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Why don't you RSVP? Honestly.

A good friend and I got into one of those whiny conversations about RSVPs lately - we both had parties coming up and were getting few RSVPs. Now I know lots of fellow hounds could tell there own horror stories about parties - weddings! - where they didn't get RSVPs and that's interesting - but not what I'm after.

What I want to know is this - why don't YOU reply to invitations. There must be - have to be - people reading Chowhound who don't respond to RSVPs, once, sometimes or always. Why not? This is basically anonymous so I hope you'll be completely honest. I'm just curious.

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  1. I can't think of anything I haven't RSVPd to. I can think of plenty of reasons I've not wanted to go to something I've been invited to, but I at least respond to tell them I'm not coming.

    1 Reply
    1. re: rockandroller1

      I have never failed to RSVP, whether I was going or not.

    2. (my real name, so anonymity is out)

      I'll respond via card or email--always--but when neither are given and I have to call a person I don't know (or possibly met once), it's a little uncomfortable, as it would be something like

      "Hi! This is so and so (who?), the so and so of so and so, and I believe we met at such in such a place 4-5 years ago, but, by the way, I will not be able to attend (attend what? [I've honestly had that happen too]). I really want to, but there are 2 other similar events for the same reason on 2 other weekends, and I am not really in the position to drive 16 hours on my own or fly out for one night for all three events. It's great that you're doing this and I'm sure so and so appreciates it, but I'm really sorry that I can't make it."

      In the meantime, I'm imagining that the person I'm talking to can't place who I am aside from name (who? oh right, the one with the funny spelling, got it), and neither can I.

      Please leave an email or some other method of RSVPing, and you'll always hear from me. If you write "regrets only", it makes me even more self-conscious.

      I should call during odd hours when I know the person is likely to be busy (lunchtime during the week?), but that's my excuse, as lame as it may be.

      5 Replies
      1. re: Caralien

        I forgot to mention that there are 3 hosts for the party, and 1 number, so I don't even know who I am calling for my "regrets". I guess I could do some research with a reverse look-up on the number, but it's really strange not knowing who I am calling.

        1. re: Caralien

          here we put an * by the name the phone number goes with, but I agree that cards or emails are better.I am from the South so I don't even set the card down before I rsvp.Of course I dont use gifts until the thank you card is in the mail either.

          1. re: LaLa

            I just rechecked, and there is an * next to one of the names. I thought that simply meant the head host. Thank you for bringing that to my attention, as I truly had no idea.

            We did the same with our gifts from the wedding; they were boxed until after we returned from the honeymoon, then indexed on the excel sheet next to guests (so we knew who RSVP'd, what gifts they brought or sent, whether they attended, what we purchased with gift cards...). All handwritten notes were sent out by Thanksgiving (our wedding was in October), with subsequent thank you notes for anything that arrived after then. My hands were very tired in 2007 due to the "save the date" and 5 other sets of mailings to 200+ people, but it was worth it. At the time, I knew everyone's names and faces, and updated the photos on the website accordingly for future reference.

            I still hand write notes every year for the holidays (no pre-printed labels) and will be calling to send my regrets. The OP asked for why people don't RSVP, not why people do (of course it's the right and proper thing to do!). I'll call after 10 local time, as it's rude to call before then.

            1. re: LaLa

              BTW: I did call, and had a nice conversation. Sometimes we have to take the plunge and not worry so much!

            2. re: Caralien

              I don't know what the event was and certainly not knowing who you're calling would feel odd, but I think your approach may be too elaborate. Whoever you're calling doesn't need to know when they met you or why you're not going. What you need is this:

              Hi, this is Caralien Lastname. I'm RSVPing for the blah blah invitation. Unfortunately, I won't be able to make it, but thank you so much for inviting me. Bye!

          2. OK, full disclosure. While I don't think i have ever failed completely to RSVP, I have been late before because I was still begging my totally un-social husband to take me. Mea culpa.

            BTW, loved Carolien's response ! I once had a conversation with a lady I had never met who declined my invitation to my in-law's anniversary party, and took great pleasure in telling me why - enumerating the many reasons why many people in my husband's family were a-holes. Fascinating. And odd...since many of the friendly, pleasant relatives didn't bother to respond, but came to the party. My belief in that case was that they assumed I just KNEW they wouldn't miss the party.

            11 Replies
            1. re: danna

              I do think sometimes people assume the RSVP doesn't apply to them - of course I'm coming! And for some reason a lot of people think RSVP is only for regrets - whether the invite says 'regrets only' or not.

              1. re: lupaglupa

                I agree. A lot of people think it's for regrets only.

                1. re: rockandroller1

                  maybe it should be spelled out:
                  repondez, s'il vous plait (respond, please)

                  1. re: Caralien

                    I put a simple "Please Let Us Know If You Are Coming" on our last invitations (aprty's tomorrow). So far about half of the invitees have responded. And it isn't because they couldn't understand the message!

                    1. re: lupaglupa

                      God, I find ignoring this simple request SO irritating! I hosted a cake and coffee thing at my house last week, and only two people bothered to reply. I had to track all the others down, and one never responded at all. It's disheartening and makes what should be fun, hosting a party, start to feel like a burden.

                  2. re: rockandroller1

                    Good point.

                    I had a couple of invites this year that did not even say RSVP or any note along those lines.

                    Marked on calendar. Got host gift. Showed up.

                    On one, I got a second email (yes- both were email invitations I'm talking about) for a head count. OK. No prob. I said "of course" I would be there. If not, then I would have sent a note.

                    Now, I will be sure to respond on all emails like that even if not asked to RSVP. I was not trying to be rude. My thoughts are that I would be at any event asked to attend and not asked to RSVP, unless I had a conflict, in which case, I would send a note.

                    Some of us need specific directions I guess (-: or to read Chowhound and see that not everyone knows you will show up if you don't say you won't.

                    1. re: CyndiA

                      Lately all the invitations I get say "Regrets Only" and I feel guilty just showing up without advance warning. But I do and so far, it's worked out.

                      1. re: coll

                        I like specifics. RSVP by such and such date.

                        I guess the ones that don't mention it now, I'll just send an email or something and thank them and say I'm looking forward to the party.

                        Then again, maybe they don't want extra emails etc so put "regrets only."

                        So, it can be hard to know what is the best thing to do.

                        1. re: CyndiA

                          That's what I think, these are relatively big parties (50?)and maybe half family, so they don't need to spend a week on the phone or whatever. I can respect that.

                  3. re: lupaglupa

                    So maybe, instead of the traditional "RSVP," the invitation ought to read, "Phone, write, text or email me to let me know whether or not you will be attending this event."

                    Sheesh! There's one reason why people don't RSVP, and it's not because they don't know what RSVP means. It's because (in most cases) they're just plain inconsiderate. The few times I haven't received a response from an invited guest, I assumed they were NOT coming; it's not up to me to phone these folks. And one time, when I made such an assumption and a guest (and family) arrived at the event, I made it a point of telling her how surprised I was to see her, since I hadn't heard from her about the invitation. Oh, I was gracious enough ... told her how happy I was that they could attend; but I made my point, too.

                    I also wonder whether it's a "generational" thing. My kids seem to be far less hung up on RSVPs than I am. But i can't imagine NOT RSVPing to an invitation that calls for one.

                  4. re: danna

                    lol! :) great post.
                    people just freak me out sometimes. their audacity is immeasurable :)
                    happy eating :), Oana

                  5. Not responding to any invitation is rude and I am heartily sick of it. It is something that seems to have gotten worse and worse in the past 10 years or so. I've also gotten a response that was very vague like "I'll come if I can". I was reading something on this very subject in a new etiquette book book, it was a British import and the writer reveals a tale of an unexpected guest who had not bothered to RSVP. The butler met her at the door and the guest started apologizing as the butler politely turned her away saying that there was no room at the table for an unexpected guest and said " don't worry madam, it was our fault for inviting you". My thought was good for him. Maybe we all need a lesson from that butler.

                    Okay that is my rant on the subject.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Candy

                      I love it! "It was our fault for inviting you." Gotta tuck that one away for future use.

                    2. Good topic. I always respond one way or the other and I, like the OP sometimes make sure I make the phone call when I know they won't answer and I can leave a message. LOL.

                      There is a person in my group of friends who habitually does not RSVP to invitations and will just show up or , if she doesnt show up she will at a later date say no one told her about the party or she didn't get the Email. I've started to use EVITE, (love it) and you can see when the invitees have opened the invitation. So no more "I never got the Email" business.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: dbinben

                        Can't answer the question, as I always promptly respond.
                        It irks me greatly when people don't.

                      2. If I am attending, I respond, no problem. If I really don't want to attend, I hem and haw while trying to come up with a good excuse -- even though some invites are for a shower for a cousin-in-law whom I may or may not have met -- but I do eventually respond within the time allotted. But the regrets are usually just under the wire, time-wise.

                        Whoever brought up the e-mail response option, that's a really great idea. I once had to RSVP to a surprise party, but was terrified to call the response number because the surprisee lived at that number. If she picked up the phone, I'd be busted, as she'd say "Harrie, what are you doing calling here?" and if I left a message I'd risk her hearing it, thus ruining the surprise.

                        11 Replies
                        1. re: harrie

                          "If I really don't want to attend, I hem and haw while trying to come up with a good excuse." Harrie, excuses really aren't necessary. A simple, I'm sorry, but I won't be able to attend" is sufficient.

                          1. re: CindyJ

                            True, in most cases; but after doing just that, I have received calls from the MIL or a SIL to find out exactly why I can't attend this very important event (usually a shower of some kind).

                            1. re: harrie

                              That's rude. My MIL also used to demand to know what else we had to do but I politely (I hope) refused to offer excuses and over the years she has stopped. It's hard, though.

                              1. re: Glencora

                                I've run into this as well with MIL, SIL even extended relatives who demand to know "what could be so pressing that you can't attend xyz." I have always found it incredibly rude too. Making it all the more difficult to RSVP gracefully. And, I don't know how you feel about the gift that might be a part of a certain type of invitation but even when I can't go or prefer not to attend, if appropriate I still send a gift with my best wishes.

                                I do believe attendance and gifting are separate issues.

                                1. re: HillJ

                                  I send a gift when appropriate, also. Which is why I don't always understand the Spanish Inquisition-type tactics; I feel like "You're getting a gift, and you don't have to deal with me -- it's a win/win, what's the problem?"

                                  1. re: harrie

                                    harrie, some of the fallback positions I've heard included being told my company was more important than the gift...which meant I wasn't "off the hook" but I still sleep well at night in the knowledge that sometimes (we) just can't win. So win/win is literally "relative!"

                          2. re: harrie

                            That reminds me of a story my uncle told me once. He received an invite to a birthday party and called the guest of honor to RSVP. No one picked up, so he left a message and as he was doing so, glanced again at the invitation. "I just wanted to call and let you know that I'm definitely coming to your birthday party...oh...your 'surprise' birthday party. Ooops. Uh. Bye.' I think he ended up breaking into the guy's place and erasing the message, but that may just be a 'wishful thinking' memory.

                            1. re: harrie

                              "I'm sorry but I can't attend." A polite host willaccept that you have other plans.

                              1. re: kimmer1850

                                Polite is the key word, though. I'm not callling the in-laws rude or monsters, because they're nice enough. But for some reason the veil of etiquette falls away when a family gathering is involved. It's a large family, so there are fairly frequent weddings and showers. And there seems to be a competition among the elders to see who can round up the largest number from their particular branch of the family tree.

                                So I accept the fact that they are not polite, per se, but love and appreciate them for who they are. And I try to have a rock-solid excuse ready.

                                1. re: harrie

                                  harrie, we must be married into the same large family!

