Saturday, 6 July 2013

Etiquette 101: The RSVP

Unless you live under a rock, the chances are that sometime in your life you will have received an invitation to a special event with the letters ‘R.S.V.P.’ on it.  Yes, in the world beyond Facebook where events require a simple click ‘Yes/No/Maybe’ there is a whole social phenomenon where people write things on paper and send them (by hand or snail mail)!  As we are in summer (!) and wedding season I thought I would explore what these letters mean and the etiquette behind it.

To do: R.S.V.P.
R.S.V.P. stands for ‘r├ępondez s'il vous plait’, which is French for please respond.  It means that someone thinks a lot of you and wants you to attend a certain event- however to aid their planning and to help them not turn into a stressed out crazy person they want to know if you will be able to attend or not.  (I think all of us have, at some point, invited some friends to dinner/birthday meal/celebration/wedding etc and then had a moment of panic where we fear NO-ONE will turn up and we will look like a sad loner, or that too many people will turn up and there won’t be enough cheese and pineapple on sticks to feed everyone….)  This is where the R.S.V.P. comes in handy.  You can keep inviting different friends and family until all the spaces are filled OR you can ensure the catering meets the number of people and you don’t end up with a) lots of grumpy hungry people fighting over the cocktail sausages on sticks or b) you don’t end up having to live on left over food for 3 weeks having massively over catered.  (I have experienced both of those scenarios as a guest and grumpy hungry people are not fun!)

Did you know that the R.S.V.P. appeared in English culture in the late 18th Century.  By the 1920’s American etiquette writer Emily Post noted that ‘anyone receiving an invitation with an R.S.V.P. on it is obliged to reply’.  It was deemed to be in inexcusably rude if you did not reply- let’s hope fewer letters were lost in the post back then!
R.S.V.P. to France!

Nowadays many invitations are still sent with a separate R.S.V.P. postcard allowing the recipient to easily indicate attending or ‘with regrets’ for a non-attendance.  This allows the host to follow up any missing replies.  However the invention of email has lead to many events including an email address or telephone numbers for replies.

When should I reply?
Traditionally the convention is that you send your R.S.V.P. 1-2 days after receiving it.  I think this rule has been relaxed a little however it is advisable to reply 7 days in advance of any R.S.V.P. date.  If not you might end up with a frazzled phone call from a bride/event planner or, even worse, loose your place at the event!

I think I under ordered for 30 people....
Etiquette essentials:
  • If you are unsure of your attendance due to external factors (i.e. a shift rota) just drop your host a message to explain.  They will usually hold your place. 
  • If your invitation is also your R.S.V.P. (tsk!), don’t forget to photocopy the invitation part for future reference. 
  • Put the dates in your diary immediately.  There is no excuse for sending an attending R.S.V.P. and then not turning up due to double booking. 
  • Don’t forget to add any dietary requirements for you (and your guest) with the reply.  There should be a space for this information. 
  • Remember how many people the R.S.V.P. is for, and don’t turn up with extra guests.

Although some etiquette is badly dated in 2013, I think the simple R.S.V.P. is a sign of sticking to your word- something which should never be seen as outdated!

Are you off to any events this summer?  How long do you leave an R.S.V.P?  Do you prefer a written card, email, phone call or facebook R.S.V.P?
A huge thank you to London based Collection 26, event and wedding planners who have sponsored a post on Computergirls Musings.  As always, the topic and words are my choice and not influenced by the blogger or company.  Please take a look at for photographs of their past events (and gorgeous wedding dresses) or to read their tips for planning a party or event!

If you are a blogger or company who would be interested sponsoring a post on Computergirl's Musings, please get in touch for a list of forthcoming posts which have space for sponsorship.  Spaces are limited.  Please note that positive reviews, or content can not be purchased and all sponsorships are disclosed.  Thank you.


Friday, 5 July 2013

Take 5: Part 4 (A nosey post into my life)

In the last 7 weeks I didn't blog much at all so I thought I would post a few snaps of what I have been up to!

It's been most work, overtime work, travelling (for work stuff) but I did have a birthday and manage a few social trips, saw some family, and sadly got sick!  I'm currently recuperating from a cold which has made me very congested and achey (from coughing so much).

Getting lost in a hedge maze.
I love mazes.  I believe they were installed in mansion grounds as a fun way to force people to get exercise.  I do know some tricks to get through them quicker, but half the fun is getting lost or racing someone else to the middle.  The best mazes don't have a quick exit from the middle, but force you to go back the way you came!  Advice: Take water, wear sunscreen and visit a loo before you go in!

Afternoon tea! 
What a great British tradition!  Set up to give a little nourishment between meals.  This lot filled me up and was a meal!  The apple shortbread was yummy!

Post for the blog!  How exciting!
I still love getting post.  I love sending (and receiving) cards.  I don't think email will ever replace the thrill of getting a handwritten note!  One of these parcels contains some hand designs cards I bought for my card draw.  The others are blog goodies!

Elle Woods went to Law School in 'Legally Blonde'.
I love this film.  It seems to be on tv most weeks but I still watch it.  The outfit above is one of my favourites Reese Witherspoon (Elle Woods) wears.  Smart and beautiful :)  Sometimes the path to what we think we want leads us to a better goal.  (It amuses me how in the photo all the guys look bored/mad apart from the one to the left of Elle- he looks a little in love!)

Weston-Super-Mare and Kites!
A lovely British seaside town, full of tradition and Victorian buildings.  I was there when there was a kite festival- which made me think of Mary Poppins!  I haven't flown a kite for years (more pictures to follow if you want them)!  I caught the sun a little despite covering up!

What have you been up to?  Do you like Mazes, afternoon tea or Kites?  Are you a handwritten card fan?  Legally Blonde- good or bad?

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