The Importance of the RSVP

Short for “respondez si’l vous plait”, or “please respond” for those who don’t speak French, the RSVP is a great way to let the host of a party, event or wedding know what your intention is – whether you will be attending an event or not, and if you will be bringing anyone or anything. It’s also a great way to let you host know if you have any special requirements, like if you allergic or intolerant to any dietary needs, so that your host can ensure that you will be fully catered for as well and don’t show up for dinner only to discover you can’t eat anything. Without letting the host know what your intentions are, you are going to have a horrible time, and your host is going to feel guilty.

The issue is that the RSVP has turned into a horror story that rivals the blood-soaked gory movies that bombard the cinemas – only at a host level. Whether it be having a whole bunch of people turn up at your wedding without warning and without placement at tables or food available, or if you RSVP at don’t end up attending – meaning that the host has too much food and not enough people to eat it. The horror stories spread both ways, and ends up leaving everyone in the lurch.

There are a few ways that both guest and host can combat the negligence that ends up being the RSVP, and I am here to show you how to do just that using a few handy tips.


Photo by Sarah Parrott

Host’s Responsibility: The way you send your invite is important.

Sending invitations in the mail are slowly being outdated by our technologically savvy age of social media and are now only generally reserved for weddings. This means that countless parties and other events are being invited using event functions on Facebook, which is actually easier to ignore, miss or respond and then forget about amongst the other notifications you receive. In a place where people count the likes on their photos, they might be more interested in seeing that notification than joining a group or responding to a Facebook invite. Same goes for a mass text as well – it doesn’t make people feel special and are less likely to respond. So, if you are planning a special party it might be a better idea to provide a physical invite and mail them to your guests instead – after all, it gives them something to stick on their fridge and remind them about the event, and provides excitement over getting something cute in the mail that isn’t a bill.

Hosts Responsibility: Make RSVPing as easy as possible.

If you want them to return a card, then stamp and address the RSVP before sending it out. Having to force your guests to go and physically buy a stamp and an envelope will turn people off RSVPing faster than you can “Next Please!” so if you want people to RSVP, make it as easy as possible to do so by simply slipping it into the post slot. Another way is to provide your mobile number and email address as well, so that they can simply text you or email you when they are scarfing off at work. The likelihood of getting RSVP’s this way is higher because of the access people have to these options, so decide how you want people to respond and make it as simple as possible.

Yes or No

Photo by Sarah Parrott

Guests Responsibility: If you said you will be there, than be there!

It’s not good enough to say yes to a party or event and then decide last minute that you want to stay in and watch a new movie on Netflix. Being sick is the only option for opting out of a party last minute so if you flake on these events a lot you will end up not being invited anymore, and that’s no fun. Even if you can’t be bothered, you will be surprised at how much fun you will have if you just make a little effort and go. You don’t have to stay all night, or the whole time – just be there for two hours or so, and then thank your host and go home to TV or computer screen. By showing up, it shows the host you care, even if your thinking about what is going to happen next on Orange is the New Black.

Same goes for people who don’t RSVP. If you said you won’t be there, then don’t bother coming! If it’s a formal event, then you won’t be prepared for and in fact they probably invited somebody else to take your place, so they will be over-catered and left in the lurch if you show up unexpectedly. This might be a little different if it is a more casual party, but nobody wants a gatecrasher – even if it is your best friend. If you previous plans changed, then text or call your host first to see if they are still keen for you to come and they can decide and prepare accordingly. It’s only polite.

Guests Responsibility: Respond on time.

There is an RSVP cut off date usually listed on an RSVP, so make sure you respond in time! It might be the cut off date that your host has to let a venue or a catering company know how many to expect and to prepare for, so by not letting them know on time you will be dragging the timeframes out and causing a lot of stress on the host’s end as well. It takes literally less than two minutes to text “I’ll be there!” so get off your ass and respond in time.

Hosts Responsibility: Understand that people are jerks

Seriously, us humans can be the worse. When putting your party together, it’s important that the host also understands that people will bail out last minute, even when they responded yes. It’s not anything to do with you or your party, it’s just because life likes to throw us curveballs and get in the way of things. It’s Murphy’s Law that this will generally happen a day before the party as well, so the best thing you can do is prepare yourself. Understand that it will happen, that it’s not you, and work your best around it. Generally under-cater rather than over-cater so that you won’t be left with a heap of food at the end, and when planning your party work towards the idea that at least 5 people will drop out for unknown reasons. In the end, the ones you love the most will be there, so don’t sweat it too much!

So there you have it, five simple responsibilities everyone should take on when both planning a party and when attending a party. I can’t stress enough how important RSVPing is, so make sure you do it and you do it right! It doesn’t take long, and a party shouldn’t be a horror story so maybe if we all work together on this we can clean up the blood a bit and have a good time!

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