RSVP :: The Lost Formality

Party-planning is actually an enjoyable activity for me. I know, some moms dread an impending birthday party, but I appreciate the organization of creating a theme, designing invitations, and making a snack/menu list. I enjoy some of the errand-running and the actual putting together of a party. Most of my parties, both for children and adults, are pretty casual and low-key. That’s just our style. But even still, there is usually a list of items to pull together the week before any event or party.

This leads me to my incredible appreciations for the RSVP! With the popularity of Facebook events, it’s even easier to provide your Yes/No/Maybe these days if you are sent a party invite. However, even with good old fashioned printed invitations, it’s really considerate and kind to the event planner to send your Répondez s’il vous plaît (“Please reply”). I don’t know why it’s so uncommon for invitees to respond, but it seems like the RSVP has become a lost formality.

For a recent at-home party, we received some responses but didn’t hear back at all from some people. Not only does it leave the host wondering if you did, in fact, receive the invitation, but it makes it a lot harder to plan for attendees. Party hosts like to plan for appropriate amounts of food, snacks, cake size, seating, etc.

The formality originated from the French court of King Louis XIV in the late 17th and early 18th c­enturies and became a polite way to remind people to respond to an invitation received. For more formal events like weddings, an RSVP card is included with return postage for guests to send their responses. For casual events, a simple line to call/text/email the host is usually included.

I do realize that sometimes as a busy mom you can forget if you have weekend plans much less if you contacted the host in advance of a party. Here is my MOM TIP: When you receive an invite for an event or birthday party, look at your calendar in the moment. If you do anticipate going or sending your child, mark it in your calendar right then and there. And while you’re at it, email or text the host to let them know if you plan to attend or not. Then it’s done and you don’t even have to remember to come back to it! Your host will appreciate it, and your mom brain can move on to the next thing!

Rachel Harris Ledet
A New Orleans native and entrepreneur, Rachel is a mom of four with an active schedule. Rachel maintains a daily balance of running her own marketing firm, 30|90 Marketing, managing her kids’ schedules, and maintaining extracurriculars including coaching dance, volunteering, and occasionally teaching courses. Rachel lives in Mandeville with her best friend and husband Lenny, daughters Addison and Amelia, stepson Luke, and son Tucker. With a family of six and a million balls in the air, Rachel keeps things light by continuously learning, spending time with amazing friends, blogging, finding any route to a concert or outdoor festival, and planning her next getaway with her husband. A sense of humor can get you through almost anything, so she tends to surround herself with fabulous and very funny people.


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