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Why don't people RSVP -- and what should I do?


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#1 Gwen in VA

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Posted 21 June 2008 - 10:40 AM

My son's graduation party is coming up. The RSVP date is Monday, and we have only heard from half of the invited families! :confused:

I always thought that it was rude not to RSVP to an invitation. Am I old-fashioned?

I would guess that the folks who don't reply don't want to come, which is fine, though I would like to hear that they don't want to or can't come.

My big question is -- a close friend hasn't replied. On Tuesday (after the RSVP date) should I give her a call and ask her about it -- or should I not? (Unfortunately I don't have a good excuse to call her for any other reason -- I will be seeing her the week after.)

If she has overlooked the invitation (her life is confusing at the moment) she will probably feel badly later on. And yes, I'm afraid that I will feel a bit hurt that she didn't let us know. Is asking her directly a "helpful friend" kind of thing to do or a "nag" kind of thing to do?

#2 gamommy

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Posted 21 June 2008 - 10:45 AM

Glad it's not just me, it really bugs me when people don't RVSP. It seems to have become the norm, at least around here. If it were me I would call and ask my good friend (or at least send an email). With others I would just assume that they aren't planning to attend.

#3 Scarlett

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Posted 21 June 2008 - 10:49 AM

If you need to know for planning purposes, I wouldn't assume that those who don't reply aren't coming. I have given countless parties where maybe 1 or 2 out of 20 will respond, but at least 15 will show up. Get out your list and start making phone calls. Each phone call can be short and sweet,

"Hi! This is Mother of the Graduate. I'm just going over the list of those invited to his party because the caterer needs a final count. I don't have your response yet. Will you be able to attend?"

#4 Jeannie in NJ

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Posted 21 June 2008 - 10:50 AM

I would call the people and just ask if they would be attending. Say something like "I haven't received your RSVP and need to have a count of who all will be attending so I can finish planning for the party" which I assume you do need to have an idea of the number of people that will be there in regards to food, etc.

#5 ereks mom

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Posted 21 June 2008 - 10:56 AM

We invited (used www.evite.com) about 60 people or so and asked them to RSVP by May 27th (party was scheduled for the 31st). Some did, but most did not. On the 27th, I sent out a reminder saying, "Please respond TODAY" and got a few more responses.

In total, about half the people responded, but I never heard a word from the other half. Those who responded did come to the party, but those who didn't respond did not. From that, I gathered that most people think that you should RSVP only if you ARE planning to attend the event, but if you aren't planning to attend, you don't respond. I was taught that if you're asked to RSVP, that means respond either "yes" or "no". I guess that's not how it's done anymore. :confused:

I have seen some invitations that said 'Regrets only, please", which I take to mean that you respond only if are not planning to attend, and if the hosts don't hear from you, they expect you to be there. I think that's risky in today's society!

#6 Tammy

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Posted 21 June 2008 - 10:58 AM

I would email everyone....and remind them to RSVP so you can plan! Yes....it is rude...and is a pet peeve of mine. Those that don't have email....I would call...

#7 OnTheBrink

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Posted 21 June 2008 - 11:03 AM

I would email everyone....and remind them to RSVP so you can plan! Yes....it is rude...and is a pet peeve of mine. Those that don't have email....I would call...


DIT-TOE!

I can't stand it when people can't give the courtesy of a response, yet show up and expect to be fed and entertained.

#8 BlueGator

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Posted 21 June 2008 - 11:20 AM

In Support of an RSVP
I think it is about making a decision. I find fewer and fewer people can plan and make decisions weeks in advance. It is the age we live in.

Non-HSers are and were appalled and awed that I planned my school year and kept track of what we had done in a little notebook.

I don't think I am that organized, it's just so many don't have any organization to their lives it makes me look like .... someone who plans for the future. :confused:

When one can not RSVP
There have been times that I would not RSVP till the last minuet. This past Christmas we had horrible snow and ice projections constantly. DH and I did not want to risk our lives traveling 6 hours there and then back for a 3 hour dinner. So I have committed the RSVP faux pas as well.

The Wiki definition of what a Faux Pas is interesting. Faux Pas

#9 LizzyBee

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Posted 21 June 2008 - 11:32 AM

It's okay to call or email and ask people whether they are coming if you want to take the time to do that. I too have had people show up even though they didn't RSVP, which makes it impossible to plan the right amount of food, etc.

