With the arrival of the Christmas season comes high season for socializing. As the invitations to parties and gatherings trickle into your life, via telephone, mail or electronically, note those oft-overlooked four letters somewhere at the end: R.s.v.p. Short for 'Repondez s'il vous plait', or 'please respond' in French, those letters are every bit as important as the details of the event.
There was a time when responding to an invitation was the rule, and not the exception it seems to have become today. Unfortunately for today's host or hostess, responding to the invitation is considered by many to be unnecessary. Nothing could be further from the truth! If you've ever thrown a party and were still awaiting a reply from half of the invitees, then you know how it affects everything from the amount of food to purchase to seating arrangements.
An invitation should be accepted or declined as soon as possible after it is received. The old school of thought was to respond within several days of receiving the invitation. But most certainly, before the deadline, if one is noted. To do otherwise is the height of RUDENESS, and at the very least, inconsiderate of the person extending the invitation.
My rule of thumb is to immediately note the response deadline in my planner, and to call immediately if I'm certain I can or cannot attend. If there is some question as to whether I will, the 'r.s.v.p. by' date stands on my calendar to remind me.
Same goes for the 'regrets only' format which has become popular in recent years.
It is no fun for the host to have to place numerous telephone calls days before the event, hunting down guests and their response. Nor is it nice to have empty seats and too much food. So the next invitation that crosses your social calendar, respond. Because it DOES 'Manner' a lot.