of the event is asking for you to let them know whether or not you will be able to attend. Here are some answers to other little things you’ve probably never thought about.

Why you should always RSVP

Typical RSVPs come with a stamped and addressed envelope as well as a card for you to record your response on. But more and more RSVPs are being sent through the web and allow you to respond with one click. Many people don’t RSVP as “unable to attend” because they don’t want to hurt the host’s feelings. An unanswered RSVP usually ends up being more of an inconvenience than a simple “no” would have been. Others don’t send RSVPs because they aren’t sure if they’ll be available on that date and don’t want to commit to an answer. In the end, it’s always best to be honest with the host about your plans—having some kind of answer is better than nothing.

RSVP vs. Regrets Only

Some RSVP cards say “Regrets Only” on them. If you see that, it means you only have to send a response if you can’t attend. Don’t send the RSVP card back if you can attend—even if you want to show your excitement about the event—because that may confuse the host. Contact them a different way to show your enthusiasm. Now that you can answer the question, “What does RSVP stand for?” learn about these other acronyms that are impossible to figure out.

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Morgan Cutolo
Morgan is an Associate Editor at Reader’s Digest. She graduated from the University of New Hampshire in 2016 where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Journalism. She writes for rd.com, helps lead the editorial relationship with our partners, manages our year-round interns, and keeps the hundreds of pieces of content our team produces every month organized. In her free time, she likes exploring the seacoast of Maine where she lives and works remotely full time and snuggling up on the couch with her corgi, Eggo, to watch HGTV or The Office.