When you open an invitation, please RSVP !!

Julie_MI_Z5February 4, 2006

As a follow up to the post Smiles78 wrote on organizing mail, let me beg all of you to RSVP to parties!

There were 32 guests invited to the baby surprise shower on Tuesday night. Only 18 have RSVP'd (16 yes, 2 no). How many people will be there?? I did up the party favors early, and just went ahead and made 32, BUT STILL!

I'm just planning on everyone showing up (it's easier than calling the no-RSVP-ers who couldn't bother to call or email me).

Last time I had a party and had to call, I had two versions of "reasons" they didn't RSVP.

(1) I didn't RSVP because I planned to be there, and

(2) I didn't RSVP because I couldn't come.

Does that make ANY sense? LOL I could have strangled them all!

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quiltglo

It makes tons of sense and it's just people being lazy and rude.

I tried to get my friend to call everyone before her daughter's wedding since they were doing the per head cost for catering. She just wouldn't call people and ended up spending a fortune for meals not eaten.

What's even worse to me is to RSVP and then just not show up. That seems common here.

Gloria

    Bookmark   February 4, 2006 at 4:48PM
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Julie_MI_Z5

Gloria,
Good point on those catered dinners and the RSVP-Yes's that don't show up! The dinners are so expensive, then people don't attend and don't call to say their plans changed. We went through that with our wedding, 20+ years ago.

Our niece's wedding is in a couple weeks. We RSVP'd both our sons as "yes" but we think one probably won't make it home from school (he says he will, but we're doubtful). We WILL change the RSVP answer before the final date for the caterer.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2006 at 5:19PM
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steve_o

I think it's that most people don't know what RSVP means. Some think it means "don't respond if you're not coming"; others know it means "respond either way". Then there are the folks who are kinda non-committal about it and whom will go if nothing better comes up or if they're not too tired. Those are the folks who "burn my biscuits."

    Bookmark   February 4, 2006 at 7:52PM
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Kelly_68

I make a party invitation a little easier, rsvp regrets only, that way only those who aren't coming should call. It is a system that works for me.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2006 at 8:34PM
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Julie_MI_Z5

Kelly,

You're the first person I've ever heard say that "Regrets Only" worked. Usually if people aren't coming, they don't want to be bothered to call and just throw out the invitation. On the other hand, there are people who say they didn't RSVP because the invitation DIDN'T say "regrets only" so since they weren't coming they didn't call.

So I went went "RSVP" hoping EVERYONE would call. LOL I would have gone with "Please call or email me and let me know if you are coming or not" but I couldn't fit it on the invitation.

And I agree with Steve: The non-committals drive me crazy, too. I did have 2 more responses tonight, both "Maybe". Gee whiz, the shower is in 3 days!!!

    Bookmark   February 4, 2006 at 9:05PM
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joann23456

Steve, you're being nice. I doubt there are many people who don't know what RSVP means. In my experience (and I *do* call people who don't respond), it's either people being lazy or non-committal.

It may be rude right back, but if I call someone who hasn't responded and they're still non-committal, I say, "Well, it sounds like you can't come. That's too bad. Maybe next time."

    Bookmark   February 4, 2006 at 11:40PM
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Julie_MI_Z5

I say, "Well, it sounds like you can't come. That's too bad. Maybe next time."

I LOVE THIS! I should write that quote in my address book, LOL.

Fortunately this shower is an easy one (cake, punch, snacks, party favors) and I don't have to make calls (to be more accurate, I REFUSE to make calls, LOL).

What kills me the most, though, is I always make a point to RSVP right away. On the day the invitation comes, I check my calendar, RSVP, add it to my planner, and I'm done.

Julie

    Bookmark   February 5, 2006 at 6:24AM
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kittiemom

My BIL & SIL had this issue at their wedding. Several "friends" actually went to the trouble to send in their RSVP's to say they would attend. Then they just didn't show up. It ended up wasting quite a bit of her parents' money.

I think some people are actually undecided but RSVP as "yes". That way, they know that their place is reserved. These same people will take a "better" invitation if it comes along. They just don't think about the fact that the food planned for them is wasted & so is someones' money. They also don't care that this is rude. The only time I have ever not gone to an event that I had committed to via RSVP is if I was very sick. I've even known of situations in which only a husband & wife's names were on the invitation & they would put down "4" on the RSVP to include their children!