                                  1. re: HillJ

                                    I thought you looked familiar...

                            2. I'm of a generation that RSVPs almost immediately after receiving an invitation.. Not to RSVP is rude, gauche and totally unacceptable.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: Gio

                                I'll invite you anytime. Glad to know we are on the same team.

                                1. re: Gio

                                  Doing it promptly is very helpful. I used to go crazy when people called the day before my son's birthday party to accept. They usually claimed that they'd lost the invitation and then suddenly found it. Really?

                                  1. re: Glencora

                                    A friend recently got an RSVP at 6 p.m. for a sit down dinner that started at 6:30. Yes, that same night.

                                2. I almost always RSVP. I'll admit an invitation or two has slipped under my radar, but as a general matter, I do it. That being said, I echo the comments earlier. I find RSVPing to someone I don't know very, very uncomfortable. I actually had an invitation to a wedding shower once that didn't have the person's first name on either the invitation or the return address! So I had no idea, when I called, who to ask for! VERY awkward. I also don't like the "regrets only" RSVP because in the event I DO forget to call, I feel doubly guilty because they probably assumed I was coming.

                                  1. OK, I'll bite, because I know I am not the only person on this board who has been guilty of this at some point in his or her life. If I'm excited about an event and know I'll definitely be able to attend, or if on the other hand I know for sure that I can't go, I RSVP promptly. But if (a) I'm not sure yet if I can go because I may have another commitment that day, may be going out of town, etc., or (b) [since you asked for complete honesty] I'm just not sure if I want to go, I won't RSVP right away. Then time gets away from me, I forget the event is coming up, and sometimes the "RSVP by" date passes and I've become one of those really annoying people who didn't reply. Usually I remember eventually, but it may be last minute. And this is why I love Evites, although I know they annoy some people. You have the option of replying maybe (if I do that I'll always include a note with the reason, like "I'd love to come but I may be out of town that weekend," as I understand a "maybe" is rather unhelpful to a host or hostess who's trying to plan), and the program sends automatic reminders to the invitees, reminding them that the event is coming up and prompting them to respond if they haven't yet.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: cookie monster

                                      I'm pretty much the same way. With some casual events with a smaller group, I may want to wait to see who else is attending if there are conflicts among group members. There are also times where I haven't been feeling well and don't know whether I will be up to a party, or when I'm just coming in from a trip and am not sure I will be up for socializing immediately. If it's a more formal event, I will always reply promptly because I know the host is probably paying per head and needs to know how many people are coming to order the food.

                                      1. re: cookie monster

                                        I know this is an older post, but your remark made me recall a typically offbeat remark from Oscar Wilde, who is said once to have mailed a note to someone to this effect, "Very Sorry, but I cannot attend your party on account of a subsequent engagement."

                                      2. Last November, I got married in Orange County, CA and was hard pressed to find out why people were not RSVPing when we had included self-addressed stamped return envelopes. All the person had to do was mark the box next to "attending" or "regrets," put it in the envelope, seal and mail.

                                        After some prodding from several people, they said they honestly didn't know what RSVP meant and weren't sure what to do with the card because it didn't have instructions. Now, I know most of my friends are not rocket scientists, but they are not idiots either and when I asked other couples getting married, they said they encountered the same thing.

                                        So, I came to the conclusion that those of us that know what RSVP means and what return cards are for just automatically assume that everyone else does as well. Education in this country has changed quite a bit and I know that things like hygiene, manners and civics courses are as rare in schools as snow in Phoenix.

                                        I ended up using the information that these people didn't know to educate them. They were embarrassed at their faux pas, but they were grateful for the lesson.

                                        As frustrating as it may be not to get an RSVP or a response card, perhaps those of us "in the know" can turn lemons into lemonade and educate our friends.

                                        28 Replies
                                        1. re: Seth Chadwick

                                          I find that odd in the day of google where you can pretty much find out what anything means.

                                          1. re: LaLa

                                            Even Facebook events ask you to RSVP. Not to get into the strange etiquette of RSVPing on Facebook, but anyone who uses it - meaning most of us young 'uns - should know what it means and recognize it in another context. And respond accordingly.

                                            1. re: Emmmily

                                              on a side note re: FB...........I have gotten a few invites to stuff this way.... many unfortunatly that have gotten lost in the deluge of those annoying application requests and group invites and such, that i've a bit of a tendancy to forget they're there.

                                          2. re: Seth Chadwick

                                            My mom has a friend who is a wedding consultant. She told us not to bother with RSVP cards and to base numbers on 2/3 of the people invited actually attending. I went through the list and marked the people I knew would attend and then took 2/3 of the rest and we were bang on.

                                            1. re: dalaimama

                                              The responce cards for my wedding read:

                                              Yes..we wouldn't miss this for the world!!

                                              No...Sorry, can't make it. Call us when you get back from your honeymoon and we'll get together.

                                              Worked well for us.

                                              1. re: dalaimama

                                                Being an accountant, I did the same thing but made it more complicated. For two recent events, I made a spreadsheet in excel and sorted guests into columns "certain to come 100%" "likely to come 80%" "no idea 50%" "very unlikely 10%" I was dead on as well. One of the events I asked for RSVP's and the s'sheet worked just as well. (on the non-responders, I found them to be about 50/50 coming or not coming)

                                              2. re: Seth Chadwick

                                                OK, I'm a bit - no, a LOT! - astounded. They wanted instructions on a RSVP card that had a check box for "attending" and one for "regrets"??? I know they're your friends, but how much more instruction do they need?

                                                I have to agree with LaLa - in today's world, they can't Google "RSVP" to figure out what it means? Or, if that card doesn't say "RSVP" they can't try a query such as "what does the addressed, stamped envelope inside a wedding invitation mean?"


                                                Fifth one down in a Google search of exactly that question is the above link. A bit of reading on their part and they would have discovered:

                                                "SENDING RESPONSE CARDS
                                                Response cards play a major logistical role in coordinating a wedding. Response cards, or RSVPs, are used to plan seating charts, gather entree preferences of your guests, and budget for food and beverage consumption. Guests should send in all responses at least three weeks prior to the wedding. Also, for your guests’ convenience, be sure to include a self-addressed, stamped envelope for the response card inside the wedding invitation."

                                                Or...depending on you and your friends' ages, they couldn't have asked their parents? "Hey Mom - got an invite to Seth's wedding - remember him? He was a frat brother in college and he's finally getting hitched! But there's another card with a blank line on it along with an envelope with Seth's fiancee's name and address on it inside the invitation - what am I supposed to do with that card?"

                                                I really hope that this isn't yet another by-product of young people growing up having had someone else do everything for them. We see it so many other ways; this just seems to me to be the height of laziness not to try and figure out what that additional card is in a wedding invitation.

                                                ETA: To respond to the OP, I *do* always respond - whether the invite was by phone, Evite, or formal invitation.

                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                  I am wondering if we will eventually move to replace the RSVP with: "Unless you indicate you are attending by [Date], we will have to assume you will not be coming and will make irrevocable plans accordingly."

                                                  1. re: Karl S

                                                    Oh that would be good, but i like the English Butler's way better.

                                                    1. re: Karl S

                                                      I like that a lot. We shouldn't HAVE to do that, but it would definitely work. But I also agree with Candy - I do like the English butler's way as well.

                                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                                        Get me a butler, and I'll never have to worry!
                                                        Seriously, I've sent invitations with "respond by such and such a date" (with addressed and stamped envelopes and clear cards with checkboxes--yes? no? and all were checked. we have had many laughs about those)

                                                      2. re: Karl S

                                                        Which is great until you actually make those irrevocable plans. We invited about 4 families over for a celebration. We sent the invites a couple of weeks ahead with our number (even though these people already had it) to let us know if they were coming. Two families called to say they couldn't make it, and we never heard from the other 2. So we gave up on the party idea and made other plans. The day before the date of the party, one of the families (the mom), who hadn't replied, calls up and asks what she can bring! I told her we had cancelled the party since we figured nobody was coming... and she got mad at me!

                                                        1. re: AmyH

                                                          But why does that become your problem? She never responded, and then she gets mad at you for cancelling because no one was going to come? Did you ask her "But you never responded; how were we to know whether you were coming or not?"

                                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                                            It was never really a "problem" for me. I just felt bad about it, even though I know I probably shouldn't have cared. But I never threw one of those get togethers again.

                                                            1. re: AmyH

                                                              This is the real problem - after a recent party where half the people who said they would come were no shows, on top of the half who never bothered to RSVP at all - we have decided never to have a party like that again. We love our friends and love to entertain. But it's no fun to be up late after your party packing up gallons of uneaten food and fuming about how rude your pals are. My mother had planned a big bash next year and now says she won't do it - she's afraid the event will be ruined by her getting angry with the no call/no shows.

                                                              If people like Amy H. and us decide to stop entertaining - and I'm sure we're not alone - then the epidemic of people not RSVPing is more than an annoyance.

                                                                  1. re: ElissaInPlaya

                                                                    First I gave up elaborate parties - china, crystal and linens. People seemed intimidated by it - I would even get people saying to me when I invited them "I hope it's just something simple." So, I did simple. Then they seemed to feel that it was so casual that it didn't matter to me if they came or not. Really, I feel like giving up except for small dinners of close friends.

                                                                    1. re: lupaglupa

                                                                      The only kind of entertaining I do anymore is either holiday related or very small groups of close friends for some home-cooking/barbecue etc.

                                                                      1. re: flourgirl

                                                                        After the cancelled party which I wrote about above, I have limited myself to holidays with close family, plus rare special occasions like bat mitzvahs and graduation get togethers. I don't even like doing those. I had a brunch the day after my daughter's graduation and my sister-in-law and her husband showed up 2 hours late because they stopped for breakfast on the way! I refuse to invite my brother-in-law and his family to anything because they haven't shown up a couple of times (they didn't let us know if they were coming or not). It's a shame, too, because I really enjoy cooking for people. I feel that it's a way to express friendship and love. It hurts when you put a lot of thought and planning and cooking into something and then have people not show up.

                                                                        1. re: AmyH

                                                                          And it does ruin the party mood when you are gritting your teeth over the rudeness of some of the guests.

                                                          2. re: Karl S

                                                            I'm late on this, but our wedding RSVP cards said something to this effect. "If we haven't heard from you by ___, we will assume you are unable to attend."

                                                            1. re: ljamunds

                                                              I approve heartily. Best wishes!

                                                              1. re: ljamunds

                                                                I love this, ljamunds! I'm assuming this worked and either people did RSVP or they didn't show up unannounced? (Also assuming wedding has happened)

                                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                  Yes, the wedding went down July 18th 2009. It was great and the guests were lovely, save of course the two hipsters who came as a faux-lesbian "bride and groom," white silk dress with flowers in the hair for one and white short tuxedo suit for the other - they posed as bride and groom all evening. Hardy har har.

                                                                  And those few who didn't RSVP didn't show up; I was really disappointed when my college mentor didn't reply to the invite or the follow-up email ("Hope you liked what you got in the mail! ;)") and I haven't talked to him since. I'm 24 and my husband is 26; since a lot of our friends are young, they're accustomed to the loosey-goosey crap of "oh, I'll make it if I can"-type BS that people do now. They really did need to be told that RSVPing was necessary, and eventually most of them did.

                                                                  1. re: ljamunds

                                                                    My daughter was married in May and we did well with the RSVP's. The only ones who didn't send them were a couple of groomsment and some of the groom's family and his Mom verified for me they weren't coming. We only had one couple who RSVP'd they would attend and were no shows.

                                                            2. re: LindaWhit

                                                              They need instructions for the same reason many of us on CH have to guide people on how to use the search function here on this site.