#10 Sarah CB

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Posted 21 June 2008 - 11:36 AM

I would email everyone who hasn't replied and say something like this:

"I'm sorry that you aren't able to attend ds' graduation. I know this is a busy time of year but we'll miss you at the grad party. I'll be sure to send out pictures of the graduation and party for you to enjoy."

#11 GSMP

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Posted 21 June 2008 - 11:57 AM

I sent out invitations for my son's b'day party one year and only had 3 people respond. So I only planned for 5.

I got slammed. Almost every person he invited showed up....grrrrr.

Now I call or email.....but even email's get ignored sometimes.

I don't know why people seem to find it impossible to pick up a phone or send the rsvp cad back....Me...I would probably call....

When I called the conversation would go something like this.....

"Hello....(insert name). How are you? I was running down the list of names for the party and I didn't have your name checked off. I couldn't remember if I had just missed your call and I wanted to make sure I didn't mark you off the list due to an error on my part."

I usually get an "Oh, I forgot. I'm so glad you called!!"

I'm still annoyed when that happens.......but that way I won't get stuck again not being prepared for 10 extra people I assumed wouldn't be coming.

I hope he has a nice graduation party.......

#12 readwithem

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Posted 21 June 2008 - 12:20 PM

Oh Gwen I'm SO with you on this one. We frequently have the singles over for lunch after church - ugh - they *never* RSVP. DH thinks they are so afraid of commitment (some of them are in their 30's) and we NEVER know how many we'll have. I'm not saying Sunday lunch compares at all to a graduation party - shame on people for not responding to something as momentous as that.

#13 Whisperlily

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Posted 21 June 2008 - 12:27 PM

I know I'm going to be unpopular for this... but I really dislike RSVP invitations unless they are for a black-tie event (wedding, etc.) In a strange way, it often keeps me from attending. It is not because I saw the RSVP on the invitiation and decided not to go, but it almost always goes like this:

Invitation comes in the mail. I open it, and imagine I'd love to attend the event. I see there is an RSVP for a date in the future, but I don't know what is going on that far in advance with DH's schedule, the kids' schedule, etc. So I tell myself I'll RSVP when I know whether I really CAN attend, rather than say I'm coming and then have to call back and cancel. Life gets busy, I forget to RSVP until after the RSVP date. If I am able to go after all, I assume I should stay home because they're not expecting me. If it's a close friend, usually either they'll call me and ask if we can come, or *rarely* I'll call them after the date and ask if it's still okay to come. If I forget to RSVP, I don't attend unless I have talked to the host before the event, to make sure it wouldn't cause a problem.

I never send an RSVP on invitations I send out... But maybe that's just me. I have noticed that most of the time on birthday invitations, etc. the RSVP section is usually crossed out, and re-written to say: Call if you have any questions, and then the phone number is written in the blank.

I guess I had assumed that the RSVP was intended for formal events, events that are taking place in such a location that an individual reservation for each attendee needs to be made in advance, or those that had an extended guest list of many people they didn't know well. In those cases, I usually try and make it a point to respond right away. For most other events, I consider it an outdated and unnecessary frustration for the attendee.

I see, however, that I may be in the minority. I'll think about it a little harder next time I recieve one.

#14 Harriet Vane

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Posted 21 June 2008 - 12:51 PM

People these days just don't RSVP. I have found I am a lot less stressed if I just accept that fact and do not obsess about the rudeness and inconvenience.

Just call those who have not RSVP'd quickly. Don't mention the RSVP or sound annoyed. Say something like, "Just checking in with you. I'm trying to get a head count for the party so I can plan enough food. Are you able to make it or have you got a conflict that day?"

Be cheery and matter-of-fact from start to finish. If you plan just five minutes per call it really doesn't take long to get through even a lengthy list.

#15 ChristusG

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Posted 21 June 2008 - 01:27 PM

It really irks me that people do not RSVP. We've stopped putting RSVP on invitations because people just do not care. It really is not that hard to reply with a yes or a no, especailly if you can do it by email. GRRRR....this is one of my pet peeves.