    Bookmark   February 5, 2006 at 12:06PM
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trekaren

DD's birthday parties are near Christmas, and every year, I have people wait until the night before, and then RSVP. Maybe I'm assuming, but I believe they were waiting to see if they got a better offer :-)

I always plan for the entire amount I invite, and end up with leftover goodie bags, etc.

I also have had folks show up who didn't RSVP.

This year, though, was the first time everyone who RSVP'd came, and I did not have any last minute RSVP'ers. She's eight so that is 1 out of 8 LOL - maybe I'm on a roll!!!

(I have never been a no-show when I RSVP yes. I could understand if someone was a no-show who fell ill. Anyone would be fine with that.
Other reasons though, I could not see. They forgot? They got a conflicting offer? They were stuck in traffic? Whatever the reason, my imagination only goes to reasons that would seem to mean my dinner or party was not that important to the friendship.)

    Bookmark   February 5, 2006 at 4:43PM
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quiltglo

Kid's birthday parties here are usually held places which charge per kid at the party (Rock Climbing, Swimming places, Chuck E Cheese, etc.) The cheapest of any of these places is $10 per kid. I never saw the goodie bag concept until I moved here. I'd like to see that concept croak.

I've heard mothers say that if all of their kids aren't invited they won't bother to come. I didn't quite understand how they figure it's rude for an 8 year old to invite another 8 year old, but not include the 5 and 2 year old. But that was their reasoning. Like the hostess should pay that additional cost.

I've finally settled on home parties with a theme and we only do them every three years or so. With four kids, I just can't deal with a major party all of the time, so it ends up one party a year now that my oldest is way past the party age.

When we got married I wouldn't do the per head cost catering. I finally found a deli which did a flat cost cold buffet for a certain number of guests. It was great, since we actually had 25 who RSVP'd that they would come and didn't show. Imagine if I had been having to pay $50 a head (the price here in '91). The food was really good and we got all of the extra food for later.

I don't understand why people have gotten so rude.

Gloria

    Bookmark   February 5, 2006 at 7:42PM
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wannadanc

While we agree that most of us "understand" what RSVP means, perhaps for the undereducated, we need to drop the initials and say it in English. Make it "personal". EX: Please give me a call by Wednesday the 15th. so that I will be able to include you..........or whatever works. I can see a lot of short comings in my example, but that needs to be modified for your situation and personality. The main point I am trying to make is to TRANSLATE that into action words - call/write/email .......with some mention of why.

HTH

Vicki

    Bookmark   February 6, 2006 at 8:17AM
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talley_sue_nyc

I have this fantasy of having shower, and making little individual pot pies for everyone who RVPs. Then, when the folks who didn't respond at all show up, there won't be food for them!

I'll very graciouslyand frazzledly say, "Oh, my goodness, if I'd known you were coming, I'd have made enough for you, but I just thought, of course you are such a polite person, you would have let me KNOW if you were coming!"

And then bustle around, making peanut-butter sandwiches, and reheating chinese food, and sacrificing my little pot-pie, etc.

S'pose that would teach them?

And I've gotten so that I'll cheerfully scold people who don't respond: "It's really important for you to respond, because that's the only way I'll know how many people to be prepared fr. I've been looking forward to having you there; it's actually rude to a hostess not to let her know as soon as possible."

One time a cousin called to find out if we were coming; I was mortified; I thought we'd mailed back the reply card already.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2006 at 10:19AM
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lizql

This is a vent so here goes. At least you send out invites. How far would you expect your guests to come? My inlaws live in another state roughly 150 miles away. We have never been invited to various parties, be it birthday, new job, showers, even a few weddings. I asked why we were over looked. Their reply....You live so far away. Isn't that for us to decide? Shouldn't we at least be given the chance to RSVP?

