How Many People Do Not RSVP

labmommaOctober 31, 2006

I am finding that there is a trend in that people are ignoring the rsvp on invitations and not giving any response. I was wondering if this is an issue for anyone else?

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Absolutely!!...Depending on your "crowd' socially aware they are...up to almost half won't reply.
I have given a shower for a couple asking for donations toward a group gift and an RSVP....and almost 1/2 had not responded a few days before...I called. And even then some who said they would not show, did and others didn't....and several showed with cash and wanted to be in on the gift....and the card was written and sealed...
I just handed the bridal couple an envelope with 3 $5 bills in it!
I know one hostess who didn't getr a reply from someone for a luncheon....and that woman showed and said...I hope it's OK...that I'm not too late....and the hostess said..." are late...I have my meal cooking and my table set....if only you had let me know, I could have put on another chicken breast and set another place." I say great, because that woman has done that to me!!
Yes....people don't seem to know what's polite any more!
Linda C

    Bookmark   October 31, 2006 at 7:15PM
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We hosted a post-wedding brunch this summer for SIL and were pretty surprised at how many people we had to chase down.

Now, we are waiting for replies for my daughter's Bat Mitzvah. We're at about 75% now, just over a week after the reply deadline. DH and I are starting to discuss calling or e-mailing to get replies from people. It's ridiculous if you ask me. I mean, how hard is it to just tick off a box and drop a SASE in the mail?

    Bookmark   October 31, 2006 at 9:08PM
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Catering rule in our area is expect 25 percent no shows. It has been so frustrating in the past ten years to throw a party requiring rsvps. I am not dealing with people who don't know any better either. I am starting to think the professional, college and grad school educated group are worse.

For a large gathering if you don't rsvp I assume you are not coming. I am not going to call people and chase after them. Usually they are no shows but I've had plenty just show up. It usually works in my favor since I always have leftovers, but the point of the rsvp is an actual hard number for chairs, linens, china, etc.

If it is a small dinner or cocktail party, and one of the people in the couple is a little more than an acquaintance I may be inclined to call, but I am thinking probably no.

To the friend who stood her ground and told her rude guest she was late I say good for you. Someone who does something like that has absolutely no respect for the hostess and how much planning and time goes into entertaining properly.

As for the gift collection thing, lindac, how did you handle those who wanted to add in at the last minute. I mean what you were supposed to leave the card unsigned until all the guests arrived to see if anyone wanted in on the gift. I will never go the group gift route with anyone but a dear friend or family member being my co-gifter, i.e.; someone I can comfortably add to the card and ask for the money due on the gift or money given.

I was curious if it was just me??

    Bookmark   November 1, 2006 at 6:00AM
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I don't think it's a matter of not knowing any better, I think it's a matter of laziness.

I don't think I've ever had 100% rsvp on any party I've ever given. And it's a pain.

I give an annual party to which I invite around 40 women, usually around 20-22 come. It's a lot of planning and a lot of details which must be done in advance, some of which is personalized (name tags, etc.) And I give a deadline to RSVP by. Without fail, every year, I'm down to the wire with a few stragglers who have not bothered to RSVP.

This last year, I put a note on the invitation, If you want to remain on my guest list for future years, please RSVP either way. I only had one person (still!!) not bother to RSVP and she's off my list for future parties.

Linda, I think the response of your friend to the late comer was beautiful. I hope she learned her lesson!!

    Bookmark   November 1, 2006 at 9:54AM
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I too find many don't RSVP, and then if you call them to see if their coming, they act like you're the rude one. I could see someone forgetting to call, but they don't even try to apoligize for not RSVP'ing...Just don't get it.

I find the new trend is not putting RSVP on the card but something more along the lines as "Call us by May 3rd and let us know if you are coming or not". I think some people still get confused about what RSVP means and may think it's a regrets only thing or, that it really means "respond if you please/want to" and isn't a requirement.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2006 at 10:09AM
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No....she did not learn her lesson. There was a dinner gathering a week ago..the committee phones each member to see if they plan to come and calls back until every one has been contacted. And "She" showed up night of....said "I know I didn't make a reservaiton...but can I come any way?" And who ever was checking people in said "sure"!
As for the donations for the shower gift....the gift was determined by how much we got in donations...we asked $5 from each couple. A few days before we bought them a grill...spending only about $10 more than we had, wrapped it and wrote all the names of the givers on the card....So people who showed with cash were really strange. Also one couple (related to the groom) just showed up for donation to the gift!
Good for you, Mae, crossing those off your list. I think that when I give a party next time, I will include a note saying "If you do not RSVP. I will assume you are not coming and won't plan food for you to eat."
Linda C