                                                              When I was in grad school, my work study job was running the copy center and I would come back in from lunch or break and see professors with multiple PhD's and giants in their fields of study be baffled at how to make a one-page copy on the Xerox machine with the huge green button that said "Copy." Where they idiots? No. They simply needed an education.

                                                              And they certainly needed something better than, "Hey, Google it."

                                                          3. i get the invite and determine whether i want to go; then, i have to (remember) to ask my so if he wants to go (b/c if not, i don't want to go). then, i make dinner, do dishes, catch up on things, go to bed, wake up, go to work, do it all over again . . . . . and then it's the day of or day before the event and we're deciding if we have time/have energy to go at all.

                                                            1. I think it's just rude not to respond to an invitation. I will, though, admit to one exception to this rule. I really dislike those "parties" that are really about inviting everyone you know to come to your house and buy over-priced crap that no one needs - you know, candle parties, basket parties, jewelry parties, etc. etc. etc. I think the concept is an abomination and while I'm not saying I never RSVP to these kinds of events, I honestly don't knock myself out worrying about - ESPECIALLY if there is only a phone number to respond to. Why can't people just include a friggin' e-mail address?!?

                                                              38 Replies
                                                              1. re: flourgirl

                                                                Well, those are not social events properly speaking but commercial solicitations.

                                                                1. re: flourgirl

                                                                  Nothing wrong with, sorry, I'm already committed that evening, or something like that.

                                                                  1. re: Candy

                                                                    I know, and sometime I do respond - the ones I tend to ignore are the ones that come from someone I don't know that well and they haven't included an e-mail address.

                                                                    1. re: flourgirl

                                                                      oh the dreaded demonstration invite, ugh. Especially after you've gone to so many demonstrations just so the host can earn her fair share of gifts...I guess I'm too old to enjoy these gatherings anymore...Ha!

                                                                      I am very good about RSVPing to all invitations but I will admit that when it comes to turning down an invitation made by a family member a simple reason is usually not enough...which leads to a little more pressing than I want. In this case, I RSVP very last minute to avoid the drama. Gawd to I dislike party drama.

                                                                      1. re: HillJ

                                                                        i have refused to go to those parties for years, politely, but will not attend. People have learned to to bother to invite me.

                                                                        1. re: Candy

                                                                          I have learned that if you decline consistently, the invites stop :)

                                                                        2. re: HillJ

                                                                          If a simple "I cannot attend" doesn't suffice, then just say to that family member "I'm sorry - I just don't like those demonstration parties, I don't like the reindeer games that are played at them, I won't buy anything, and choose not to attend them."

                                                                          My friends know I don't "do" those parties and don't bother inviting me. Not that any of them "do" those parties either. :-)

                                                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                            LW, have you met my family? Sarcasam doesn't fly...but say no three times in a row to a family invitation and the posse moves in!

                                                                            1. re: HillJ

                                                                              Only if you allow them to move in. Yeah, it makes you a bitch/bastard, but sometimes, that's just easier to deal with than the constant hounding.

                                                                    2. re: flourgirl

                                                                      I'm gonna go out on a limb here, and say that you don't need to respond to an invitation to come to someone's house & buy stuff. I don't feel I have to let Loehman's know that I can't make their one-day sale, either.

                                                                      1. re: small h

                                                                        small h, that's not true. Home demonstrations are by invitation where an RSVP is expected by the host. Loehman's providing an "open invitation" to attend a one day sale and shop is not the same thing.

                                                                        So the limb you are suggesting entails ignoring a personal invitation. Typically home demonstrations are hosted by people you know or know through someone else. They are by invitation, usually snacks are served or the demonstrator is preparing food showcasing the products for sale. Not responding would be rude.

                                                                        Your mixing apples & oranges

                                                                        1. re: HillJ

                                                                          See, to me a "personal invitation" means I'm invited to hang out, socialize, maybe eat, maybe watch a movie or something. With no obligation, implied or overt, to spend money. Asking me over in the hope that I will buy something and contribute to the host's income is not really an invitation. It's a solicitation.

                                                                          Your point about the specificity of the guest list is well-taken, however. So I guess I would respond, with regrets, always.

                                                                          1. re: small h

                                                                            small h, I think the fine point on it is a "demonstration" implies purchase..not obligation per se...but it's not strictly a party to hang out with the girls either. It's a business, implying a business transaction...and after a few of them...you begin to feel a bit of obligation creep in. Which is one of the reasons I tired quickly. If I want to purchase another PChef (for instance) pizza stone, I'll just order thru the site.

                                                                            Now a party with the girls, hang out, watch a movie--I'm all over that invite!

                                                                          2. re: HillJ

                                                                            No, a demonstration is at its essence a solicitation, not a social event, regardless of location. Responding to solicitations is nice, but not necessary.

                                                                            1. re: Karl S

                                                                              The host (typical the friend/family connection) is the social part, held at her home, she purchases & pays for the food provided the guests.

                                                                              The hired demonstrator is the company rep (getting paid) hoping for sales/business.

                                                                              My host is hoping for a few "hostess gifts." My host is sending the invitations and the one expecting an RSVP from me in order to tell the demonstrator how many people to expect in the "booking" and how many to plan for. I can't imagine not responding to the invitation yes or no. My host would be insulted if I ignored her invitation completely.

                                                                              My host is not getting paid cash by the company the demonstrator is. However, my host is receiving a percentage of the party sales in discounted products she selects and one host gift for her time and effort.

                                                                              OTOH, if the demonstrator is doing everything..no middle person aka "host" then that's another scenario entirely and RSVPing would not necessary play a part.

                                                                              1. re: HillJ

                                                                                It's still a solicitation, not a social event.

                                                                                1. re: Karl S

                                                                                  Tell that to my gal pals Karl...they think these demonstrations are social events. A night with the girls...the guys leave. Sometimes the demonstrators don't have a clue what they are in for.

                                                                                  RSVP nonetheless!

                                                                                  1. re: HillJ

                                                                                    Great for them, but if I get an invite to a solicitation, I feel zero obligation to RSVP. I am hardly alone - I think most people feel similarly. I'd settle for getting people to RSVP to social invitations - expanding that to cover solicitations is a fool's errand.

                                                                                    1. re: Karl S

                                                                                      Karl just so I understand you. Suppose your best friend or neighbor of 10 years hosted a demonstration and invited you, you wouldn't RSVP; you would feel "zero obligation" to reply to a formal, printed invite? And, doing so is a "fools errand."

                                                                                      I always learn something on CH!

                                                                                      1. re: HillJ

                                                                                        I might respond but I would not feel obliged to respond as to a social invitation - friends have invited me to fundraisers and it is understood that they are not obliging in the same way as a social invitation. A neighbor might, and I would not feel any obligation to respond. A formal, printed invite to a solicitation is no more obliging than a casual one. It is not a social invitation. Confusion of categories.

                                                                                        1. re: Karl S

                                                                                          Oh I'm not confused, our intrepretations of what an in the home product demonstration is and whether RSVPing should be ignored differs. I'm cool with that Karl.

                                                                                          And, although product demonstrations can be coordinated as charitable fundraisers, that was not my example here. Charity events ARE another category.

                                                                                          1. re: HillJ

                                                                                            Whereas for me, any event that importunes guests to part with $ makes it different than a social event. This is why there is the subtle but important category-defining barrier in events such as weddings: a guest's attendance is not contingent on giving a gift, else it not be a true gift.

                                                                                            More to the point - if you've ever wondered why people don't RSVP to demonstrations, I've given you a clue what you might be up against. And I don't think there's a thing you can do about fixing it - I think it's a basic understanding of what constitutes a genuine social invitation. I get that we differ on this, but the problem is for hosts of solicitations who don't understand how their invitees are understanding the invitation.

                                                                                            1. re: Karl S

                                                                                              I think we've gotten off track. I have all but stopped attending demonstrations and one of my pet peeves regarding them is up thread. I am not disagreeing that a social event that includes guests parting with $ is different than a party where no demonstration takes place. I am (trying) to respond to the OP context of RSVPing to such an invitation.

                                                                                              I would RSVP regardless of the presumption of $; if I am understanding your p.o.v. you would feel zero obligation to RSVP. That is where our comments differ, yes?

                                                                                              1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                Yes, but I offer a compromise: if the host makes the demonstration something that the guests may utterly ignore (for example, by putting it in a different part of the house), then one may fairly claim there is a social invitation in addition to a solicitation invitation. But, if attendance at the event requires the guest to attend to the pitch, it's just not a social event properly speaking, so the RSVP rule of social etiquette does not oblige as it would for a social event. Were I the host, I would adjust my expectations accordingly.

                                                                                                1. re: Karl S

                                                                                                  Gotcha, that's a helpful "compromise" and I'm going to think on it a bit more.

                                                                                                  Any of the home demonstrations I've attended all of the guests listened to the full demonstration. To leave, step outside for a time, linger elsewhere in the home could have been perceived as rude. After the demonstration ended guests would most certainly socialize in a more relaxed manner. Or the party might switch gears with some guests staying after the demonstration to watch a movie, socialize more. But, no one was obligated to purchase anything.

                                                                                                  Interesting Karl.

                                                                                                  1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                    I live in a new neighborhood and we all moved in together. At first there were lots of friendly get-togethers and we all got to know each other very well, and it was really nice, even if potluck or whatever. Lately I still get lots of invitations but all are for sales pitches, and around the holidays sometimes one per week, and sometimes for the same products. I stopped RSVPing to these a while ago, I feel like if you want a real sales job go out and get one and canvass for clients the old-fashioned way, rather than making acquaintances feel obligated in some way. I went to a few, but sorry, I don't need any costume jewelry, candles or makeup right now.

                                                                                                    1. re: coll

                                                                                                      coll, I hear you and I appreciate how bothersome these demonstrations can get, quickly. Paying crazy-arse prices for baskets just didn't float my boat and as much as I love to cook/bake/garden...those theme specific demonstrations got old eventually too.

                                                                                                      As for earning a living on these. I won't begrudge anyone a fair wage. You have to knock on a lot of doors to scrap a living out of demonstrations. Ain't easy. Plus, most are selling against the house (company) thru sites, kiosks and pyramid sales men-woman ship. Like I said, ain't easy.

                                                                                                      RSVP'ing has gotten easier with the number of "no's" I've replied. But, I do enjoy the boatload of kitchen tools I acquired years back.

                                                                                                      1. re: coll

                                                                                                        We went through a similar phase in my neighborhood too. But in my case, I really think the women involved were sincerely trying to get their neighbors together - the poor sales people at these parties usually got very short shrift, what with all the eating, drinking and gabbing going on. Fortunately, the one neighbor who seemed to host the most of these types of parties finally stopped and organized coffee night out once a week instead. I got involved in that group about a year ago and I am happy to report that 1) I hardly get any more of those sales pitch party invites any more and 2) I love the group of women that has pulled together over our weekly coffee date. I don't know what I'd do without this group now. :)

                                                                                                        1. re: flourgirl

                                                                                                          I know this part of the thread is almost a year old, but I'm just now reading it. It makes me sad to read that the lack of rsvp'ing is causing people like lupaglupa and AmyH to entertain less. What a loss for us, as a society.

                                                                                                          I, too, am a little fed up with non-rsvp'ing, but, these people I've invited are my beloved friends and family. I know for the most part, they are juggling so many things they just forget. They hope I'll understand and I try to. Also, I, too, despite my very best intentions do not always rvsp as promptly as I should. Or, worse yet, my husband and I will discuss, make a decision and agree that it's his friend/family/acquaintance and, therefore, he should be the one to rsvp and then HE forgets (even after being reminded once or twice. And in his case, I think he's genuinely a little forgetful, but also hates to have to disappoint people and procrastinates...) Anyway, with non-rsvp'ers I just try to follow-up with those folks and try not to take it personally (even though I admit, I always do take it a little personally.)

