RSVP Etiquette - Mistakes that will keep you off the guest list
Wedding season is in high gear. Invitations to church, school, charity, Halloween,Thanksgiving, and Christmas events may also require your RSVP. If you don't respond did you know that you could land on the "do not invite" list for the next event?
All of us are busy people. Is it ever acceptable to leave an RSVP unanswered? If you decline an RSVP, do you need to go into a long explanation about why you won't be attending?
If I cannot attend an event do I have to respond to an RSVP?
Approaching the fall season, your mailbox may already be littered with invitations to dinner parties, receptions, dances, bar mitzvahs, and commencements that require an RSVP. The invitations will include an RSVP card with a stamped self-addressed envelope to make your response easier. Fill the card out and return it if you want to be invited to the next event.
The acronym RSVP comes from the French phrase Répondez s'il vous plaît. It literally means "Reply if you please" or "Please reply". Responding to an RSVP is a polite way to give the host confirmation of your attendance. Some of these events are important life milestones and they require detailed planning.
If I don't respond to an RSVP doesn't the host know I am not coming?
The old adage "no reply is a reply" has become an accepted form of communication for many people. It is true! If you don't respond to an RSVP within a reasonable amount of time, you are viewed as having no manners and the event host crosses your name off the guest list.
Why do I have to send a disappointing no to an RSVP? Is silence the best answer?
Leaving an RSVP unanswered shows an utter lack of appreciation and respect for the host and the event. It is important to answer every invitation within a day or two of receiving it. Even if you cannot attend the event your response is a common courtesy that allows the host to confirm the number of guests so the event will have enough food and be well planned. Events are expensive and a lack of RSVP could cost the host money.
Should I say why I can't attend in an RSVP?
If your response is "No" to an RSVP you do not have to offer an explanation. Keep your RSVP as brief as possible. If you know the person well (e.g. wedding invitation) write "over" on the right hand bottom of the card. After checking "NO" on the back of the card, respond with a brief sentence: "So sorry, we will be out of town."
Can I ask my host if I can bring a friend? or can I bring my children?
It is not acceptable to ask your host to bring someone. If your invitation reads "and guest" you can put that person's name on the RSVP card. It is rude to bring a random guest or anyone extra especially if the host has a certain budget for providing food and drink. Please don't even consider bringing children along if it is not stated on the invitation. If you have unexpected guests on the date of the event simply decline the RSVP.
Can I change my RSVP?
If you have already sent your RSVP and something comes up, let the host know as soon as possible. It is not courteous in most circumstances to change your RSVP once the host has gotten a final guest count. If you are changing your RSVP response from YES to NO, call the host immediately and explain the issue. You should express your regrets and send a gift (e.g. a bridal shower).
If you are changing your response from NO to YES call the host as soon as possible and ask if you may accept the invitation. If the event is a small dinner party for example, it is best not to change your response.
It is always kind and thoughtful to respond to an RSVP. When you don't respond, the host is forced to try and contact you because final guest count's involving food are due a week in advance. How embarrassing! In any case, returning an RSVP is easy and a way to show that you appreciate the invitation.