    Bookmark   February 6, 2006 at 11:13AM
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esga

I manage to be on both sides! I entertain a fair amount, and I do like to know who's coming, and I am very frustrated by all the people who just ignore even a note that says "please let me know whether you are coming so I'll have enough on hand to feed you". Yet when I get an invitation I am myself either lazy or a procrastinator. Not so much because I might get a better invitation, but because I just don't make plans much ahead. In fact, this is an area I want to address over the next year. I have been wanting to see "Capote" for over a month, but the "we'll go when we get a minute approach" hasn't worked. So a friend and I actually agreed a week in advance on when to go (friday) - we'll see if we actually manage it.

It doesn't help in your situation, but as I give parties a lot, I eventually stop inviting the ones whom I don't hear from.

Lizql, I agree with you: it would be nice of them to send you an invitation so you can know you're included in their hospitable intentions, even if you can't get there.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2006 at 12:12PM
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smiles78

I know what you mean. For our wedding we had to beg people to send it back. I bought all those stamps too.

My friend sent our her invitations and didn't put stamps or her address on the RSVP envelope. I have no idea why and haven't gotten in touch with her to ask. Although she is a little scatter brained. So I hope she isn't expecting them back in the mail.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2006 at 1:31PM
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talley_sue_nyc

smiles78, surely you can spring for the stamp? Though the address being missing may stymie some folks.

Miss Manners laments the necessity of including those little reply cards & envelopes, bcs now people think the bride is OBLIGATED to put them in, when the obligation lies w/ the person who has been invited.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2006 at 4:12PM
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wantoretire_did

I sent out invitations for a luncheon for several old HS friends, in our 50s, w/RSVP. Never received a response from one so assumed she wouldn't be there. Not only did she show up, but brought another HS friend whom she had run into at the supermarket. She was surprised that it was sit down...... Fortunately, one of the guest/friends suggested that we re-set things up for buffet. It worked, but sure left a bad taste in my mouth.

I concur with the suggestion that RSVP be put in plain English because obviously, the real meaning isn't being passed on from mother to daughter. As to waiting for a better offer, that's just plain rude.

Carol

    Bookmark   February 6, 2006 at 6:42PM
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wantoretire_did

Talley Sue - I couldn't agree more. I have my fantasies as well. I just had a conversation with a friend who is planning an adult birthday party this weekend. She said she is expecting (about) 30 people. BUT, they've had the same experience with non-responders, so usually plan on about 1/2 of the people they invite, which is what we figured in our past times of entertaining.

Miss Manners must writhe in frustration and I can't blame her!!

Carol

    Bookmark   February 6, 2006 at 8:33PM
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Julie_MI_Z5

I love the Miss Manners book! Maybe next time I send out invitations I could include a copy of the page on how to RSVP! LOL

Two people called last night to RSVP -- and one called after I was already in bed. Could they have waited any longer? THE BABY SHOWER IS TONIGHT! Thought it was funny that they asked if there was anything they could bring to help out. Do they think that *I* wait until the last minute to plan things?? I was tempted to tell them something crazy like, "Oh yes, please bring 5 pans of lasagna--3 of those need to be vegetarian--and garlic bread". ROFL

We're up to 18 yes, 2 maybe, 4 no (but 3 sent gifts), and 9 didn't RSVP. It will be interesting to see who actually shows up at 7:00!

    Bookmark   February 7, 2006 at 6:02AM
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smiles78

Well, out of the 200 invitations she sent out I doubt all of thema re going to go out and purchase their own stamp. People can't even mail it back let alone address or stamp it themselve.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2006 at 4:30PM
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talley_sue_nyc

and there are gonna be people who will think she was actually rude not to put the stamp on there. (don't they have a few at home, for paying bills or sending birthday cards? )

it's really too bad the lengths you have to go to in order to extend your hospitality. As if somehow it's a burden to be invited somewhere.

I wish your friend luck!

    Bookmark   February 8, 2006 at 5:40PM
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celiaanne

Well, I'm curious! How many actually came to the baby shower?? :)

    Bookmark   February 8, 2006 at 6:24PM
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Julie_MI_Z5

Real quick, the shower went great and the mom-to-be was surprised! I thought for sure someone would tell her. Results were as follows:

All 18 yes's showed up
Both "maybe" guests showed up
Five out of 9 no-RSVP's came.

So that's 25 out of 33--more than I expected but I was prepared!