                                                                                                          I have had some acquaintances in the past that I think hold back on rsvping until the last minute in case something better comes along. Those same folks tend to be the kind of people who bail at the last minute even if they rsvp'd yes, or show up unannounced if they rsvp'd no or didn't reply at all. Oh, and show up with extra guests and/or empty-handed (in situations where people were asked to bring something). I don't invite those people to anything anymore. I enjoy their company when encounter them at other people's parties (woohoo! I guess this party made the cut!) but I no longer seek it out. I don't need friends like that.

                                                                                                          As far as those purse/tupperware/basket parties, often I find those parties are being thrown by a well-intentioned friend of the business person. The friend thinks, "Hey, I can have some fun, have some friends over, and maybe help X out with her purse/tupperware/basket business." Since the host's intention is multi-fold, including part social, I rsvp as I would to a social engagement. Unless I need tupperware/baskets/purses, I usually decline because I know I will feel pressured, even though not technically obligated, to purchase something. If you just have the misfortune of living in a condo complex where a Mary Kay salesperson works and she's just constantly inviting you, yeah, I'd ignore that invitation (and have.)

                                                                                                          When I was new to town, I met a Mary Kay salesperson at some kind of social event. We struck up a conversation, decided to have lunch, etc. etc. I was thrilled to make a new friend in my new town so quickly. Ugh. I even eventually got the plug to BECOME a M-K rep (I think it's a bit of a ponzi scheme kind of thing where your income increases for every new sales rep you bring and for every new sales rep that person brings in, and so on). Once I realized it was all business, and that I wasn't a make-new-friends-quickly savant, I dropped that "friendship" like a hot potato.


                                                                                                          1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                            It's sounds to me as though you have a balanced, healthy and understanding take on all of this RSVP-ing business, TDQ. You sound like a kind, thoughtful friend and wife.

                                                                                                            I decline all invitations to those household-sales parties, with one exception. I have a friend who will host them from time to time (meaning, maybe once every year or two), and all the proceeds that she would make, at least, go to a particular charity that she cares about. I'm sure people further up the network and the company make a profit on it, but I can't do anything about them. I know the charity she supports is the only reason *she* does it, and *she* makes no money off of it, so I'd crawl on my knees a thousand miles to help her. Otherwise, no. If I want to buy something, I'll go to a store or a website, not a friend's house. I don't think of my friends and neighbors as vendors, and I'd prefer they not think of me as a customer. ;-) But I do treat those invitations as I would any other and respond in time with my regrets so that the hostess can have an accurate count.

                                                                          3. re: flourgirl

                                                                            Oh, hate these selling parties, especially if I am invited by someone whom I hardly know or who never invites me to anything but this kind of thing. The last time, I wrote on my e-vite rsvp: "Sorry I cannot attend, as I have another fundraiser to attend that evening."

                                                                            1. re: browniebaker

                                                                              Yep, and what peeves me even more about these "parties" is that, for the most part, the stuff is so over-priced it's a complete rip-off. (I know there are a few - a FEW - exceptions, but 99% of the time, I believe this to be true.)

                                                                              1. re: flourgirl

                                                                                why flourgirl, you don't enjoy paying $100.00 for a fruit basket
                                                                                or $14.95 to line it!!! crazy arse pricing there.

                                                                                1. re: HillJ

                                                                                  oh HillJ, don't even get me started on those baskets. :) They are nice baskets, but not nice enough for me to spend $100 on. The first time I went to one of those basket parties I couldn't believe the prices. Nothing shocks me anymore though. One of my oldest friends starting selling candles via the party route a few years ago. I went to a couple of her parties that were thrown by mutual friends out of a sense of needing to show support (& an opportunity to catch up with old friends.) Anyway, the prices of those candles (and the accessories) were REE-diculous. I always ended up buying a box of scented tea lights just so I didn't look like a total cheapskate. Do you know that I haven't been to one of those parties in at least 4 or 5 years and I STILL have boxes of those darn tea lights? And I wouldn't even consider going to one of those parties now - I can buy all the candles/baskets/kitchen tools I need for a fraction of the price at Home Goods, etc.

                                                                                  1. re: flourgirl

                                                                                    Ditto! Not too mention the number of yard sales and estate sales I have found these types of items marked at "just take it off my hands, please" prices!

                                                                                    1. re: HillJ

                                                                                      Candle parties are easy -- we have lots of allergies in our house, so bringing in anything heavily scented (like candles) is a big no-no. And I DO explain that it's because we all have allergies, and I get a pass right away.

                                                                                      I *DETEST* Tupperware and jewelry parties. Like they make me break out in hives.

                                                                                      But they are being held by friends who have gone to the trouble of sending me an invitation, so I RSVP with my regrets.

                                                                                      (Pampered Chef parties are at least not as much goofy games and weird products on the push list. I'll occasionally go to one of those.)

                                                                                      1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                        Oh I've seen some goofey frying pan games and some PC hosts that sing & dance (literally) for a sale...but to each their own. I'd rather go to retail sale than attend another demonstration BUT I always acknowledge an invite.

                                                                                        1. re: HillJ

                                                                                          Ugh. If I'd ever seen one of those, I'd probably start itching.

                                                                          4. the OP asked why people don't RSVP, not how awful those who don't are. I would assume that people with proper parenting would respect such a request.

                                                                            1. I RSVP - except when I don't. That has been 3 times in my whole ADULT life. Once - I did not because I was working on being nice and knew if I called the party giver I would say something mean when she insisted we (meaning my husband) we come. So I weaseled and just stomped the card, dug it into the pavement on the porch, shredded it and used it to start the fire in the living room fire place. Second - I forgot. I forgot because the invitation was mailed out like 4 months ahead (wedding - I know evil evil witch). I think maybe I was hoping we would forget to go? We went. Bride gave me the snot eye and I drank too much of her hosted bar beverages. Three - It is a backwards RSVP. Does it count? I RSVPed and then forgot about the get together only to have them call while we were like 150 miles away in complete fancy restaurant bliss when the phone buzzed for about 20 times we looked at the messages. How do you tell someone you forgot them?

                                                                              I think non RSVPers are rude and selfish. Who doesn't? And who likes to call you guests and say - hey what the heck jerk? Some don't RSVP I think because they want to keep their options open, some assume you know they will be there (family) and some... why try to figure them out. I have to FIGHT not coping a crap attitude with non RSVP people when they show up at my house - late and all oblivious and happy. Yep. I am a spoiled sport nincumpoop party giver. Not your standard Holly Go Lightly...

                                                                              You COULD provide the invite with the "call/email me and tell me whether you are coming or not or I will be pissed." That is the more straightforward way.

                                                                              1. This thread made me feel so guilty that I immediately went to my email account and replied to an evite I received 2 weeks ago. I wanted to go, but wasn't sure if I could make it. I declined the invite with no explanation.

                                                                                1. I really appreciate the people who honestly told why they hadn't RSVP'd the times they hadn't. I can sympathize with people who forgot to reply, especially after having to confer with a SO and sync calendars. That is the thing that slows my replies (though it doesn't eliminate them - still I can see that happening).

                                                                                  What interests me are the people who wait and wait to reply while checking to see IF they can go or not. I was brought up that a prompt reply is a must and if you cannot know for sure that you are a yes then you must become a no. For instance if you have tentative plans for the night you've been invited you have to reply no - since you can't be sure you are truly availble. As far as I can tell that rule has fallen by the wayside.

                                                                                  4 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: lupaglupa

                                                                                    Oh yeah. The answer that if I can" make it "is inexcusable, especially for seated parties. If they cannot respond with a positive then they are off the guest list. Some of us really need to be a bit hard-nosed on this stuff.

                                                                                    I have belonged to a philanthropic sorority, Psi Iota Xi. At the end of the spring semester ( we're in a college town) we would hold a party to give each a pat on the back for donated hours etc. One year I canceled the party. We sent out an invitation to all members and spouses asking for an RSVP. A small handful bothered to respond. It was impossible to plan on amounts of food and wine for the party. Many were PO'd but, that many were the non-responders.

                                                                                    1. re: lupaglupa

                                                                                      That's the function of the date that usually accompanies the RSVP request. It gives people the courtesy of a window of time during which they can ascertain if they are available. The solution for those who want prompt replies only is to give a short date, which is fine. But a person shouldn't extend a 'reply by' date and then get upset that people actually call just before or on that date (not that I am saying that you do that).

                                                                                      1. re: Cachetes

                                                                                        If having people reply at the end of the deadline were my only problem with RSVPs I wouldn't have much of a beef! Whenever I've put dates people just ignore them. And that's the ones who reply - unlike those who simply ignore the request to reply.

                                                                                        1. re: lupaglupa

                                                                                          Ya know I was thinking about this post today so I crawled back to add something more: If people do not reply to the RSVP, why not choose to not invite them next time. If they ask why no invite, you tell them they do not ever indicate they had interest in the past, but that you will amend that and invite them next time since they have advised otherwise. If they do not RSVP, but come to the party anyway (esp. if a sit down dinner is involved), answer the door and tell them you did not think they were coming and cannot accommodate them. Next time. Close door. Period. If they pull the "I think I can - I will try" thing... sigh sigh sigh.... and you love them, then tell them you need to know by such and such date and that is a firm date and that you would love their company. So obnoxious really.

                                                                                          BTW - got invited to a party yesterday. Called that same day with a very gracious accept and then wrote down reminders about it all over so I would not forget. I have done that in the past. Bad Sal.

                                                                                    2. I RSVP that I cannot make it to pretty much everything now because I was habitually bad with RSVPing. Everything was always last minute for me based on an illness, so from then on out, instead of being criticized all the time, I just had to decline everything to be fair to the host.

                                                                                      1. I always RSVP if it's a party or event like a wedding or shower, but if it's a home party trying to sell me something, often I do not. I guess I am being passive-aggressive but I hate home parties and anyone who knows me at all, knows that about me.

                                                                                        1. I have a theory that the non-responders are the same people that make up a lie rather than tell the truth, even when the truth is acceptable. It's just easier for them to avoid possible confrontation from the host if the reply is a 'no'. Also, I think non-responders don't appreciate how much planning goes into a party and how vital their response is to that planning. For my last party, I was shopping two days ahead with 8 'yeses' and 10 'maybes'. How do you shop for that?!? I didn't give anyone a piece of my mind about this, but I can't promise the same restraint for repeat offenders...

                                                                                          12 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: njchowgal

                                                                                            Well, maybe=no. No one can abuse you if you don't let them. So, when they say "maybe" you have the perfectly proper option of responding: I am so sorry you cannot commit to coming, so we will just have to see each other at some other time.

                                                                                            1. re: njchowgal

                                                                                              I have to disagree. Not all parties require the same amount of effort to plan, and your guests aren't going to know that yours requires commitment unless you tell them. There is nothing wrong with saying "I need a yes/no response by X date in order to ensure that I have enough food and drink for everyone" or something of that nature. If someone decides to change her maybe to a yes after that date, say you'd be happy to meet up for lunch or dinner at a later time, but are unable to accommodate her at the party.

                                                                                              1. re: queencru

                                                                                                My husband and I discussed this post. Seriously, if there is the occasional missed RSVP, we're still going to accomodate them, at least at home. I'm no longer in a city, but I can't imagine turning away someone at the door, particularly in this freezing weather. For catered events or those at restaurants, this doesn't apply.

