RSVP Question

okieladybugDecember 6, 2006

Carla35's post got me thinking about RSVPs and how no one seems to do that anymore, regardless of how inconvenient it is for the host. The invitation she received said "Regrets or Directions" which seemed to be a confusing way to word that, thus my question. I would be wondering the same thing she I call if I'm coming or not?

I usually just put RSVP and the phone number on invitations, but this year, after hosting many events, I've come to realize that some people just don't know what that means. For a 50th anniversary party this summer, we had some guests not RSVP. We called after the RSVP date to find out if they would be attending and some said they thought they only needed to call if they were coming; others said they thought they didn't need to call because they *were* coming. What the heck???

Is there another way to word your invitations so that people know they need to call, whether they are coming or not? I usually want *all* my guests to let me know either way, but I'm not sure how to word it, other than RSVP, which doesn't seem to work anymore. I want to know, for certain, that the invitation was received and what their plans are.

I'm sure you all will have excellent responses that will help a girl out! Thanks in advance!

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I've seen variations of this on invites:

"Please call us by Nov. 15th to let us know if you are coming or not. 555-1212 (phone)

It explains everything and even gives a date to call by. Not sure if it's proper, but I'm guessing it may work a little better than the general RSVP. Still, I think many people will still have excuses not to respond no matter direct the request is.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2006 at 12:54PM
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I've seen that to, but I was hoping for a different way to say it, you know? Anyone have anymore ideas?

    Bookmark   December 8, 2006 at 1:09PM
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I've said "Please respond with acceptances or regrets by xxxx".

Too many people just aren't clued in any more about what RSVP means - "respond if you please", literally. In other words, Respond to this invitation, please! Doesn't seem so hard, does it? But somehow lots of people just don't get it and think the "R" stands for "Regrets" ... or nothing.


    Bookmark   December 8, 2006 at 10:55PM
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The usual way I see....even though it's certainly not "correct" is simply a phone number and a note saying "Regrets only"...
Not much could be if you can't come....but that still doesn't work.
I have decided people have no manners and certainly no respect for the hosts.
My feeling about people who don't respond is that they never gave a party....and likely never will....
Linda C

    Bookmark   December 8, 2006 at 11:35PM
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If you're looking for a totally different way....One you have more control of...Why not just call with your invitation and ask if they will be coming, (I bet many will say yes right off) or tell them you will call back next Friday (or even tomorrow) so they can check their calendar to see if they can come. If they say yes, be sure to leave your number to call if something comes up and they can't make it or, you could even follow up with a "glad your coming" note with all the party specifics.

It may take a little extra time (people like to chat) but hey, if you don't do the extra note, you'll save on postage!

    Bookmark   December 9, 2006 at 10:11AM
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Of course calling with an invitation would get an answer right away, but usually I make cute invitations to match the party...I like the process of making them and handing them out; I don't like them being ignored, though!

I'm hosting a tea next Saturday. Guests were supposed to RSVP by last Friday if they'd be attending or not. I had three people tell me this morning that they didn't know if they'd make it, so plan for them anyway, and if they showed up, fine. Um, excuse me? Do people not understand that there is expense and effort involved? Preparing for three people is NOT a big deal, but it's the attitude that bothers me. If the event isn't important enough for them to plan to attend, I'm fine with that (I understand there are other events this time of year), but I don't like being told they'll be there if nothing better comes up. :( I just don't understand the rudeness of some people. I love to entertain, but I do not like being made to feel like I'm second choice.

For future occasions, I'll use the simple "Please respond with regrets or acceptances by X". Hopefully that will ease the RSVP situation some, right? Oh, who I am kidding? People are clods. ;)

    Bookmark   December 10, 2006 at 6:26PM
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Recently we had an invited dinner for 20 and sent an RSVP stamped card. 14 replied they would attend so we set tables and planned food accordingly. Two couples who had not responded showed up, one late. When I met them at the door I told them I was sorry but we had planned without them. Maybe next time. You are only a door mat if you allow.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2006 at 9:00PM
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Way to go, texasredhead! I wish I had the guts to do something like that. I think my mother would kill me if I did, though. ;)