Funny story about the reason one guest didn't RSVP but did show up. THIS is why I don't call people, LOL. I'm just not patient enough to hear the excuses.

She didn't RSVP because when she got home from vacation the first week of July, the upstairs bathroom had flooded the first floor and leaked into the basement. Honest, I'm not making this up! This is what she said... "because, you know, when things get wet you have to go through EVERYTHING and throw out the ruined things." SEVEN MONTHS LATER she still doesn't have time to make a phone call or send a quick email???? ROFL

    Bookmark   February 8, 2006 at 8:36PM
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joann23456

Julie, it sounds like the shower was a success!

And Tally Sue, I share your fantasy. I actually do a modified version of this. "Oh, how nice to see you! Let me just run and put out another place for dinner. Since you never responded to my invitation, I figured you weren't coming tonight ..."

Vicki, I do what you suggest. For many years, I've written "Please respond by Friday, June 13 to 978-555-5555 or joann@myemail.com" on my invitations. You'd think this would be enough to get people to call or email, wouldn't you?

    Bookmark   February 9, 2006 at 12:28AM
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talley_sue_nyc

maybe we should all just start writing notes to the folks who don't RSVP: "Since I haven't heard from you, I'm assuming that you won't be able to attend the shower. That's too bad; we'll miss you!"

On a postcard or something.

Though what I like most about my fantasy is that everyone ELSE will know they this person didn't RSVP.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2006 at 12:19PM
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Julie_MI_Z5

We were at our niece's wedding last weekend. Again, the RSVP problem came up!

Our son ended up not coming home from the school for the wedding, but we un-RSVP'd him before the totals were due to the caterer.

The reception had over 15% no-shows out of about 170 confirmed guests. There is no way I believe 25+ people had "emergencies" the day of the wedding and couldn't attend. WIth the high expense of catered wedding receptions, I think this is just plain rude.

Moral of the story: If you RSVP-yes and your plans change, let someone know!

Julie
Wannabe the RSVP Police

    Bookmark   February 24, 2006 at 5:47AM
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teacats

Been following this thread with great interest -- this is a special pet peeve of mine!!!

I always want to tell these incredibly selfish people who did not bother to show up for the wedding:

"PAY FOR YOUR MEALS --- AND DON'T FORGET A NICE GIFT TOO!"

What self-centered idiots to believe that the host/hostess of ANY party, event or get-together is not worth their own effort to pick up a phone, email.

And guess what??? The children of those people will have learned to act the exact same way!!!! (you really reap what you sow ...........)

    Bookmark   February 24, 2006 at 1:07PM
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Julie_MI_Z5

Teacats said,
"PAY FOR YOUR MEALS --- AND DON'T FORGET A NICE GIFT TOO!"

Funny you mention that! Since it's my husband's side of the family, I thought he might have an opinion on the wedding present. When I asked my husband how much I should write the wedding gift check for, he first tried to claim we had already given them a wedding gift (NO! That was the shower gift, I said). Then he came up with some ridiculously low amount and I said "No! That wouldn't even cover the cost of our meal". LOL

Although I think wedding costs are outrageous, I also think wedding gifts should be generous enough to cover the cost of the food we eat with a "gift" amount leftover.

I do wonder if there are people besides my husband who think a shower gift is enough to cover everything, or people who write small checks for a wedding gift without accounting for the cost of a nice dinner.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2006 at 7:12AM
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talley_sue_nyc

I know many folks who get upset at the idea that they must "pay for their meal"--they didn't get to pick the venue, etc., and don't feel they should *have* to write a check for that much money (depending where it is, and here in my IL's family, it's pretty expensive).

But I do think you should give according to your own budget, and that you should be generous. And that if you don't care enough about the bride&groom to *be* generous (at whatever dollar amount that translates to), you should stay home, and not go eat their food. And RSVP that you're not coming, of course.

I bet every bride&groom would be more than happy to buy their guests' dinner; it's just galling to throw that much money away.