                                                                                                Large parties: 20% attendance & response rate is what is considered average.
                                                                                                Smaller parties: use common sense. It's rude when people don't respond, but you know who you invited and what their personalities are like; likewise, they know you--whether you have more formal, strictly planned, or more casual and flexible parties. If they're that much of a pain, stop inviting them.

                                                                                                You can inform your guests to "bring ID and vehicle registration for all adults to event otherwise homeland security will turn you away"; put this on the invitations, follow up cards, website, and in verbal reminders. In that situation, guests can be SOL.

                                                                                                1. re: Caralien

                                                                                                  I would never use that method myself because most of my friends are really flaky. Even if I get a confirmation a few weeks in advance, chances are something else will come up or they will plan the evening poorly and end up coming a few hours late. I could get mad about it, but by now I tend to stick to not planning anything more than a day or two in advance and it works out fine.

                                                                                                    1. re: Caralien

                                                                                                      The "reply by a certain date or don't bother coming" method.

                                                                                                      1. re: queencru

                                                                                                        I'd never use that either. The strongest verbiage I've used was "please respond by date x"

                                                                                              2. re: njchowgal

                                                                                                "It's just easier for them to avoid possible confrontation from the host if the reply is a 'no'."

                                                                                                And what is the best way to deal with a host who won't take "no" for an answer? We have a friend who will call repeatedly to ask if we're "sure" we can't attend.

                                                                                                They once extended an invitation for dinner at a restaurant and we declined because one of us had a prior commitment. They showed up at our door, unannounced, the evening of the invitation to take the other person (me) out to dinner. I was settling in for a nice evening of solitary relaxation and felt "ambushed" and annoyed that I had answered the door. Amazingly rude!!

                                                                                                1. re: middydd

                                                                                                  Yowza! I do hope you told them thanks, but no thanks - that would thoroughly piss me off! In that case, you can say "Sorry - I'm tired and chose to stay in tonight."

                                                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                    I didn't want to be ruder than they were, so I went. But, I learned never to answer the door if I wasn't expecting someone. And close family has been instructed in the "secret" doorbell ring. Fool me once...

                                                                                                    1. re: middydd

                                                                                                      Secret doorbell ring. Good one! Although I still think you could have said that you were tired without being rude to them.

                                                                                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                        We started doing that when staying in hotels, the "secret knock" was code for "It's me."

                                                                                                        Some people are just so needy that it's easier to give in and move on. Sad to say.

                                                                                              3. Back in the day formal invitations to weddings, dinner parties, etc., were responded to by mimicing the invitation as received. Hand written...

                                                                                                Mr and Mrs Adam Soandso
                                                                                                Accept with pleasure (or: regret they cannot accept...)
                                                                                                The kind invitation
                                                                                                To blahblahblah
                                                                                                On (the date)

                                                                                                I wonder who would respond today if that were still the accepted form.

                                                                                                10 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: Gio

                                                                                                  I did not include the now standard cards in my wedding invitations (13 years ago). We had a few calls, some e-mails. About five people responded by mail (one older, elegant cousin of mine used the correct form). But what I remember most is the co-worker of mine who called me - quite indignant - to say that her invitation has not included the reply card! When I told her there had not been one sent to anyone she replied "Well, how am I supposed to respond!" with more than a bit of anger in her voice. I patiently explained that she could tell me now, or e-mail me or whatever she wished. She wan't to know how I expected people to reply?! I told her the 'proper way' would be to write a card to me accepting or declining in the manner you've described above. She was quite taken aback at this - but she did do it!

                                                                                                  1. re: lupaglupa

                                                                                                    I have responded to wedding invitations in the fashion outlined by Gio. I would add that, while I tend to be a bit of a stickler for things like R.S.V.P.s, I have, on occasion, not done so. This has been when I have been suffering from depression. So, I would just throw out the notion that, if you don't get an R.S.V.P. from someone from whom you would normally get one, you might, time permitting, investigate further.

                                                                                                    1. re: MMRuth

                                                                                                      You are not alone on that front - my lack of response to invitations from friends tends to fall along the same reasons. Thank Gd for my SO.

                                                                                                      1. re: TampaAurora

                                                                                                        Me three. Except I would not want the original inviter to investigate further. That said, it has to be quite deep for me not to RSVP. As a child of the '50's, I found reading etiquette books as completely pleasurable - akin to reading a mystery novel or a Rudyard Kipling story. I was fascinated by all the customs and protocols and loved imagining myself in the other worldly circumstances described by Miss Post. Couldn't wait to grow up and hopefully receive invitations (oh, my) and be called upon to reply promptly using my best handwriting on the little ecru response card (preferably monogrammed). Oh, dear, we ARE talking about a half a century ago, aren't we? Now I can hear Sandy Denny and Fairport Convention beautifully singing "Who Knows Where the Time Goes" as I write. That said, I do like eVite rsvps...and where's the Facebook RSVP feature? I just found the "inbox" the other day...

                                                                                                  2. re: Gio

                                                                                                    Back in the day??????????????

                                                                                                    1. re: Candy

                                                                                                      Right... say in the '50s - early '60s. That's 1950.... not 1750. LOL

                                                                                                    2. re: Gio

                                                                                                      I still use engraved personal stationary for exactly occasions as you describe. When I was married, almost 34 years ago, response cards were considered comme il fault. Just not done, recipients of an invitation were expected to know how to respond to an invitation. A self addressed and stamped response card suggested that the recipient of the invitation was too ill mannered and rude to know the proper way to respond to a written invitation. Sadly that is that case seems to be the norm anymore.

                                                                                                      1. re: Candy

                                                                                                        to clarify, I think you left out a "not" somewhere. Comme il faut means proper.

                                                                                                        1. re: Candy

                                                                                                          Yes, response cards long were declasse for that reason.

                                                                                                      2. I'm in the "I always RSVP" camp except for those "Regrets Only" invitations that arrive when we are out of town. Unfortunately, that happens frequently and makes me feel awful when I make the dreaded phone call to explain our non-response.

                                                                                                        When I first read your post's title I thought it was "Why don't you RSVP honestly?" and passed by thinking it would end as a war of words about godawful events and reasons why we do not RSVP with candor, like "I wouldn't be caught dead at your MIL's birthday party".

                                                                                                        I honestly do not know why some people do not RSVP.
                                                                                                        I've heard theories about it being a generational gap which I do not believe to be true since I know many young people with exquisite manners.
                                                                                                        I have heard the geography reasoning but southerners do not have a lock on good manners either.
                                                                                                        Have some become lazy? Perhaps, and that is a shame.
                                                                                                        Do some expect their presence is so important they need not follow the rules for others? If so, they are in for a rude shock down the road.
                                                                                                        Maybe there's a confluence of reasons, but whatever the reason, the result is abominable.

                                                                                                        This is not an entirely new phenomenon. My sainted mother used to explain it with, "Honey, they just don't know any better".

                                                                                                        DH and I host a number of personal parties as well as some charity events. I cannot muster Candy's butler's aplomb but have been known to remark "why it is such a surprise to see you, we didn't know you were coming" to a non-RSVP attendee. In my own way, I hope the message is clear but do not believe that it is always heard although my husband makes his wonderful wry face when he hears it.

                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                        1. re: Sherri

                                                                                                          I love your interpretation of the post's title.

                                                                                                          Also, I think your "why it is such a surprise to see you..." comment is great, though some people may be too dense to understand it.

                                                                                                        2. To keep them in suspense or to surprise them with my presence.

                                                                                                          5 Replies
                                                                                                          1. re: RShea78

                                                                                                            I hope for the sake of your friends that you're being sarcastic!

                                                                                                            1. re: lupaglupa

                                                                                                              Probably. Because the few people I knew who really were like that eventually got dropped from most guest lists and only invited to attend things where there is no serious element of suspense or surprise. It takes a few years, but they wear out their welcome faster than they realize.

                                                                                                              1. re: lupaglupa

                                                                                                                Well, with friends and family, I am generally part of the festivities in some capacity. Of which leaves me only with Class Reunions that makes some hint of a RSVP, but will always accept the presence (drop ins, or hit and runs) of any graduating classmates.

                                                                                                                Seriously, RSVP's is seldom used in my neck of the woods, but perhaps the younger generations are familiarizing themselves with the seldom used concept?

                                                                                                                1. re: RShea78

                                                                                                                  Please don't add to the "younger generations" idea. Many of us know what RSVP means (respond, please), and there are plenty who ignore it from all ages and backgrounds. Consindering your ID, you're 6 years younger than me, but I'm still considered a youngin' and from the lost generation according to many.


                                                                                                                  1. re: RShea78

                                                                                                                    You are from Southern Indiana ...I am from rural Ky and RSVPs are very common and have been all my 35 years.

                                                                                                              2. We always do.The exception would be our travel schedules.Sometimes the invitation arrives to an empty house,still empty on day of event.

                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                1. re: lcool

                                                                                                                  Yes, this has happened to us as well. I still call as soon as I actually see the invitation and explain the lack of a more timely response.

                                                                                                                2. I think this is similar to a question I always ask "why don't people send thank you cards?" I've gone to multiple weddings and not received thank you cards for gifts. I think that is rude, and a bit greedy actually.

                                                                                                                  For me, I have missed an RSVP date due to being busy and not keeping up with my mail - prioritizing work life vs personal life sometimes makes me ignore the stacks of mail, including invites and bills even.

                                                                                                                  I think people lose track of time easily, thinking they still have all this time, but then before you know it, the date has passed....and then you get that call or email from the host, which then you have to apologize and give your response more personally.

                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                  1. re: jpmcd

                                                                                                                    I think you're right, regardless of how the invitation is sent. I know a lot of people who are on the computer all the time at work and once they get home they avoid the computer like a plague. If you send them an evite/facebook invite or an email invite, they might not read it for a week or two, or they might only take one or two days out of the month to respond to emails. Others do the same thing with mail. Some people just need to be prompted in person/over the phone that they've been invited. If I know a person is especially bad with email/mail, I might have someone else pass on the message in person.

                                                                                                                    1. re: queencru

                                                                                                                      Same here. I know a lot of people who don't read their e-mail regularly. People just can't assume that everyone has the same habits that they do.

                                                                                                                  2. The only time I fail to RSVP is when I receive the occasional invitation to an event being given by an individual or an organization I barely recognize. Those invitations are nothing but an attempt to get some of my money: fundraisers for causes I haven't in the past supported or the dreaded Avon-Mary Kay-Pampered Chef-Wildly Overpriced Basket "party."

                                                                                                                    Otherwise the only excuse for not responding promptly is death or incarceration. (And even if you're in jail, you can ask the warden to make a phone call for you.)

                                                                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                                                                    1. re: mandycat

                                                                                                                      Even the hosts of those tacky parties soliciting your business deserve and RSVP. An "I am sorry but I never attend events like that." Or a simple "I'm sorry I am occupied that evening."

                                                                                                                      1. re: Candy

                                                                                                                        I disagree. If someone is trying to sell you something, that is not an invitation, but a solicitation and RSVP rules do not apply.

                                                                                                                        1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                                                                                          Correct. It's not a social engagement subject to social etiquette. It's (non-profit) business conducted at a home, but it's still business.

                                                                                                                          1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                                                                                            Agreed about that. I don't see any reason to reply to those. Many times they're invites via mass mail/flyer anyway and not very personal.

                                                                                                                      2. These days, it seems, all etiquette bets are off.

                                                                                                                        I catered a party for two friends of my parents. These folks aren't the best planners -- they threw a party celebrating their daughter's engagement, on the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend. They told me they'd sent out 180 invitations.

                                                                                                                        As the party drew nearer, they told me to only plan on 125. Then 100. Then the wife called me and said that a whole mess of people hadn't responded, so she'd call them. She did, and most told her they were coming.

