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RSVP + Philippine Culture = ?

RSVP is short for "Respondez, s'il vous plait."
Translated from French to English, it means "Please respond."

How does it work?

You simply have to confirm your attendance on or before a set date prior to the event. You should also inform the celebrator if you are uncertain of attending or won't make it to the event. 

How should a guest respond?

Most invitations include a response card which will be returned to the sender. Some invitations have contact numbers printed on them. The guest may send his response to the said contact number. If he is meeting the celebrator frequently, either they are neighbors or workmates, he may personally respond to the invitation.

Why is a response important?

The celebrator needs to know the final count of guests so he can inform the management of the venue, set seating arrangements, and inform the caterer.

Is it necessary for a guest to provide more details than the response itself?

Usually, the guest needs to inform the celebrator of his full name and contact numbers - his full name for the guest list and his contact number for reminders or in case changes regarding the event should arise. Also, if the guest wishes to bring an SO (Significant Other) or a Plus One, he must inform the celebrator.

Now that we've set the parameters of how RSVP works, let's see how it works (or NOT) in Philippine weddings.

Are you ready to celebrate? Let's count your guests.

The Filipino culture is centered on family. It's almost mandatory to invite every extended family member to the wedding. And if you don't already know, many Filipinos have large extended families.

This is just an exaggeration example.

Let's assume the you will not invite every cousin or aunt or uncle just because of the limited space in the venue and obvious budgetary reasons.

Word of mouth. Invitation or no invitation, news of a wedding spreads like wildfire, especially among relatives. Hindi uso ang RSVP sa Pilipinas. {RSVP is not in the Philippine culture.} Invited or not, RSVP'd or not, relatives will show up and you will just have to deal with this kind of situation.

Not to worry! Your immediate family takes part in sorting the guest list... to make sure you invite all your aunties and uncles! **Toinks** Don't forget to add their amigos and amigas! Hehehehe...

Our family ties are so tightly welded together that we fear offending family members, even the ones we only see in reunions which only happen quarterly, more or less.

But wait! There's more! Filipinos happen to have a second, third, fourth family! Church mates, friends, colleagues, officemates/workmates, classmates, and batchmates, in any order, may be categorized also as family.

Sometimes, we are even closer to our friends than our actual family.

The difference with friends is they are less likely to demand to be part of the event. Regretfully, you can only invite the closest ones for the remaining slots in your guest list, after your immediate plus extended family filled it for you. Although they don't share the privilege of suggesting who the other guests should be, they can still market the event for you and make the supposedly exclusive event public.

They can't be blamed for being happy for the you and oversharing. If unexpected people come to the event, the you will just have to adapt with the situation.

If you don't want guests, get married in the middle of the forest. 

Screen grabs from ABS-CBN's Youtube Channel

Celebrators can only adapt... because right now RSVP is just for formality and is DEFINITELY NOT included in Filipino traditions and practices!

Wala tayong magagawa. Hindi talaga uso ang RSVP sa Pilipinas. Hehehehe!

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