    Bookmark   December 11, 2006 at 10:53AM
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texasredhead, you go girl!! Sounds like it was a seated dinner -- now how do you squeeze in 4 extra couples at a dinner for 14 and how do you stretch the food?? I hope these people learned their lesson and will never show up again without replying first.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2006 at 11:05AM
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Texasredhead happens to be a 65 year old man with a full head of bright red hair with no gray. I am also a certified curmudgeon.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2006 at 6:45PM
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Male or female, I applaud you for sticking to your guns. ;)

    Bookmark   December 12, 2006 at 12:36PM
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I'm not saying that texasredhead wasn't justified in what he did, especially for a seated dinner party. I can certainly see what a mess it would try to be to seat four more in the middle of the meal and try to stretch the food, especially if it were something in individual servings. And of course those guests should have responded; no question about that. They were wrong.

But I don't think I would turn them away. It's one thing to say that it would be justified by their rudeness in failing to respond (although, come on, not responding is rude and very inconsiderate, but it's not like they set my dog on fire or something, and wouldn't have been that big of a deal for me to call them if they haven't called me). But justification aside, what would be my objective?

To teach them a lesson? Wouldn't work. As I have said before, humiliating people or being rude to them in return never, never "teaches them a lesson" -- in fact, I think it makes whatever guilt they were feeling evaporate and be replaced by resentment. In this case, they might even feel set up: "She could easily have called us, but she obviously relished the idea of doing this instead. What a jerk." And how far does this go? If a guest behaves rudely during the dinner, do I kick him/her out? No napkin on the lap -- no gravy? Eating with mouth open -- no dessert? I think we tend to learn better by seeing the example of people who try to be the bigger person and act graciously even when they have an excuse not to do so. For that matter, the sight of the hosts adding chairs and stretching food, even with a minimum of fuss and assurances that it's no trouble, will be more likely to help them understand the reason it's important to respond than turning them away would.

To make myself feel better? We always feel that getting back at people will make us feel some satisfaction, but it never does.

To make my party succeed? I doubt it. I would spend the rest of the evening second-guessing myself and mentally going through the next conversation I would have with the guests I turned away. And if the other guests were aware of what had happened, I think they would feel embarrassed and upset (especially if the people turned away were their friends). If I were a guest in that position, I might be thinking I'd better watch my step, too, because if I slipped up, I might get punished in a similarly humiliating way.

I would rather that my guests -- let alone the friends that didn't respond -- think of me as hospitable enough to make someone feel welcome even if they didn't behave perfectly toward me. These are presumably my friends -- I want them to feel good, not bad, even if they did screw up.

So I think that the best course when people don't respond is to follow up with a phone call or e-mail, particularly when it is something for which you need an accurate count, like a dinner party, as opposed to an open house or something. Hosts shouldn't have to do that, it's true, but that seems to me the best path to take. Just MHO.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2006 at 1:45PM
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Of course it's better to call after the RSVP date and find out if they're attending or not. I think that's a given. We hosted our Christmas tea on Saturday. I sent invitations out weeks ago and received RSVPs from everyone except one guest. I spoke with her a week ago and asked if she would be attending. She assured me she would be there. And she did show up. However, if I hadn't spoken with her, I would've been in the same situation as texasredhead. Yes, we had more than enough food, but I would have had to rearrange the table to accomodate her, she wouldn't have a favor like the other guests, etc. It would have been obvious *no matter what* that she was not expected and would have put her in an uncomfortable position. It's a good thing I had spoken with her or I might have had to turn her away. I've decided most people simply don't understand what's involved in entertaining and so don't understand why RSVPs are important.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2006 at 11:02AM
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I agree that most people don't seem to have a clue what RSVP really means (literally, and to the host/hostess), but the idea of phoning any non-replies to determine whether they will show or not is what bugs me. It's a perfect example of people who don't "follow the rules" being extended special treatment. I like what 'texasredhed' did. lol!

Wouldn't it make more sense to phone any non-responders, let them know you didn't receive their RSVP (just in case it was lost in the mail or something!), and be clear that you are not expecting them? or, better yet, invite 'texasredhead' and have him answer the door. :)

    Bookmark   December 19, 2006 at 1:38AM
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