                                                                                                                        The "final number" for the party was 95. The day of the party, only a third of those showed up. Did those who told the hostess they were coming say "yes" just to make this lady get off the phone and leave them alone?

                                                                                                                        What I'm getting at is that there was food and drink for 95, and only about 30 showed up. Those guests got to take home "doggie bags" which were overflowing because 65 guests weren't there to eat. What's worse, failing to RSVP, or being a no-show?

                                                                                                                        1. Well. I always RSVP if it's a personal invitation. I get a lot of mass invitations where I only RSVP if I'm planning to go, I figure if I don't reply they'll assume I'm not coming.

                                                                                                                          Then there's the time I got a wedding invite that ended up in the junk mail pile (it was a fancy envelope but I didn't recognize the sender's name) and it wasn't until I was sorting through it months later I discovered what it was and that I knew the groom quite well (long after the wedding). I felt bad but he should have told me he was getting married.

                                                                                                                          1. At the risk of being beat up by the Emily Posts of this thread, I am actually having trouble RSVPing to holiday parties this month. I want to go, but we're closing on a house this month and the date keeps changing. Thank god for the "maybe" option on Evite and FB. Friends have called me and said, oh but you'll come anyway. Sorry, no, not if it's the same date as the close or the day we're moving. Which I still don't know.

                                                                                                                            There was also the time this summer where my Cousins-In-Law got our mailing address wrong (they failed to put the Apt number- again) and the invite to the wedding showed up one week before the event. The next day I got a nasty email saying they really needed to know if we were coming. Well, they also really needed to know that most people in New York City have apartment numbers, don't they? Sheesh.

                                                                                                                            Some folks had trouble replying to my wedding invites, but I simply investigated their status. What is the problem with that?

                                                                                                                            5 Replies
                                                                                                                            1. re: julietg

                                                                                                                              There is no problem with politely investigating an invitee's status, juliet. In fact, it's the thing to do--be polite when you call to ask someone if s/he received your invitation, etc.

                                                                                                                              At the same time, it's really not a big problem, to RSVP to invitations when for legitimate reasons, such as yours, you're not sure if you'll be available. You simply call up the host, say "I'd like to come, but I won't be able to if our house closes on this day (or that week or whatever). I don't know when the date will be set. Would it be better for your planning purposes if I give you my regrets now? I don't want to inconvenience you." Then you let the host decide.

                                                                                                                              1. re: Normandie

                                                                                                                                Sure, when it's polite! But the email I got wasn't.

                                                                                                                                1. re: julietg

                                                                                                                                  I think there might be a misunderstanding, juliet. You asked at the end of your post, "What is the problem with that?", referring I think to your investigating if there was some reason people hadn't responded to your invitations.

                                                                                                                                  And I was saying that there was nothing wrong, with your asking politely. In other words, I was siding with you. ;-)

                                                                                                                            2. The reason most people do not is because there is no repercussions from the hosts if they show up or don’t.

                                                                                                                              When we have an RSVP’d event at our house we have refused entrance to those who did not reply and consequently they get taken off our invite list. On the other side we have written letters to those that did reply and did not show up telling them that they will no longer be invited due to their rude behavior. Its tough love and we have lots some acquaintances but not surprisingly these are the ones that it was no big loss to lose.

                                                                                                                              One of the benefits of this approach is that it has carried over to many of our friends and guests who have also adopted this strategy. If everyone did this then guess what, everyone would RSVP, but no-one wants to be a mean person. In our case we have not had a no-show in over 10 years and have had only one couple show up just recently. They were friends of friends and didn’t think it was necessary to RSVP, I asked them at the door if their friends told them that a RSVP was mandatory and if they read it on the invitation that they received in the mail and the second one via email. They said they did but never RSVP, I told that that was too bad because they are going to miss a fun event and a grand dinner, bid them a good-night and closed the door. The look on their face was priceless.

                                                                                                                              PS If you have a legitimate excuse, car troubles, medical, lost mail we understand and don’t penalize you for this.

                                                                                                                              6 Replies
                                                                                                                              1. re: RetiredChef

                                                                                                                                I don't see anything "mean" about your approach to dealing with non-RSVPers or no-shows. It just seems honest to me. Seems to me its more constructive to tell a person candidly while you're not letting them in. Some people won't learn, despite of that, but a few will here and there, for the betterment of those friendships.

                                                                                                                                1. re: Normandie

                                                                                                                                  I also agree and my dh & I entertain often. Communication should be so simple. When in the world did direct communicating become solely mean, confrontational and avoided over such simple hosting issues. Seems to dh & I that the dramas come from a lack of communication. After all, we're talking about people we wanted to include.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                    Right. It's strange.

                                                                                                                                    I think that, sure, there are a few rude types out there that may not respond because they are waiting to see if something they'd prefer to do more (even if it's stay at home) will come along.

                                                                                                                                    But I don't think most people are inherently thoughtless. I think more often there's this silly discomfort with not knowing how to decline, so they either "fib" or don't respond. But all they need do is offer regrets, and they're under no obligation to explain why. I just say this because now and then a friend will say, "I got invited to such-as-such, and I don't care to go because that's my only night home that week [or whatever], but I don't know what reason to give."

                                                                                                                                    I don't think *all* of the "old" rules of etiquette fit today's world, but many still do provide an easy-to-follow "roadmap" to civility and kindness. But they seem to have been lost in the mists of time.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: Normandie

                                                                                                                                      Normandie, my dh believes it human overload. Too many choices, decisions, obligations, commitments, etc. and that in the craziness of life we simply forget the civility and kindness are just that...simple. Whatevers "lost" can be easily re-found :) but my dh is def. more bothered by guests who aren't considerate pre party.

                                                                                                                                      Personally, I prefer to just move forward. In the end, my friends and family mean too much to me to get caught up in the why...and I'd rather focus on the when. In other words, there's always the next occasion to get together; share some yummy chow & a glass of Chard. I digest better and sleep soundly not worrying about other people's issues.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                        Well, that's an excellent point, you make there at the end. After all, there's really nothing we *can* do about other people's issues, except to draw the line when we need to for planning purposes by saying gently, "I need your response by such-and-such a date". And that's a fair thing to do, giving the cost of wasted food, the time it takes to prepare it, and the need sometimes to arrange things physically to accommodate our expected guests.

                                                                                                                                        But I agree ultimately with how you look at it, because, with time and repetition, we get to know which of our acquaintances are generally lovely people who just seem to have a problem RSVPing, and which are otherwise generally thoughtless or self-centered friends. Big difference between the two types.

                                                                                                                                        And I also see a lot of sense in what your hubby has to say about it. I know I myself sometimes feel a little overwhelmed. Sometimes keeping one's life organized does seem overwhelming by virtue of minutiae. Technology's progress has been great in so many ways, as to how it's made communication more convenient, but it's also increased demands upon us by making it more immediate. (Sensory overload.)

                                                                                                                                        1. re: Normandie

                                                                                                                                          Normandie, you just explained *it* so much better than I.
                                                                                                                                          Happy Holidays to you and yours.

                                                                                                                              2. i know that this is an older post, but i have been meaning to comment.

                                                                                                                                i think that people do not rsvp for several reasons: (1) they forget; (2) they are waiting for a better offer; (3) they are lazy, or (4) they were poorly raised.

                                                                                                                                that being said... my wife and i entertain quite a bit and used to fret over lack of rsvp's. got to the point that we wouldn't invite certain people because they would not rsvp but would show up. last year we came up with the perfect solution (by accident). we moved into a gated community, so... you don't rsvp, we don't enter your name on the gate list, we miss you at the function.

                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                1. re: justanotherpenguin

                                                                                                                                  ha that's a good one, you can also put on the invitation if you don't rsvp by a certain date you will not get past the gate!

                                                                                                                                2. I have to admit that I used to have a terrible, terrible habit of not RSVPing. My reasons?

                                                                                                                                  * I have an abysmal memory. I can't remember half the time what I ate for breakfast. I'd put the invitation aside with the best of intentions and a promise to myself that I would investigate if I was free to go and then answer the RSVP. Then I would promptly get distracted by something shiny and forget until after the event.

                                                                                                                                  * If the event was something that sounded frightfully dull (e.g. weddings: I'm very much not the type of person who enjoys traditional, long, boring weddings and receptions), I would dread answering and would simply procrastinate.

                                                                                                                                  * I would assume that if you don't hear from me, I am not coming. By inviting me, you are putting the burden of response on me, and assume if I don't answer you that I don't have the time to get back to your invitation, much less attend.

                                                                                                                                  * Guilt at not going, either because I couldn't or really didn't want to, and avoidance of that emotion by simply not responding.

                                                                                                                                  I've realized how absolutely awful this behaviour is and how ass-like I was being and coming across, and so I've vowed to never do it again, and come up with systems to work with my limitations (namely my poor memory and procrastination) so that it isn't an issue: as soon as I get an invitation, I schedule it on my calendar and set up e-mail notification alarms and what not to remind me to investigate whether or not I'm free for the event and to respond in a reasonable time frame from receipt of the invitation. This works very well, and with most calendar applications (I use iCal on Mac OS X), takes only seconds to set up for each invite: a couple of button clicks and my computer can beep, show pop ups, or e-mail me a week, two weeks, etc. before an event and say, "Hey, time to take care of this, bucko." For the last issue (guilt), I simply forced myself to invest a bit of effort and grew a pair.

                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                  1. re: vorpal

                                                                                                                                    all of your reasons for not replying I can understand and I think we all have those thoughts flying around our heads when we get some invitations, especially when you really don't want to go in the first place. I guess the best thing is to RSVP right away when you get an invite to a stuffy wedding or other party you KNOW you cannot or will not attend. If you are not good at face to face refusals then get some thank you cards and mail a note right away with your refusal.

                                                                                                                                    If someone asks you to come to dinner next Saturday and you haven't yet asked your other half, then right away say thanks I will ask hubby/wife and get right back to you and do it. If again you know neither of you would want to go then immediately say you have other plans.
                                                                                                                                    I guess it's about being quick to respond if you know you aren't going to go. Unfortunately my family have a habit of sending out invites about 3 months ahead with save the date emails and calls. I really don't like going to step in laws second cousins daughters weddings and some things are tough to wriggle out of. I have learnt to say NO much earlier than I used to even though I know we will not be going at the onset.

                                                                                                                                    The ones I find the hardest to say no to is when you are surprised with a 'what are you doing for Thanksgiving/Xmas/Rosh Hashanah type of questions when it sounds conversational and suddenly you are thrust into 'oh you must come to us since you have nothing to do'. My recent response is thank you but that's just how we want it.

                                                                                                                                  2. I can so relate to this. I just threw a Halloween party. I sent an invitation through Punchbowl. Maybe about half of the people invited ever RSVP'd. Same ratio for people who actually attended. And then about 8 people who *did* RSVP didn't show up! Grrr.

                                                                                                                                    But anyway, we were asked why we, personally, do not RSVP. One time, I was invited to a very, very expensive bachelorette weekend for a coworker I barely knew. And I was not invited to the wedding. I felt so awkward about the whole thing, I think I just blocked it out. When the automatic reminder email came a couple of weeks later, I did RSVP that I would not be attending.

                                                                                                                                    Right now, I received an invitation two days ago and I have not yet RSVP'd because my husband's out of town and I have no idea if we've already committed to another event on that day. But I will RSVP eventually!

                                                                                                                                    Oh, and this is really immature, but my husband's cousin and - at the time - girlfriend did not RSVP to our wedding but then said that they would definitely be attending when asked. Then they didn't show. We had table assignments, place cards, and paid per head, of course. There's, you know, over $100 down the drain. And it was because they decided to go camping instead.

