The Importance of an R.S.V.P.
In 4-H we spend a lot of time teaching youth critical life skills to help them be productive members of society. We even teach youth how to write impactful buyers letters and thank you letters, however we have neglected to explain the importance of yet another common courtesy, the R.S.V.P. When you receive an invitation to a party, event, or other celebration, it is often accompanied with an R.S.V.P. Many people know that an R.S.V.P. is a way to respond if they will be attending an event or not, but many do not know what R.S.V.P. stands for let alone grasp the significance of using it.
According to Merriam-Webster, R.S.V.P. is an abbreviation for the French saying “répondez s’il vous plaÎt” which translates to “please reply”. When you get an invitation, there is an expectation that you will respond yes, you are coming and the total number of guests, or no you are not. The reason for this boils down to planning and preparation. Whoever is putting on the event needs to know how many people will be in attendance to ensure that there are enough seats, supplies, food, and drinks for all in attendance. If you do not R.S.V.P., then an event may not have enough of what is needed or may end up cancelling the event all together due to lack of participation.
There are deadlines for a reason. If the event is using a caterer, they have cutoff dates for placing orders to ensure that they have enough time to get the ingredients needed to fulfill your order and sufficient time and staffing to prepare the food. Also, if supplies have to be special ordered for an event, these have to be placed far in advance of the event to ensure that they will arrive in time. If you R.S.V.P. after the cutoff date, you put the event host at risk for having to pay extra to have something rush ordered or not being able to get the needed items in time.
We understand that emergencies come up from time to time. You may have responded that you were coming to an event, but then something came up. If this happens, you should notify the event host as soon as possible. While one person not attending an event will not create a huge problem, several people not showing up for an event without notifying the event host in a timely manner could cost hundreds of dollars in excess food or event supplies.
Managing the Stress
Planning an event can be very stressful on an event organizer. In order to help alleviate some of the stress, Highlands County 4-H utilizes 4-H Online and Eventbrite registration platforms as a way to manage event registration. For State programs, youth can register directly through their family profile on 4honline.com. For open or community events such as the Kickball Kickoff, Tropicana Speech Contest, or the annual awards banquet, families can register though Eventbrite as a way to R.S.V.P. their attendance. When there are not enough participants registered, we are forced to cancel the event. Unfortunately, we have had to cancel many workshops due to people not signing up, only to hear that people intended to come, but did not register. Each event has a registration deadline and additional attendees cannot be added after the cutoff date. If you are not registered, you cannot participate. This helps us ensure that we are able to provide all needed supplies for the event and to be able to host the best event possible with proper and prudent planning.
Whether you are attending a 4-H event, birthday party, wedding, or other event, please be courteous to your event host and R.S.V.P. to your event and in a timely manner. You will prevent your host from having unnecessary added stress, incurring additional expenses, not having enough supplies for everyone or the possibility that the event may be canceled. Let’s all get in the habit of good R.S.V.P. etiquette.