Revisiting a post about RSVPs…

I wrote this post a few years ago after Labor Day weekend. A very good friend of mine was hosting a party and we chatted about her frustrations with the whole “RSVP”.  It’s the beginning of a new wedding/celebration season and I thought I would repost this again…it’s important to RSVP for anything, even though it is a courtesy, it’s an important one…please read on…


I am going to stand on my soapbox now… (This posting is really for all of my party planner friends out there, as well as my friends who host dinners and parties at their homes.)

I spent my Labor Day weekend with some of my best friends who decided to have a BBQ. They sent out an Evite, spent lots of money on food and drink, and opened their doors to celebrate the last official weekend of summer. (It was a great party, by the way!)

But let me get back to their Evite…

Their Evite went out a little more than a month before the party. It was sent to more than 50 people. About half responded “yes,” a few responded “maybe” (Really Evite? “Maybe”? Do you see “maybe” on a wedding invitation?), the rest didn’t respond at all. It really makes me wonder what kind of society we have become when we can’t take a few moments out of our “busy” lives to respond to a simple invitation. RSVP or répondez s’il vous plaît means to “please respond.” Friends and family take the time to open their doors and have celebrations. These kinds of events take lots of planning, time and money. Yet most people these days do not have the courtesy of taking the time to send a simple response.

At my friend’s BBQ, half of the people who did respond “yes” to the Evite didn’t even show up. There was no telephone call, email or text message to say they wouldn’t be able to make it. I understand that things in life happen and we have to break our plans, but the least we can do is let our host know that we won’t be able to make it to their party. No excuse is needed, and your host won’t waste food and can make the proper accommodations if it’s a sit-down dinner. Of course my friends were disappointed that their guests couldn’t make the party, but they were even more disappointed that no courtesy was given to them to let them know their guests wouldn’t be able to attend.

Please RSVP, it's the polite and courteous thing to do!
Please RSVP, it’s the polite and courteous thing to do!

Being in the wedding industry has made me hyper-aware of this situation. When we work with hotels, I am often waiting for the guest counts to come in from their clients so I can tell my chef how many servings a cake needs to be. I hear all kinds of stories from our party planner friends that they are calling guests on the phone on behalf of the bride because more than half of the RSVPs are still missing. (In a wedding invite they are already pre-stamped. The work is done for you; all you have to do is check a little box!) Whenever I receive an invite – whether it’s an Evite to a work or social event or a paper invitation I’ve received in the mail – I take that moment to respond. After all, this person went out of their way to invite me to something special, the least I can do is give them the courtesy of a response. Whether it is “yes” or “no,” it’s polite and it’s the right thing to do.

(I will get off my soapbox now…)

3 thoughts on “Revisiting a post about RSVPs…

  1. This is definitely a sentiment worth repeating! I just threw an event where I had used a Paperless Post (which I love since it automates everything) to make things easier only to have to individually contact people to ask if they were coming. In an age where we have time to tweet, Facebook etc about every little bit in our lives without worrying about how those reading our feeds feel about our content, it’s crazy when people feel weird about saying no (out of fear that you’ll be mad to hear) or like to show up without saying yes (I don’t like when people say that I should “assume that they would go as they know my events are always a good time).

    Ettiquette does require that you should say Yes or No and to do so as soon as you’re sure either way!

  2. I totally agree and think its just rude when people do not respond either way. They should never assme you know. I hate when people show up and you say i did not know you were coming and they say of course i would not miss one of your partes once thy have arrived at your house the day
    the event.

  3. PLEASE don’t get off your soapbox on this issue! I’m in the 50-ish range and I feel strongly we’re one of the last generations that was taught to write thank you notes and RSVP.

    I know what it’s like to plan an event and have many not show that had committed to participate and have those that had not called show up and not have enough food to go around. It’s embarrassing, but my new philosophy in the future is “it’s so nice for you to join us; however, I did not receive a reply from you so I was not expecting your presence and do not have extra, but we hope you will stay for dessert.”

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