    Bookmark   November 1, 2006 at 10:12AM
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I like your idea, lowspark. When people don't RSVP for a party or don't show up after indicating they're coming, I cross them off my guest list without an explanation. The only exceptions I've made are when I've gotten a call later that something really unavaoidable had occurred. Maybe I should include a note like yours. One "friend" said, "I never get invited to your house anymore" and I told her that's because I was never sure if she was coming or not. I also have been excluding people who we've entertained many times without a reciprocal invitation of any sort. Entertaining is fun but a lot of work, and I find I'm resentful of those who take, take, take.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2006 at 12:15PM
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I do and don't have this problem.

Many parents of children invited to our daughter's parties don't bother to RSVP, even though the invitations ask them to call me or my husband. Most of the kids will tell our daughter if they can come or not, though. Usually, we don't hear anything from about 25% of the invitees, so I end up calling them. Almost always, they say yes, the child is coming. Go figure!

I host a lot of dinner parties for my husband's colleagues, both visiting and those who live in town, pretty much any time there is an invited speaker(s) visiting, or meetings, and even large conferences. These are scientists, and they always RSVP. I guess they have their act together or something!

We've had no problem with RSVPs with our friends, either, but those dinners are usually informal and they are invited by email or telephone.

Regardless, I always prepare for a couple of unexpected guests and that works well for me.

Cheers, from

    Bookmark   November 1, 2006 at 2:22PM
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This drives me crazy. It seems that RSVPing is a lost art (even with English translations of RSVP).

I am part of a large group of friends who will have informal get-togethers quite often. Sometimes these are at a person's home - other times they are at a bar, restaurant or other event. We frequently use evite invitations (like I said informal).

You wouldn't believe how many people don't RSVP to those - and once they have opened the email it is just a matter of a mouse click. If they have never sent out an evite invitation, they often don't realize that the host can see who has viewed the invitation as well as those who respond.

It's like they want to wait and see who else is ocming before they commit to an event. A minor irritation if we're going to a bar - a giant inconvenience if someone is trying to plan a menu in their home.

Here is a link that might be useful: craftfetish blog

    Bookmark   November 1, 2006 at 4:16PM
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Agree with swampwitch. For years my daughter would invite a group of children for birthday parties. I would mail invitations so as not to leave anyone feeling left out by only handing them out to certain kids in school.

No calls, like your experience, kid tells my DD they are coming. Sometimes they did sometimes they didn't. It was really weird, but I chalked it up to the area where I live and the particular school district and its parents and students.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2006 at 8:32PM
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I certainly agree that it is very important (as well as polite) to respond to invitations promptly.

I think it's important to remember, though, that it's not always boorishness when people don't do so, especially when the invitation is to more than one person. I open an invitation to my whole family and check my calendar -- but then I have to wait to ask my husband and kidz to check theirs -- and perhaps I'm not sure even of my own sked yet because Aunt Mim is coming that week and I don't know yet if her outgoing flight would leave me time to get to the party, or if my child's team will be in a playoff game that night -- you get the idea. There are times when you just can't answer immediately, and sometimes things do fall through the cracks, unfortunately. I do pretty well, but I can't say I bat a thousand. In appropriate cases, I try to apologize and let the hosts know why I can't yet give an answer, and when I think I will be able to do so.

Those people who NEVER respond are a different case. But for others, there may be a good reason (or at least a reasonable excuse!) why people who have viewed paper or e-invitations haven't responded; they aren't necessarily waiting to see who else is going or if something better comes along.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2006 at 11:24AM
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We recently had a birthday party for my daughter, and I had a pretty high RSVP rate, probably about 90%...I even had several whose kids were not able to come call me to say thanks for the invitation, but my child has a prior commitment. I was quite firm in my invitations for this party, I had put a special note in there for the parents stating that it was a halloween/birthday party being held at my home, and that I needed a firm head count on the number of children that would be attending in order for me to have enough game prizes and enough adults present to make sure the party ran smoothly. I thought for sure I had done everything to insure an accurate attendance count, but as always, I had a few children show up whom had not rsvp'ed. I admit to being perturbed...I had planned this party for 6 weeks and I had the proper amount of goody bags for the children who RSVP'ed. The ones who didn't RSVP I said something along the lines of "Oh, we're so glad (insert child's name here) could make it to Emily's party, unfortunately I didn't know your child was coming, so I don't have an extra goody bag, but please come in and join the party." I'm hoping that this didn't come off as rude or snide to the parents, but that it did make them realize that hostesses need to be prepared and that responding to RSVP's is important.


