RSVP = Please, Please, PLEASE Reply


If you were to take a survey of the etiquette violation I hear the most about, I have a VERY clear winner. Failure to RSVP. I hear about this etiquette no-no for social events, networking events and even family occasions and celebrations.

Here are a few of the more common excuses for epic RSVP failure:

  1. I totally forgot.
  2. I wasn’t sure if I could make it and was waiting on a few other things to fall into place before I RSVP’ed. (Then you fail to RSVP once your schedule is firmed up.)
  3. She invited SO many people. I’m sure she won’t miss me or notice I’m not there.
  4. Oh. I didn’t know that  I was suppose to RSVP.

Lame. Lame. Lame. Lame.

Can you see me getting my soap box out? Well, yes I am and I’m standing tall on it! This soap box lecture is dedicated to all of you who tell me that you are sick and tired of people NOT RSVPing. I am too!

I realize that those of you reading this are most likely socially astute & gracious people and recognize the importance of a timely RSVP. Perhaps you can share it with your non-RSVPin’ friends as an early Memorial Day gift. “OMG. Look at this blog that I came across today. Isn’t it frustrating when people don’t RSVP? Grrr. Drives me crazy. So inconsiderate.” Hint, hint.

I’ve posted about it before, but it seems as if everyone needs a reminder. Especially in this season of grad parties, weddings, summer BBQs and poolside drinks. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE take a minute to call, text, e-mail or send a singing telegram to RSVP to your host.

Here are a few reasons why it is inconsiderate to NOT RSVP:

  1. RSVP is the abbreviated form of the French Repondez S’il Vous Plait or in English, “Please reply.” Pretty straightforward.
  2. Your host invited you because she/he wants you to come. It is called a relationship and they require respect and courtesy.
  3. Your host is trying to plan the amount of food & drink that is needed. If she invited 30, but only 20 invitees RSVP, what is she to think about the other 10? Are they coming or not? Hosts don’t want to run out of food or drink.

Your RSVP should be timely and done by the date listed on the invite. Not the morning of the event. If you’re a host and you haven’t heard from some of the invitees by the suggested date, you are A-OK to track them down for their reply. You shouldn’t have to, but…

And for heavens’ sake – if you RSVP’d that you were coming, then SHOW UP.  Unless something really big & bad has happened, don’t back out at the last minute.  If you replied with a “yes,” then attend. Got it? The host has planned on you attending.  A No-Show and Last-Minute-Backer-Outer deserve a sentence to etiquette jail as much as a Non-RSVP’er.

I’d love to hear from you. Your thoughts on this subject are appreciated! I know you’ve been on one side or another of this RSVP situation.

Mind Your Manners and RSVP,



  1. Love that you are coming on strong with this one, Kelly! It’s a super big pet peeve of mine – especially when it comes to children’s birthday parties! We all know how much thought and effort and expense can go into planning a child’s birthday party. And we also know how disappointing it is for a child to expect 10 friends at a party and only 5 show up. I get that we’re all busy – but seriously people, if you get one of those party invitations in your child’s backpack, take 2 minutes to look at your calendar and RSVP!!

    On the other hand…and yes, I’m going to give an exception to the rule…I have given myself permission to NOT RSVP to virtual events via Facebook. On any given day, I have 3 to 5 ‘events’ I’ve been invited to on Facebook. I think this is a handy feature and there’s certainly a place for it – I love that it reminds me to register for something or buy a ticket for something and I can see who else is attending. BUT – I feel in no way compelled to RSVP to an event when I don’t really know the person who invited me and it’s a public event – meaning they are just using the Facebook event to promote a festival or show or something. So it doesn’t really matter to the organizer if I RSVP or not. Hope that’s ok in your book:-)

    • Kelly

      Yes, yes, yes Theresa! Many of the people I hear the no RSVP compliant from are parents who have planned a birthday party! Your exception is well-stated and applicable to the events where 900 people are “invited” when really it is just a way to promote an event. I think this is a good use of Facebook, but requires no response. On the other hand, if you get a Facebook invite for a person’s birthday party or more personal gathering, I’d say ‘yes’ to RSVPing. Thanks for your comments. This is such a pet peeve of so many – myself included!

  2. Thank you for this post & I particularly like your association of RSVP with building relationships…so true. This is particularly relevant in school events. We currently have issues where we are having 30-40% No-Show and Last-Minute-Backer-Outers at school. It is a problem. Then, if you follow up with the “no-shows” about the importance of RSVPing, they suddenly get offended.

    • Kelly

      Thanks for reading and for sharing your thoughts and experience. That sounds like serious RSVP frustration! 30-40% is a significant percentage and makes it challenging for organizers to plan!

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