#16 Gwen in VA

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Posted 21 June 2008 - 01:31 PM

Thank you all. I appreciate your thoughts.

I am a bit reassured that I am not the only person who has issued invitations and not gotten RSVP's!

I will plan on calling everybody on Tuesday. I am certainly going to plan on having enough food in case a few extra show up, but I definitely need a more exact number than "between 50 and 125"! :tongue_smilie:

#17 Sebastian (a lady)

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Posted 21 June 2008 - 01:39 PM

My son's graduation party is coming up. The RSVP date is Monday, and we have only heard from half of the invited families! :confused:

I always thought that it was rude not to RSVP to an invitation. Am I old-fashioned?

I would guess that the folks who don't reply don't want to come, which is fine, though I would like to hear that they don't want to or can't come.

My big question is -- a close friend hasn't replied. On Tuesday (after the RSVP date) should I give her a call and ask her about it -- or should I not? (Unfortunately I don't have a good excuse to call her for any other reason -- I will be seeing her the week after.)

If she has overlooked the invitation (her life is confusing at the moment) she will probably feel badly later on. And yes, I'm afraid that I will feel a bit hurt that she didn't let us know. Is asking her directly a "helpful friend" kind of thing to do or a "nag" kind of thing to do?


In my experience, RSVPs work best in groups where everyone is hosting a couple times a year. Then everyone has been on the planning end of a party and appreciates how important it is to let a hostess know how many people are coming.

A few years ago, we were in a position where we were entertaining and being guests a lot. RSVPs were very important and most people were good about responding. But a couple other things also happened. Because we tended to see couples at other events, we would just ask each other if the invitation had arrived and if they were coming. So hosts had a general mental count well before the event. Also, it was quite normal for someone in dh's office to call the invitee's office and ask if they were able to attend.

So in a perfect world, you would have gotten all the RSVPs back right away. However, in the world we live in, invitations get set aside until you can check your calendar or see if dh is in town that day or until there is a better time to call. With all good intentions, then they can be forgotten. (BTW, if the RSVP date is still two days away and you've heard from half, I'd say that is quite good these days.)

It is perfectly appropriate for you as a hostess to call and ask if a family received the invitation and if they are planning to attend. You don't need a good excuse to call, the lack of response is the reason for the call. I don't think it is really a nagging thing to do. Though it might tweak a few people because they will realize that they should have contacted you.

#18 Sebastian (a lady)

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Posted 21 June 2008 - 01:46 PM

I guess I had assumed that the RSVP was intended for formal events, events that are taking place in such a location that an individual reservation for each attendee needs to be made in advance, or those that had an extended guest list of many people they didn't know well. In those cases, I usually try and make it a point to respond right away. For most other events, I consider it an outdated and unnecessary frustration for the attendee.

I see, however, that I may be in the minority. I'll think about it a little harder next time I recieve one.


I have sometimes had the same thing happen to me of forgetting to respond until the date had passed. Sometimes we don't attend because it would be an imposition. Other times I call and ask if we can still attend.

But I do still think that an RSVP is appropriate anytime that the hostess is going to be putting time, effort and money into a meal. If we are hosting pupus (Hawaiian style potluck) for our neighborhood, I don't care about an RSVP except to know that I have enough plates and drinks (both items that can be saved for later use).
But if we are having a party that we are providing all the food for, I need a head count so I can provide enough as a hostess. It wouldn't have to be black tie for an under or overcount to have a bad impact.

#19 Tammy

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Posted 21 June 2008 - 02:01 PM

I think the problem that people are having these days is...instead of marking that day on your calendar and not planning anything else....they wait and see if they don't have anything better to do. I think people are missing the idea of setting aside that day....and planning your days AROUND it.

#20 Laurie4b

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Posted 21 June 2008 - 02:24 PM

I totally agree with this. It is what it is. People don't RSVP. I don't think it is intention to be rude, or "waiting to see if something better comes up" but sheer, over-the-top busyness. I am often stymied from RSVPing because I've got a kid in a sport and don't know what their schedule is yet, or don't know if dh will be traveling that week, etc. and then I can forget.

I think Strider's advice is good. Don't be insulted. Don't assume they'll be insulted by the call to check in. It's a perfectly normal thing to do.

