Me, Sher, and Ad

Me, Sher, and Ad
Bro Adam and sis Sher, my rocks!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

RSVP and the Host Gift

This is dedicated to all my friends and family who have lamented over the fact that people don't RSVP, not too mention my own issue with people who do not bring a host gift to a party.

I went to a cocktail party about a month or two ago. It was an informal thing. Great wine, even better conversation, and some first class food. I had a really nice time and thoroughly enjoyed myself. I was shocked though by the amount of food served and I asked the hostess about it. She stated that she wasn't sure how much to make since people hadn't RSVP'd her invitations. She figured she would rather be safe than sorry with the amount of food, so she over cooked. And boy did she ever. I went home with a nice doggy bag which became lunch the next day. I could sense her annoyance though at the fact that certain people could not even call to let her know they weren't coming.

When I arrived there, I brought a bottle of wine. It wasn't a high end wine, just a $10.00 bottle of French Bordeaux as a thank you for having the affair. I was shocked again by the fact that some people did not bring anything as a host gift to the cocktail party. Now, I was taught by my parents that you bring something when someone puts out money to throw a party, BBQ, or really any private social event. You don't need to be extravagant. Cliche as it sounds, it is the thought that counts. It can be a set of cocktail napkins for their bar, a dessert, a bottle of wine, an after dinner drink such as Kahlua or Sambuca, or a six pack of imported beer or microbrews. The reason is not to offset the costs of the party for the host or hostess but to recognize that they have gone out of their way to spend money on friends. It shows thanks and appreciation as soon as you arrive!

I  never bring candles as a host gift because I am frightfully afraid of someone's house burning down because of me. I can just here them saying to a friend, "Well the reason the house burnt down was because of that candle that MARC gave me as a host gift!"  Ugh! I can feel the guilt already and I just made that up! 

So a little etiquette lesson is in order. If someone sends you an invitation, make sure you RSVP to it in a timely manner. For those that don't know what that means, that is fine and I will tell you. It is French for "rรฉpondez s'il vous plaรฎt" which means "reply please" in plain English. Even if you think they know that you aren't going ... OFFICIALLY RESPOND ANYWAY!  I have seen friends and family stress out when someone does not respond to a simple e-vite. And that it the simplest one to respond to of all! It will save questions and stress and let's be honest, it only take a couple minutes of your time to respond via letter, phone, or email. And do not have someone RSVP for you! How embarrassing! We are adults. You are old enough to make a phone call yourself, trust me. As a host, it is much appreciated. And one more thing to do it in a timely manner:  if someone is having a party, don't RSVP 5 minutes before the party begins! Duh!  Proper etiquette says at least 1 week prior to the event should suffice. 

My next issue is with the host or hostess themselves. If someone gives you a host gift for your party, send them a thank you. (Gee, didn't I write about this before?) It is not only proper but welcomed by the person that brings you the gift. And even if you don't like white wine, orange dish towels, or (god forbid) a potentially house-burning candle, still send a thank you! At the very least, an email. Although a phone call or thank you note is preferred.

So that is my social rant for the week. If you don't agree with me, let me know and I will assume that if I invite you to something, you may not RSVP. But be forewarned, if you do show up, don't be surprised if I seat you in the kitchen with the cook.


  1. Marc you are absolutely right! I just recently started going to someones house for holiday functions and birthday get togethers. You can tell she is insistent with the RSVPs which makes me think your friend in this story isn't alone. We always try to give at as much notice as we can. While everyone at these parties bring something to contribute, we find 'drinkables' usually get opened and devoured almost immediately but hey we can't help we bring yummy things right? hehe I have been to my husbands side of the family functions and much to my surprise NO one brings anything. The fact that I brought a hand soap/hand cream canister set made ME feel uncomfortable? She made a big deal out of it. Etiquette shouldn't make anyone feel uncomfortable. Lets continue to do what we feel and maybe everyone will follow suit. ;)
    One thing I am HORRIBLE is thank you notes that are piling up in my desk drawer for inviting us to parties. Is there etiquette on that? Ut-oohs.

  2. I will continue to as well Dawn! Thanks for the insight! I appreciate it. It really is just common courtesy, too. And with regards to all those thank you notes (especially around the holidays), I find that if I do one every night, it is easier and not as much as a burden. Hope that helps. :) Miss ya!