We had an eighth b'day party today, and little Mark didn't come--DS was sort of upset. "His mom said, 'If he wants to, he can come' when I gave them the invitation!" He got over it, but he did keep expecting him to arrive. All through the party.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2006 at 10:36PM
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quiltglo

I don't agree with the pay for you meal with a gift concept. It's up the the bride/groom and families to decide what type of bash to have. It's just not my problem if they decide on an expensive catered affair.

Most of the events we've attended had lousy food in my opinion. I don't know why there isn't a total bridal revolt over paying these prices and getting lousy food!

A gift should be whatever you want to give the couple. And I try and turn down any invites that are only issued because of work connections, etc. If I don't know the couple getting married, I'm no longer interested in dealing with any of it.

When I married the first time, cake, coffee and punch in the church hall was the norm and we received beautiful gifts. I imagine we would have received the exact same thing if my parents had done the catered thing, except most of their friends would have thought them nuts to be spending that kind of money.

Gloria

    Bookmark   February 26, 2006 at 12:34AM
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teacats

I simply meant that folks who simply choose to NOT show up (especially if they have said that they would) really should "pay" for their meal with a decent gift! LOL! (that was meant as a "joke" ---- literally sending along a bill to the "no-shows" ---- JUST teasing --- but that behaviour is simply selfish and wrong ..... and a bill just might wake them up!)

NO -- I do believe that a guest should stick to their own budget for the cost of their gift -- whether a shower or wedding gift!!!! I do believe in checking out registries -- sometimes I literally can't decide on a gift ----- and I usually give boring useful ones LOL!!! (like towels, a good eletric blanket etc. LOL!!)

Just one quick story about "useful" gifts --- I went over and asked the young bride at her shower what she REALLY wanted ----- and she said "towels."

So I bought two complete sets (with the largest shower towels, bath towels, face and even extra face cloths); folded these into a larger Rubbermaid laundry basket; PLUS a couple of matching bath mats; added a huge bottle of Tide along with a bunch of smaller useful kitchen gadgets ........... Well --- I even got a personal call from the bride and groom ----- even the GROOM was delighted with the gift! LOL!!!

    Bookmark   February 26, 2006 at 11:20AM
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Julie_MI_Z5

I agree that gifts should fit our budget. But since we can afford to eat at restaurants, we can afford to "reimburse" the bride and groom for our dinner with enough leftover for a "gift".

Funny Update:
The bride's father was irate this week! The bride returned from her honeymoon and opened gifts... and one aunt (my wacky SIL) gave her absolutely nothing! Wouldn't be so irritating to him except he paid for the bridesmaids dresses & accessories for her 3 daughters, AND paid for the reception for her, her 5 kids, and 3 uninvited dates that her kids brought along. She can't claim poverty on this one, since she paid to fly in one of the not-invited boyfriends! LOL

Another funny story:
I've heard of people who wait and write the wedding gift check based on how much fun they have at the reception. That always made me laugh, too.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2006 at 5:48AM
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talley_sue_nyc

that dad's anger is probably more about the message that her nongift sent--that she's very willing to get, but can't be bothered to give to them--than it is about the actual cash.

Oh--not RSVPing, but inviting, and VERY "decluttering/organizing"!

I got a baby-shower invite; a cousin of ours that we're quite fond of; had him to our house lots of times as a little kid, he apt.-sat for us, etc., and his wife are expecting.

We're pleased for him, of course.

But the invite had confetti in it--staticky Mylar confetti. I'm not THAT excited about the baby--certainly not so excited that I want to pick that stuff up off the floor--I handle the mail fast, and there I was, having to put everythign down to go pick up those stupid little things.

When I'm Queen of the Universe, I'm going to outlaw them. All they do is make work.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2006 at 3:34PM
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Julie_MI_Z5

LOL... I sent my sister a card once with confetti in it... but I labeled it as such on the outside! That spoiled the surprise but made clean up easier.

Talley Sue--you saw right to the problem. The non-gifting SIL is notorious for thinking that everyone "owes" her and she has to give nothing in return.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2006 at 5:51AM
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sushinut

R.S.V.P.s are always so difficult. I doubt if anyone does not know what it means. I had my uncle and his wife come from Florida to attend my wedding in NJ and they still did not show up. I called the person throwing my husband's niece's shower (3 times) to tell them I could not attend and never once did I get a live person nor an answering machine. Later I got accused of not responding. It's ridiculous !!