#21 Kris

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Posted 21 June 2008 - 02:30 PM

I'm sorry you're having this problem, but I'm sure glad I'm not alone. I never had this happen until we moved here, but I guess it's a trend that's taking over the country.

As far as the close friend goes, I'd call her.

We had a birthday party for my son several years ago. It was a skating party, we invited a dozen or so kids, and the cost was based on that. Two days before the party we had not heard from a single person, so I called the skating place and told them I was thinking about canceling, since apparently no one was coming. She told me, "You ain't from around here, are ya?" Um -- no. So she told me they would show up, they just don't RSVP.

Well, I fell for it. ONE KID showed up, but I ended up paying full freight to the skating place. So HER mission was accomplished -- she got payment for 12 kids when we only had 2 there. I took everything home I could get my sticky mits on.

I've also learned my lesson -- for birthdays or other special occasions, he invites one or two close friends and that's it.

#22 Tammy

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Posted 21 June 2008 - 02:31 PM

I don't, LOL....I think if someone is going to take the time to buy/prepare food and party supplies for you...then the least you can do is RSVP. If you are so busy...that you can't think that far into the future...then you should rsvp 'NO'.

#23 ereks mom

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Posted 21 June 2008 - 03:05 PM

I think the problem that people are having these days is...instead of marking that day on your calendar and not planning anything else....they wait and see if they don't have anything better to do. I think people are missing the idea of setting aside that day....and planning your days AROUND it.



And that's what made me so mad about people not RSVPing for ER's graduation party. I wanted to think that something so monumental in his life would be important to those we invited. These people were not just acquaintancs; they were CLOSE friends and family members. These are people that expect US to attend when THEY have something special like this. And not only did some of them not RSVP, they didn't show up, either. I really felt slighted.

#24 Mx5

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Posted 21 June 2008 - 03:10 PM

If you need to know for planning purposes, I wouldn't assume that those who don't reply aren't coming. I have given countless parties where maybe 1 or 2 out of 20 will respond, but at least 15 will show up. Get out your list and start making phone calls. Each phone call can be short and sweet,

"Hi! This is Mother of the Graduate. I'm just going over the list of those invited to his party because the caterer needs a final count. I don't have your response yet. Will you be able to attend?"


Excellent advice.

Also, for the next party, just put on the invitations "RSVP Regrets Only" . People seem more likely to respond that way, for some reason.

#25 gardening momma

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Posted 21 June 2008 - 03:18 PM

The only graduation parties I've been to have always been open houses--with no RSVP. Maybe the people you've invited are used to that format (the 'drop-in for a few minutes when you can' format)?

#26 gardening momma

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Posted 21 June 2008 - 03:21 PM

Also, remember that "RSVP" translates to "reply, if you please." So, if taken literally, you only need to reply if you want to.

#27 gandpsmommy

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Posted 21 June 2008 - 03:40 PM

If you need to know for planning purposes, I wouldn't assume that those who don't reply aren't coming. I have given countless parties where maybe 1 or 2 out of 20 will respond, but at least 15 will show up. Get out your list and start making phone calls. Each phone call can be short and sweet,

"Hi! This is Mother of the Graduate. I'm just going over the list of those invited to his party because the caterer needs a final count. I don't have your response yet. Will you be able to attend?"


I think this is great advice. I ended up doing this last year for dd's b-day party when no one had rsvp'ed a couple days before the party, and I needed to come up with an alternate plan if no one really was going to show up. It turned out that almost everyone invited was planning to come, but just hadn't remembered or taken the time to rsvp. No one thought it was rude of me to call, either.

#28 Tammy

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Posted 21 June 2008 - 03:44 PM

it isn't meant 'literally'...at all. Here is a nice writeup on it...
http://entertaining....t/tip122500.htm

Tammy

#29 dirty ethel rackham

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Posted 21 June 2008 - 03:46 PM

But, even if you are dropping in, the hostess still needs to know how many people to expect - how much food and drink to have.

Although I have forgotten to RSVP to things, it was never a "see if something better comes along" but the busy-ness that has gotten in the way. Putting something aside until you can get the baseball schedule, dh work schedule and then the invite has been buried in the bottom of a pile (literally and figuratively.)


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