                                                                                                                                    So when we received their wedding invitation, we did not respond, did not send a gift, etc. I know that's terribly, horribly immature, but they never apologized or anything, and I suppose I am occasionally immature, so there it is.

                                                                                                                                    So, to summarize (1) awkwardness at being invited, (2) uncertainty, and (3) revenge.

                                                                                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                                                                                    1. re: Raids

                                                                                                                                      Aw, what you should have done was the same thing they did: RSVP yes and then not show up! LOL! Who doesn't even inform the bride and groom, even if it's last minute, that they won't show up to a wedding (voluntarily)?!

                                                                                                                                      As a general rule, I RSVP yes and no. But if there's a maybe option...Well, that's when my apathy towards parties or large (10+ people) social gatherings overflows and I always choose "maybe" because...hey, it was an option, and I either need to feel obligated to go to an RSVP event (i.e. already committed or am expected to show up due to relationship to hosts) or would have to be convinced thoroughly at the last minute to go...

                                                                                                                                      Maybe it's a generational thing. Or my introversion...

                                                                                                                                      1. re: Raids

                                                                                                                                        Am I evil? The revenge instance just cracked me up. (And this from one who always RSVPs. And If I RSVP "yes" and then cannot make it, am always sure to let the hosts know--and "decided to go camping instead" isn't my reason.)

                                                                                                                                        1. re: Raids

                                                                                                                                          I don't know if those who go camping rather than to weddings are all alike, but the very same thing happened to me. Except I made the DH call his (then) friend to explain why you can't bail on a wedding you have already RSVPed yes to to go camping.

                                                                                                                                          After all, we had almost been carried away in a flash flood on the way to his wedding reception.

                                                                                                                                        2. I'll answer honestly: your plans are not my problem. Rude? Maybe. Expecting my life to revolve around yours? Definitely.

                                                                                                                                          In other words, your ambitions are not mine. I don't believe I'm at fault for that.

                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                          1. I always have RSVPed if I'm showing up. Now that I'm older and a little quicker on the uptake, I RSVP either way if I can. But honestly, for a long time it seemed kinda dumb to RSVP if I wasn't going - in my mind, who the heck would show up if they hadn't let the host know they were coming? My mother always told me to RSVP either way, but I thought she was just being finicky. Then I realized that yes, there are people who show up unannounced.

                                                                                                                                            I have ADD and some minor social phobias - if I remembered in my early 20s (not often) to send the decline, I would, but usually any event I couldn't attend would slip out of my mind as soon as I had answered that question, but before I could pull myself together to fill out the card and mail it OR I would have one of my moments of panicked shyness about calling the person listed on the invite, who I often didn't know. I didn't figure I was causing any distress, so I didn't sweat it. But if I lost the information and couldn't respond, I sure as heck didn't show up at the event.

                                                                                                                                            And though I mostly (with a few slip-ups) fall into line with etiquette, I do wonder about a social tradition that requires a person to engage with a would-be host, even if they are not taking them up on the offer. I realize the kind thing to do is to respond even if you're not going, but there are times when it seems onerous (even if it's just filling out a card and mailing it). For example, an estranged relative invited me to her wedding reception recently. When she received my standard "not attending" response (and no I did not write anything like "when hell freezes over" on it), I then received a barrage of texts and IMs demanding to know why I wasn't coming. She also sent out invitations to a bunch of people with whom she was just casual friends/acquaintances who were completely mystified at their inclusion on the guest list. I guess it bothers me that what is ostensibly an extension of generosity on the part of the host, then conveys an obligation upon the invited party that they did not ask for, when the most logical course would be to assume that people who do not respond are simply not coming. Or am I being illogical?

                                                                                                                                            16 Replies
                                                                                                                                            1. re: Heatherb

                                                                                                                                              As long as you do your part to acknowledge an invite (yes or no) you've done your part. The rest of the invitation (or drama) rests with the person sending the invite.

                                                                                                                                              Plenty of invitations include a notation to only RSVP if you ARE coming. So, again you can only follow the "instructions" provided by each individual invitation.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: Heatherb

                                                                                                                                                As I mentioned above, a "party" that is really a sales event I would let them know if I am coming, for refreshment reasons or whatever, but most likely I'm not and they won't hear from me. This is not a "friendly" invitation to me. If they hounded me about that, then I would have something to say to them.

                                                                                                                                                Now a party for the fun of it, I will respond either way, just to let them know I appreciate them thinking of me and wanting to include me in the festivities. Unless they say "regrets only" which to me means they'll be too busy getting ready to spend hours on the phone (or however people do it these days!) Here, I'm not talking about weddings, showers etc where a gift is expected, but you barely know the honoree. They get my good wishes, which will be conveyed in the proper manner, and that's that. Lately my social activities are mainly the type that you look forward to; seems like everyone else's social calender is a lot fuller than mine! Another thing to be thankful for this weekend.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: Heatherb

                                                                                                                                                  I've been invited to plenty of large parties where RSVPs are not expected. I think these days with electronic invites, it's a lot harder to ask for RSVPs for a large event where some pay have been told by word of mouth while others got a Facebook or evite. I don't really see a mass invite (e.g. 100+ people invited) via Facebook to be that personal and necessarily merit a response.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: queencru

                                                                                                                                                    While I am a daily user of the Internet/email, I can't stand e-vites, FB or large emails (where everyones email address is listed) for invitations. I delete and ignore them. A few years ago after attending a wedding of a colleague the bride & groom sent out a mass email thanking their guests and linking them to a website where we could buy photos of their wedding day. I think that fiasco ended more than a few friendships and it definately made me rethink the use of e-vites. As common as these "methods" might be, I think for the most part they are lazy excuses. If you're too busy to extend a proper invitation, then you're too busy to throw a party (imho). As for FB, not a fan of this social network...let alone for invitations. Maybe I'm just too old fashioned.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                                      I'm old fashioned too, and proud of it. Nothing is "too old fashioned" for me, especially manners.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                                        Evites are greener, faster, cheaper and easier on the host for everyday (read: not wedding or shower) parties. I'd rather spend more money and time on food and drink. Plus, the DH has more than once buried a paper invite in the junk mail, only to be found when it is too late. I can upload a FB, Evite, or cocdot event onto my Blackberry calendar. The host's address and phone are right there, available 24/7. There's a link to the map for driving or subway directions. I also get the added benefit of seeing who is and who is not coming, which is useful for making plans accordingly. Embrace the new stuff- it has a lot ot offer!

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: julietg

                                                                                                                                                          No thanks. The people in our (dh & I) busy lives; we know how to reach each other. For $20.00 a month I have unlimited local & long distance phone service. I call to personally invite every guest. No paper! Then I share the details of the party including directions. Or some guests have GPS, others use the internet to mapquest on their own or already know how to get to my place. I agree, green is good. Since I already pay for a phone-calling makes sense to me. I do not like the idea of listing the personal email addresses of my guests on the internet. I call. My family/friends/colleagues/guests, they appreciate the call. It works for me. Embrace the idea of direct communication in person (or by phone- you're paying for it already)...and then there is plenty of funds for food :)

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                                            Evite, Facebook, and cocodot do not list email addresses, unless the party wants it to.

                                                                                                                                                            As far as a mass email, as long as the recipients are bcc'd, then why is there a problem? I would have loved to have received an email like this, with a link to the photographer's website, where I could look for photos of me and my fam to print! (Come to think of it, I think I did send such an email after my wedding.) Not knowing how to use email properly- putting everyone's email addresses out there- is rude in any circumstance, IMO.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: julietg

                                                                                                                                                              Because not everyone understands how bcc works or uses it. And the sites themselves most certainly do share emails with their advertisers (which wind up in my email box!). FB, E-vite "friends" can get so out of hand (if the accountee allows it) that you wind up on 3rd party lists you didn't want (creating a real chore to disengage from). So using this method is not done as properly or thoughtfully as you illustrate. Meanwhile, the pleasure of being invited to a party, hosting one-well that's the point isn't it.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                                                Sounds like you need to adjust your privacy settings. I get no spam from FB or Evite. If you log on to those sites and change your settings to disallow sharing your email (or don't put your email address on FB in the first place) you can protect yourself. If you are getting emails inviting you to join Facebook, they are most likely from your friends who have used your email address to get you to join. I've been using both for years and have never had a problem.

                                                                                                                                                                I know, we're off topic here, but gotta say that the improper use of electronic communication is just as rude as not RSVPing!

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: julietg

                                                                                                                                                                  julietg, I appreciate the suggestions but I'm not (necessarily) referring to my friends or colleagues as much as the advertisers on evite type sites and company-only related stuff on FB. For work, I much prefer Intranets and for personal as you can tell non online invitations. But back to the food!

                                                                                                                                                          2. re: julietg

                                                                                                                                                            I have no problem with an electronic invitation - even an electronic wedding invitation. And I definitely RSVP to electronic invitations the same way I would to any other - they've even made it easy on me! All I have to do is click.

                                                                                                                                                            Having said that, an electronic thank you note sent en masse is incredibly thoughtless.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Raids

                                                                                                                                                              Well, I think that thoughtfulness goes both ways. If your guests are okay with an evite, then how is an e-thank you wrong? It confuses me. So, I'm not okay with either. Depending on the invitations circumstances...the phone still works for me. A letter, as old fashioned as it may seem, is still appropriate and appreciated in my book.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                                                Invitations are traditionally mass mailings, even formal wedding invitations. Thank you cards, however, are not.

                                                                                                                                                                Group emails are inherently mass-mailings, and so they are not appropriate any time a mass mailing would not be appropriate.

                                                                                                                                                            2. re: julietg

                                                                                                                                                              I still know people that don't have computers, or don't use the ones they have, and wouldn't have the faintest idea what to do with a Blackberry. They're getting along fine. Because of my business, I've kept up with the technology, but the entire world is not converted just yet. The people I'm thinking of would definitely bury an email, or not know how to answer a text, rather than lose any postal mail. I still have plenty of customers with whom I must communicate verbally or we'd never talk again. That whole thing about knowing who is and is not coming doesn't seem so important to me either, strikes me as sort of snobby if anything, if you're using that to decide whether to attend.

                                                                                                                                                              It's sad that people don't seem to want to communicate face to face anymore, body language and tone of voice can be so revealing and useful in a social or business situation. Sorry to rant on, I was just discussing this very subject with a business associate and got all revved up!

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: coll

                                                                                                                                                                coll, I couldn't agree more.

                                                                                                                                                      2. I cannot tell the future. I have no idea what may change between the time I receive an invitation an d the time of the event. I reply when I know for sure.

                                                                                                                                                        5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                        1. re: TheKitchenHotline

                                                                                                                                                          You should reply by the deadline that your host provided, not when it is convenient for you. If you aren't happy to attend the event, then come clean and send your regrets. They probably don't want to spend their money on you if you are that fickle.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: sisterbeer

                                                                                                                                                            Yes, failing to reply by the deadline has long been viewed in etiquette terms as the "waiting to see if I get a better offer elsewhere" gambit and deemed self-centered and anti-social in nature.

                                                                                                                                                          2. re: TheKitchenHotline

                                                                                                                                                            So if you've been invited to a party or event, you wait to see if something better comes along before RSVP'ing to that first event?

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                              I think I know where TheKitchenHotline is coming from to a certain extent. If I know some family events are coming up or a work deadline around the time of a friend's social function, I will hold off responding. Of course, generally, I call to let the host what's going on - my friends know that for me, family events like christenings take precedence over cocktail brunches and that my job comes with some crazy hours.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Heatherb

                                                                                                                                                                I understand where you're coming from, but what TKHotline wrote was more along the lines of waiting for other invites to come in and picking and choosing the best.