I'm having my hubby's 50th party and sent out invitations. Only my parents and my aunt and uncle have bothered to RSVP. i guess I have to call people, which I hate doing. Nowadays people should know better !!!!

    Bookmark   January 27, 2008 at 4:00PM
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mommabird

Last year we invited my son's entire class to his birthday party at the city's indoor pool. We had 5 RSVPs. We bought food & gift bags for 30, afraid they might show up. 8 showed up.

Same story this year, except 11 RSVPs. Thinking we were wiser, we bought food for 15. 20 showed up. I had to leave the party & run to the nearest grocery to get more food.

Next year we'll just invite 4 or 5 close friends & forget about his classmates!

    Bookmark   February 2, 2008 at 11:08AM
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mitchdesj

"I had my uncle and his wife come from Florida to attend my wedding in NJ and they still did not show up"

sushinut, do you mean they came from FL to NJ on that date and still didn't make it to the wedding ?

    Bookmark   February 5, 2008 at 6:49AM
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asm198 - Zone 6a (MO)

One time I did RSVP yes to an invitation and ended up not going and I felt completely terrible about it, but I had a good reason.

The night before the wedding, I tripped over a pet and fell down our basement stairs. The only number I had was the bride's cell phone number, but she doesn't get service in the area where the wedding was being held. I thought about sending an email, but figured she wouldn't be checking her email on the day of her wedding.

Anyway, I felt awful about the whole thing and contacted the bride afterwards to appologize.

    Bookmark   December 26, 2008 at 3:15PM
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donnawb

My DD just had a birthday party at the beginning of the month. Invited 18 kids to the bowling alley. No RSVP's except for one that called when I must have already left for the place. 11 showed up.

Happens all the time. I am so surprised because if most call and say they can't come do and the ones that say yes don't show up. Don't get that.

    Bookmark   December 27, 2008 at 6:39PM
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maryliz

Interesting thread. I'd like to bring up a related topic. How soon before an event do you send the invitation?

I know this might be different for each type of event. (milestone birthday vs. baby shower vs. wedding) Or maybe not. That's why I'm asking what y'all think is a decent lead time for an event. And is there such a thing as "too much advance notice"? I have heard that from some. People expressing that opinion seem to think that invitees will forget all about the event, even after replying in the affirmative. How can they, if they mark their calendar? Or are they just waiting to see if they'll get a better offer? I can't imagine why it's so hard to RSVP.

That's how it seemed when I was responsible for the annual family reunion a few years back. I gave them plenty of notice of the date, then didn't get much of a response.

I had made elaborate preparations to entertain the kids with a pirate theme. I invited the kids to show up in pirate gear. I made myself a costume. And I had planned to have pirate-themed stories, coloring pages, a treasure hunt, pirate-themed games, prizes, etc.

As the time of event approached, the excuses started coming. Entire families ducked out. Some of the excuses sounded pretty lame to me. I had only an eight year old and a 14 year old show up. Oh, and a babe-in-arms. I had tried to make it an event that involved the kids for a change, but I never had a chance.

If you wait until just two weeks before the event to send out invites, of course people are going to have other plans. If you send out invites four months in advance, is that too much? I'm talking about a relatively labor-intensive event where there have to be arrangements made for food, and where some people might have to get airplane tickets in order to attend.

Any ideas or guidelines? Or is it a lost cause to expect to capture anyone's attention in our information age? Hahaha. ;-P

    Bookmark   January 6, 2009 at 1:45PM
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nancyjeanmc

I like the suggestions that spell out (figuratively) what RSVP is. Probably not good on a formal invite, but for casual ones, I think it might help.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2009 at 2:34PM
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mustangs81

In my circle of friends who were also my business collegues, we distribute a "save the date" notice about 5-6 weeks ahead of the event then the invitation with a request for RSVP is 2-3 weeks before the event.

I'm not going to comment further because I have a short fuse when it comes to the current escalation in bad behavior and bad manners.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2009 at 8:15PM
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dabnyc

I think an invite that ONLY says "RSVP" is itself a little irresponsible. Some people know this means, literally, "Regrets, if you please" -- but many/most hosts and hostesses think this means "Respond either way." So guests will take the path of least resistance: responding ONLY if they're not attending or responding ONLY if they're attending. (Or giving up in confusion.)