    Bookmark   November 10, 2006 at 12:02AM
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Well, I think that if I had been one of those parents, I would have felt somewhat embarrassed and possibly a bit worried about my child's feelings at goody-bag time. If that is how you wanted them to feel, because they (or, to be fair, whichever parent is in charge of such things at their house; or perhaps the child him/herself if s/he is old enough to have been entrusted with the task) were rude and inconsiderate for not responding, then you probably succeeded.

But I doubt that "it did make them realize that hostesses need to be prepared and that responding to RSVP's is important." In my experience, it just never works that way (and anyway I think the problem was not that they don't already realize those things). People may or may not think you were "rude or snide," but if they did, they won't think, "Well, I certainly deserved that, and she is entitled to be rude because I was rude first." No one learns a lesson this way. The only way they will learn it is when it is THEIR turn and people drive THEM nuts by not responding! So be patient -- it will happen.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2006 at 6:11PM
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I don't think jiggreen was trying to get a dig in intentionally. Bottom line, there weren't enough gifts bags. I really don't think people should be expected to fork out close to $10 (or even $5) on gift bags goodies for kids that "MAY" show up. It just gets too expensive and wasteful to do just case someone shows up.

And, it would be nice to think that these parents could learn a lesson either from a lack of goodie bag, or from people not RSVPing to them, but I doubt they will. They've all had parties before (most weddings which should have taught them something) and if they haven't already learned, I doubt anything is going change them at this point. IMHO, They simply don't get it, or for some reason, just don't think the rules apply to them.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2006 at 12:12AM
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I agree -- I don't think she was trying to be mean; I think she just felt justified because they were rude and inconsiderate not to respond -- and she's right, they were. But I think it's also important to consider the children's feelings. Why punish a toddler to try to teach his/her parents a lesson (even assuming it is our place to do so, and which we seem to agree won't work anyway)? After all, a good host has the duty to make all guests feel welcome and comfortable, even ones who have been rude themselves (or whose parents have) -- rudeness does not justify further rudeness. Putting the parents on the spot and stiffing the kids may seem justified where they have not responded, but it doesn't seem hospitable, polite, or kind.

If you know from experience -- and we all do -- that there will be some people who don't respond, I think there are other things to do about the goody bag problem:

- Call or e-mail the people you haven't heard from and ask if the child will be attending. (How many are we talking about, anyway?)
- Have less expensive goody bags -- $10, really??!! My kidz have been past the birthday party stage for a long time now, so I know I'm not up to date, but ... yikes! -- so that you could have an extra or two in case. Making sure that there will be enough is in MHO more important than having the best goody bags of the year.
- If it's really important in your community or to your child to have really generous goody bags, you can still have extras without wasting money. Most leftover items could be returned or used as a gift another time, especially if you choose items with that in mind.
- In a real pinch, take aside that older cousin who won't freak out and ask if s/he would help you out of a jam by letting you give his/her goody bag to the unexpected child and got him/her a treat later. In my experience, that kind of thing makes a kid feel very grown up, especially if the treat is something like an extra bottle of grown-up cologne or soaps or something you have lying around.

Listen, it's not the end of the world -- it might not even have bothered anyone in the slightest -- and she wasn't trying to be mean. I may be way past the age of knowing current trends in goody bags, but I sure do remember how stressful it can be to plan and run a children's party!

    Bookmark   November 12, 2006 at 12:19PM
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A friend of mine had a good solution when two siblings of a guest showed up to her daughter's party. She quickly "rearranged" the goodies to make two more bags. None of the kids knew and everyone was happy. After all, the whole point is to show your child and his/her friends a fun time.

Since we spend about $5 per goodie bag, I always make a couple of extras. $10 isn't a big deal for us after considering the total cost of the party.

Cheers, from

    Bookmark   November 12, 2006 at 1:01PM
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I still don't know... You could go through each scenario and come up with another type of solution for it, but without knowing what can happen in advance, how can you really plan? Personally, I do have some extra bags ready but I absolutely hate wasting even $10 on needless stuff. And, what if the gift bag is just one big toy or something personalized, you can't really divide that up; Do you have to plan your gift bag choices around possiblities that people may or may not show up? Should that older cousin really be expected to give up his bag?