                                                                                                                                                                At most, you could accept the invite to the original non-family event; and if a family event gets scheduled at the same time, you call that person and sadly give your regrets at *that* time, saying a family event has been scheduled at the same time, and you were unaware of when it was going to be.

                                                                                                                                                          3. a few months have gone by since i originally posted this. nothing has changed: "i think that people do not rsvp for several reasons: (1) they forget; (2) they are waiting for a better offer; (3) they are lazy, or (4) they were poorly raised."

                                                                                                                                                            if anything, maybe my order of reasons is backwards.

                                                                                                                                                            1. The only thing I didn't RSVP to is an invite to my sister in law's baby shower. I was living in Europe at the time, assumed someone had had just sent that invite because my name was on whatever list, and of course I could not be expected to fly back to the US to attend a baby shower. This was also before everyone was hooked up to the world of email, so a quick clearup was not a click away.
                                                                                                                                                              Boy was I wrong!! I was expected to actually attend the thing!! After a very bitter argument with my mother, I actually bought a ticket, flew across the world, and attended a crap party with all the ridiculous games, flew back across the world and returned to work a few days later.
                                                                                                                                                              Point is, I always RSVP promptly now.

                                                                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                              1. re: alliegator

                                                                                                                                                                Oh. My. God. allie, really sorry that you had to go through all of that! And probably even sorrier that you ended up buying a ticket to return for the shower. I can't believe they expected you to spend that money AND time away from work to do so. Yowza.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                  Thx Linda. But it was a long tima ago and everyone has apologized, so I guess the sting is gone. Definitely drove home the point about RSVPing to me!!

                                                                                                                                                              2. I host a ton of parties and am always ranting about this sort of thing. There are lots of people who don't RSVP and then show up at the last minute, and also people who RSVP "yes" and then don't show up. I almost always send evites, so it's not even hard to RSVP! It takes a few clicks and about 30 seconds. And there is a "maybe" option, for goshsakes! You don't even really have to commit to anything!

                                                                                                                                                                That said, before I started hosting parties so much I was a problem RSVPer. Oh, I'd always reply promptly to things I was excited about going to, so usually if I didn't respond it was for one of two reasons - either I just forgot, or I was deeply apathetic about the event and just couldn't really bother. That was before a friend told me that the host of an evite event can check the evite and see who's looked at it, but hasn't responded. Or who keeps looking at the evite over and over again. So now I just reply "maybe" to everything, except things I'm really sure I want to go to. This way, I'm leaving the option open, but I'm not risking saying yes and then not showing up - I would feel really terrible about that. I think maybe is a legitimate response, unless the event you're attending is a seated dinner party. When I get maybe RSVPs to events I have, I just assume that about 80% of the maybes aren't going to show up.

                                                                                                                                                                Oh, and I've never turned anybody away at the door, but when people consistently don't RSVP (or don't even bother to look at the evite)...sometimes, they just get left off the next one.

                                                                                                                                                                1. I always host a party at my home with bunch of friends. some of them never rsvp's as requested. what I hate about this is, when you dont come, I dont know how much food I shall prepare, who wants to cook too much and there is some leftovers?

                                                                                                                                                                  there is also a time when I arrange for a baby shower, it's quite a big baby shower around 40 people, and we arrange the long table with the guests names, so they dont feel alone, we put them in their group. suddenly someone who dont rsvp came.. and all the table is set, the food is set, and we need to move it all around again.

                                                                                                                                                                  and during my sister wedding, one invitation is for 2 person, he rsvp for 2 person. we do the name tag on a table again, he appeared came with his wife and 2 children. and just sat down, ignore the name tags and when the wedding planner asked them to move, they said, no no no no no..

                                                                                                                                                                  end up, 2 of the old family folks, didnt get a seat. and he was angry to all of us till today.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. Normally I respond immediately to an RSVP whether attending or not... However... I just got an invitation to an out-of-town baby shower for a relative that I haven't been close to for almost 20 years.
                                                                                                                                                                      This after stating clearly that I couldn't attend the event 6 months ago when we were informed of the pregnancy.
                                                                                                                                                                      The invite was from someone I don't know & the RSVP is by phone only & is, needless to say, a long distance #.
                                                                                                                                                                      Will I respond to it.... big "NO". I already made my intentions clear to my relative 6 mths ago & feel I should never have received this invite.

                                                                                                                                                                      23 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Samantha_the_cat

                                                                                                                                                                        What you actually got was an invitation to send a gift....

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Karl S

                                                                                                                                                                          Or what my grandfather used to refer to as: Your presents is requested ................................

                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: Samantha_the_cat

                                                                                                                                                                          I rec'd an invitation to a bridal shower last summer that also left me perplexed and no matter how I would have chosen to accept/not accept the invite there would have been problems. I did not know the bride and hadn't spoken to her family in over 20 years (most of the bride's life).

                                                                                                                                                                          When you don't feel a connection to the person or the family of the person being celebrated should you rise to the occasion anyway? Does 10, 15, 20 years since you were really a part of their lives equal rec'ing a completely unexpected invite and the expectation of gifting? While I do consider myself a generous, understanding guest 90% of the time, this one left me shaking my head. I wouldn't invite these folks to an occasion for my own family. I wouldn't put them on the spot to decide.

                                                                                                                                                                          In my case, I declined the invite by RSVPing no thank you and didn't send a gift. Six months later I had to listen to how rude I was for not rising to the occasion. So in the course of a 20 year gap of no communication I rec'd an invite & a lecture but no effort made to improve normal, regular communication btwn our families.


                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                                                            My daughter just got a second wedding RSVP from a couple that she was hoping would not attend!! I guess they really want to be there.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Motosport

                                                                                                                                                                              Motosport, so your daughter invited a couple to her wedding and then hoped they wouldn't attend??

                                                                                                                                                                              Ha! I guess they aren't mind readers.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Motosport

                                                                                                                                                                                Motosport, I hope your post is in jest.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Niblet

                                                                                                                                                                                  The couple was on "our" list. Not friends of our daughter & fiancé and a bit rough around the edges.
                                                                                                                                                                                  I am still trying to figure out how they got 2 RSVP cards.
                                                                                                                                                                                  WEDDINGS!!! Oy vey!!

                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                                                                Wait. You were *lectured* for not sending a gift? To someone you don't even know and whose family you hadn't seen in 20 years?

                                                                                                                                                                                Boggles. the. mind.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                  Bingo! We "knew them" 20 plus years ago (the parents of the bride) but once they started having children our friendship fizzled. Sadly, parenting changed our friendship. Over the course of those absent years we weren't included in family celebrations until the one child was getting married....hence my story.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                                                                    A money grab (for the kid) on the parents' part. Even more mind-boggling.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                      I honestly don't know. At the time I wasn't quick to write the invite off as a gift hunt truly but when members of the guest list who I still know started sharing stories about the years we missed...I just was left really cold about the whole thing.

                                                                                                                                                                                      But when I was confronted by the sister of the mother of the bride and lectured about not attending then I wasn't' so nice.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                                                                        "But when I was confronted by the sister of the mother of the bride and lectured about not attending then I wasn't' so nice."

                                                                                                                                                                                        It blows my mind that someone would have the nerve to do this. i wouoldn't have been so nice either!

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: flourgirl

                                                                                                                                                                                          Always makes for the stories around the campfire tho :) This is what my husband would call head-fucks. Live and learn. The whole thing is really a sad commentary.

                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                                                                  The second last sentence pretty much sums up my problem with the whole situation: there is no real communication with these relatives. It's so bad in fact that we were under the impression the couple had divorced years ago. This despite being in pseudo communication with the parents during those years.
                                                                                                                                                                                  & in response to Cachetes, if they wanted to make me feel welcome, they could have developed a real, meaningful, communicative relationship with me. I haven't heard a peep from them between the announcement of pregnancy 6mths ago & me explaining that I couldn't make the trip, to the unexpected invite.
                                                                                                                                                                                  Actually I can't figure out how you're even writing Thank Yous without knowing who gave you what..... That one boggles....

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Samantha_the_cat

                                                                                                                                                                                    Clearly there's a long history with these relatives for you, and it doesn't sound good. But others jumped onto the idea that this was a gift grab, and I'm just saying, it may not be. Big events (weddings, babies) bring up all sorts of pressures and expectations on both sides, and they can be tough to manage due to the often competing influences of both etiquette and actual relationships. Rather than getting angry, you should handle it like my family: wait until the next July 4th holiday, get raging drunk, and open up an all out family battle (j/k).

                                                                                                                                                                                    Re. thank yous: your interpretation does not reflect what I said.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Cachetes

                                                                                                                                                                                      I didn't suggest it was a gift grab in my case (just for the record) but it was incredibly awkward to be invited to a very special occasion (a wedding!) by someone who hasn't said "hello" in 20 years.

                                                                                                                                                                                      I think it's fair to say we all can relate to different pieces of an individual story while reflecting on our own experiences.

                                                                                                                                                                                      I always RSVP, even when the answer is NO. But sometimes you can't please people no matter how much you try.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Cachetes

                                                                                                                                                                                        You are right. Actually I don't necessarily think it's a present grab either & I'm sorry about my response to you.

                                                                                                                                                                                        HillJ's husband's "head-fuck" is how I feel about my situation - I don't assume anything & if they felt I'd be "left-out" I don't understand that either - we aren't close & I'm middle-aged now... I understand for younger people why you'd include everyone - but older adults rarely are so sensitive - Again, I dunno... Maybe I'm just different that way.
                                                                                                                                                                                        It's unusual to invite out-of-towners to a baby shower when they are not close friends or relatives.
                                                                                                                                                                                        I live a few hundred miles away & I indicated to her b4 I could not be there.

                                                                                                                                                                                        Really my whole story was just an example of why someone may not want to respond to an RSVP.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Samantha_the_cat

                                                                                                                                                                                          You had my attention, I assure you.

                                                                                                                                                                                          :p )

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Samantha_the_cat

                                                                                                                                                                                            I'm too sensitive the other way, so I apologize for taking the thread off track a bit. There is all sorts of crazy etiquette in my family - it's a high bar, and a moving bar, and grave expressions of disgust by one or two family members result when someone misses the mark, despite their best efforts. And since this is a food site, I'll add: don't even get me started if someone tries to serve the "wrong" food on a particular holiday!

                                                                                                                                                                                            And as to HillJ - yeah, that's crazy that they called you out for not attending. 20 years, and then an invite to a wedding! I've skipped showers and not sent gifts when I can't figure out why I've been invited to something. Fortunately, no one has ever cornered me about it!

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Cachetes

                                                                                                                                                                                              You didn't take the thread off track, we're all story swapping-I know it helps me to hear the experiences and points of view from many sides. Thanks for sharing yours.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Cachetes

                                                                                                                                                                                                Yes, for sure the different perspectives are a great help. I don't feel all miffed & confused anymore & the RSVP has been answered :)
                                                                                                                                                                                                So many thanks to everyone - you and HillJ in particular - for all the great insight!

                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: Samantha_the_cat

                                                                                                                                                                                        This is a tough one. I've been in the situation where I don't want to put the burden on someone to feel like they have to come to something, but I want them to know that they are welcome (even if I know they won't or can't come). So, I send an invite. And once thank you notes are done, I can't tell you who gave me a gift of not, so not only do I not care if I get a gift, I often don't even remember.

                                                                                                                                                                                        Courtesy (or perhaps pressure from another family member!) may have been why you were invited, with no other motive. If you want to go, go. If you don't, don't. If you want to send a gift, do. And if you don't, don't. But I wouldn't assume the intent was selfish.

                                                                                                                                                                                        And a long distance call - maybe costs a quarter.