So relying on past conventions is confusing and clarity for today's use of language would probably help. Such as:

Please respond
212-555-5555
email@email.com

A response by August 16 is requested
123 Street St
Anywhere, NY 12345
email@email.com

Pls. respond by Sept 10
email@email.com
212-555-5555

...or something like that. I also think an entire generation (mine) has forgotten how to communicate in regular mail, so including an e-mail address these days is probably nearly a must, except for the most very formal of invitations, in which case a response card and pre-addressed stamped envelope has become de rigueur, despite what Miss Manners regrets.

I admit to being a little like Elizabeth Pinelake, above. If it's a formal or mailed invitation, I'm pretty good about responding. Nowadays, for more casual gatherings (which might still include sit-down dinners), I'm more likely to get an e-mail. If it's personally addressed to me (as in, "Dear DAB..."), I'm likely to respond. If it's a mass e-mail and I'm one of a list of people, and it says "Please respond by..." I'm likely to respond, though probably less punctually, I expect. But if it's a mass e-mail and doesn't include any kind of request for a response, I realized recently that it basically sounds like the equivalent of an open house invitation ("drop by between 2 and 6..."), in which I generally don't feel compelled to respond except possibly afterward to explain why I wasn't able to make it, if I didn't.

Bottom line: if you want responses, be clear, include the date by which you need a response, and make it as easy as possible for people to respond with the least amount of effort. I know that seems counter-intuitive, since as host or hostess you're already doing all the work so can't they make some little effort? But remember that you're not doing them a favor by inviting them; they're doing YOU "the favor of attending."

Oh, and I would never give cash or a check as a wedding gift. But that's just a cultural thing I was brought up to believe. Since moving to New York, I know that many other people were brought up to believe that cash was the MOST appropriate kind of wedding gift, so nowadays I just chalk that prejudice up to my WASP parochialism. (But I still almost never give a check as a wedding gift!)

    Bookmark   January 8, 2009 at 11:25AM
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nancyjeanmc

I was always taught it meant "répondez s'il vous plaît;" respond, if you please, or, please respond. But spelling it out would be the more practical route.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2009 at 11:52AM
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western_pa_luann

Yep - it means please respond!
Whether you are coming or not, let the host/hostess know your intent.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2009 at 12:07PM
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dabnyc

Sorry -- you're correct. RSVP does mean "respond" not "regrets." My confusion was in that RSVP stands for "responses" but then there's the other formal "Regrets only." But I consider myself reasonably acquainted with some of this (enough to broadcast my erroneous assumptions, at least!) and I always forget if RSVP is "respond" or "regrets" -- so my plea to quit using that term at all still stands. If you want responses, say so in English. "Regrets only" is probably too confusing anyway in this day and age.

(It also took me forever to figure out which is a stalactite and which a stalagmite...but that's a discussion for a different thread on a different forum on a different board!)

    Bookmark   January 8, 2009 at 12:44PM
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western_pa_luann

maybe not....

stalaCtites hang from the Ceiling
stalaGmites sit on the Ground.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2009 at 2:01PM
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nancyjeanmc

Luann...I love that!

    Bookmark   January 8, 2009 at 2:29PM
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western_pa_luann

Oh, the things you learn en route to a biology degree... LOL!

    Bookmark   January 8, 2009 at 2:52PM
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lowspark

I have trouble getting RSVPs too. I have an annual party to which I invite women only, and getting RSVPs has always been a problem. Finally a few years ago I began writing on the invitation: "Please respond either way if you wish to remain on my guest list for next year." A few people trickled off my list these last couple of years for not responding, but that's ok. To me, the fact that they don't reply means they aren't interested in attending. OK with me, just saves me an envelope & stamp!

I also hate the idea of people showing up without responding first. It's only happened to me one time, and it was for dessert (at the end of a progressive dinner). This couple showed up in the middle of the main course at someone else's house. They'd already eaten dinner it seems, so fortunately the main course hosts didn't have to feed them (there would NOT have been enough). We moved on to my house where we had build-your-own sundaes, so fortunately there was enough for all. I did wonder what I'd have done if I'd made just enough parfaits for those who were coming!!