I do call when people don't RSVP and even if they don't call back, I usually still have a bag for their kid just in case, but there always seems to be another problem to consider. Just this last year, my neighbor's granddaughter was visiting so I promised her one of the extra gift bags. Then, one kid's younger siblings (who weren't invited to the party) wanted gift bags too when they came to pick up their kid, and then another kid's siblings, etc. Then someone lost their bag, and I had to attend to another kid that was crying about something, so I really wouldn't have had time to rearrange the bags even if I wanted to.

Sometimes there comes a point were you just have to say "No". Of course the innocent kids aren't to blame and they shouldn't be punished intentionally, but neither should you. Not getting a gift bag isn't the end of the world.

Thinking jiggreen did something wrong, is just, well wrong, IMHO. If you want to go out of your way to satisfy people that don't follow the rules of manners that's your option, but it doesn't mean the people that don't are wrong. I would think at some point consistantly catering to the ill-manners of others, could, in the long run, become somewhat ill-mannered itself especially when others are suffering or you're wasting even small amounts of money.

And, here's a question for everyone...
One of the kids who did not RSVP showed up anyway (and yes, he did get a gift bag) but he did not bring a b-day gift (I guess maybe the family was too strapped for money after just buying a new $900,000 house - lol---who knows?). Anyway, when my son did his thank you notes, he wrote the child a sweet note thanking him for coming to the party. My son really didn't care that the friend didn't bring him a b-day gift, but I didn't think we should mail the card because I thought it may have looked like it was a dig that he didn't bring a gift. What would you have done - would you have mailed it?

    Bookmark   November 12, 2006 at 3:33PM
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I think you did the right thing. I wouldn't have mailed it, either, and for the same reason -- just too much chance it would be taken as a comment on the kid not bringing a gift, or even a prod to produce one. But I am sure you made a big fuss over your sweet child! What a nice impulse he had. How old is he now?

    Bookmark   November 12, 2006 at 8:27PM
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Maybe subconsciously I WAS trying to be snide..I dunno...I do know that it is rude to show up without an RSVP, and this was not a party for toddlers, my daughter turned EIGHT and most of the attendees were the same age. Right up until the day before the party, my daughter kept asking the non-RSVP'ers if they were coming to her party, and she kept getting a lot of "I don't knows". Not really sure I understand that parents (or children) hold out until the last second to see if their child has a better offer for that day? I do know that I purposely mailed off these invitations (instead of having my daughter hand them out), and that in addition to the invitation itself there was a seperate piece of paper inside the invitation that was addressed to the parents of the child. I had written sort of a "disclaimer" stating that this was a Halloween party and that we had done our house up like a haunted house and that it would be scary. I stated that parents were welcome and encouraged to stay and that if they thought their child would be frightened that I would please request that they stay. I put the RSVP information on the invitation itself, as well as in the parent note, along with a statement that I needed a firm headcount as of 10/27 (the party was the 29th). I gave my home phone number, cell phone number and email address for RSVP options. I did have a couple of people RSVP on the 28th, which was not a problem, I was able to make up a couple of extra goody bags. The cost of the goody bags was not the issue here, although each goody bag did come to about 7 or 8 dollars x 24 (the number of children who RSVP'ed). The real issue here was that after going to all the trouble of asking (almost begging) for an accurate headcount, that I still had people show up who had not RSVP'ed. None of the 3 non-RSVP'ers seemed disturbed that they hadn't received a goody bag (all the kids got little trinkets and candy from the games), so the non-RSVP'ers did not walk away completely empty handed. They were included in all of the games and festivities and were not slighted at all from the party fun. The ONLY consequence of not RSVPing was the lack of a goody bag. I WAS not prepared with the extras, I thought I had covered that base pretty well (didn't think I needed any), but when the doorbell rang and there were kids standing there that I had not planned for, it was a little too late and I was pretty busy running a party for almost 30 kids to worry too much about it.
Bottom line, my opinion is......If you don't RSVP, don't expect the host or hostess to be prepared for you or your child when you show up unexpectedly. Teach your chldren about RSVP etiquette as well as good manners and common courtesy. All of these things are important and kids might as well start learning them at a fairly young age.

Thank you to all of you who understood that I wasn't intentionally being rude nor trying to slight any of the children. For those of you who don't agree, that's ok, we're all entitled to our opinions....this is just mine.


    Bookmark   November 14, 2006 at 10:35AM
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