    Bookmark   January 8, 2009 at 5:28PM
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elizabethzen

"stalaCtites hang from the Ceiling
stalaGmites sit on the Ground."

I managed to earn a Biology degree without ever learning that one - I love it and will remember it! :)

I grew up in Central California where one never went empty handed to someone's house for dinner. It was usually a bottle of wine or some favorite goodie of the hosts, which, of course, I would not expect to be served with dinner. The obligation to return the invitation was true as well. I have been very surprised to learn that hostesses in New York and elsewhere around the country would consider my impeccable manners to be rudeness! It makes me doubt myself and think back to occasions here in Florida when people may not have appreciated my "thoughtfulness" - so many of my friends and neighbors here are from the north. I'm feeling embarrassed after reading this thread :(.

People here are slow to respond to invitations - which I think is rude and inconsiderate, although I am sure they understand the meaning of RSVP. I've never had anyone respond one way and then do the other without phoning to say they have to change their plans - that's crazy.

Elizabeth

    Bookmark   January 13, 2009 at 8:03AM
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lowspark

"stalaCtites hang from the Ceiling
stalaGmites sit on the Ground."

I'm the one who would forget which word had the C and which had the G and then get them mixed up! The way I learned to remember was that stalacTITES hang TITE(TIGHT) to the ceiling so they won't fall off!

    Bookmark   January 14, 2009 at 12:43PM
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patty2430

I have a baby shower in the works, and reading all these posts is making me burn -- the shower is Sunday, and my RSVP requested a reply by last Saturday. I have 32 invitations sent out; one e-mailed me her regrets, two aunts called to say they were coming and could they bring bars and prize favors. That's it!!! I refuse to call anyone; I guess I better just assume everyone else is coming. I'd love to purchase a beautiful door prize and raffle it off -- the names in the hat would only be the people who called to say they were coming. If anyone out there thinks that's way too tacky to do, say something, because I'm just angry enough to do it!

    Bookmark   February 26, 2009 at 2:38PM
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maryliz

I feel your frustration! Why is it so hard to call or send a card or even an e-mail? Do you have to word your invitation, "If you don't reply, I won't have a place at the table for you"?

    Bookmark   February 26, 2009 at 3:05PM
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jessyf

Last October I hosted a ladies lunch (friends). I wrote 'Please RSVP by Monday Oct XX by 8:00 PM or I will be on the phone to YOU at 8:05.'

Got close to 100% responses.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2009 at 12:20AM
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ronbre

sometimes it is a matter of inconvenience, what if you were to tuck a self addressed stamped postcard in each invitation, that had a place to check if you plan to come, if you can't come and if you aren't sure..then you likely will get them all back.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2009 at 8:22PM
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cupofkindness

Now we have Sing-Up Genius and Evites... I've even received wedding invitations from Evite in addition to a paper invitation sent through the post office. I wonder if these changes, and the widespread acceptaince of email to communicate almost anything, make it easier to RSVP?

    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 9:52PM
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tripletmom83

I have to say I love it when the RSVP lists an e-mail address,especially for those parties where they are selling things. It is easier just to say sorry I can't make it without having to give a reason.
On the other hand it will do nothing for all of those folks who RSVP that they will attend and then don't show up. This happened to my husband's cousin at his daughter's wedding. His own brother and his family of four came to the ceremony, and were no-shows at the reception. They were even supposed to sit with the parents of the bride. When the host finally called his brother, he was told his kids got hungry so they went for burgers and just decided to go home afterward. The ironic thing was that the hosts had invited everyone to their hotel suite for refreshments to fill the 2 hours between ceremony and reception, where there was a full sit down dinner including appetizers. Oh yeah, and the "kids" who were too hungry to wait, they were college age.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 4:56PM
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mitchdesj

triplet mom, that's horrible, and the bride had to pay for all that family, what were they thinking ?

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 7:49PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

I hope I remember to rsvp...I rec'd an invite to a bridal shower in February...shower is in May, wedding is in July. Say what???

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 9:13PM
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