I FIRMLY believe that to not RSVP to an event you have been specifically invited to is bad-mannered. When did it become the norm for people to “forget” Copy of Etiquette-4to respond to an invitation? It is inconsiderate but unfortunately common, for guests to not RSVP. Anyone who receives an invitation has an obligation to reply ASAP! Yet so many don’t.

Ever heard these responses when you talk to people you’ve invited to an event and they haven’t RSVP’d?

  • “You knew I was going to attend.” Now add mind reader to my resume because obviously I’m great at that!
  • “I told you I was attending when I saw you at the park the other day.” My mind is a vault and I can remember everything nothing people tell me.
  • “I forgot.” Well, maybe I’ll forget to invite you to the next shindig.
  • My favorite: “I was waiting to make sure nothing else was going on that day.” Seriously, is my event not important enough for you to attend. Why do I have to beg you or convince you to decide to come to my party versus doing something else??

My first foray into the RSVP nightmare was while I was planning my wedding. We decided to have a small wedding, especially since it would be a destination wedding. As soon as we knew the date, we let people know verbally. Then came the Save the Dates a few months before the big day. Next up, the actual invitations…standard 6-8 weeks out. We had a pretty decent idea of who would be attending and those guests were quick to RSVP. And, wait for it, we still had people that did not RSVP. Nothing, nada, zip. Come on people?! It’s a wedding, not a tailgate party. There are seating arrangements, numbers for the caterers, and wedding favors dependent on the number of attendees.

My most recent spiral down into the pits of fire…my daughter’s 3rd birthday. She is obsessed with Rapunzel. And by obsessed, I mean talks about her 24/7. We thought she would love having Rapunzel arrive to celebrate her special day. The decorations, party favors, food…easy enough. But we had to have a head count for Rapunzel.

First invite to the birthday bash.
First invite to the birthday bash.

Because her birthday is around New Year’s/Holidays, I knew I would need to send out invites before all of her school friends were gone. I gave the invites to the parents two weeks before the holiday break and even put on the invite “please RSVP by 12/26”. My thought was that parents would RSVP before the holidays. Boy was I wrong! I received TWO…yep TWO RSVPs before 12/26. Okay, okay so the 26th happens to be a day after Christmas. Families are busy, I get it. So, I thought, “I’ll send out a reminder invite.”

Reminder Invite
Reminder Invite

I threw together a reminder, gave it to the parents or sent via text and waited…and waited…and waited. Of the eight kids we invited, two responded immediately, three responded on the deadline and three never responded at all! I think my anxiety level went through the roof that week. Not only did we have a special guest attending the party, but that special guest may have arrived to an empty house. Can you imagine how disappointed our little one would have been that day?! The horror!!

Ok, so I know birthday parties and weddings are the two biggest types of events people should RSVP to no matter what. But, how about an informal gathering for an end of season sports party or teacher appreciation night or maybe even a business launch for a friend? Even though these may be informal events an RSVP is necessary to ensure the host has enough food and drink, seating, party favors, or even to reschedule the event.

RSVp Etiquette w/logo

“All well-brought up people know, as we have said, that a request is something to which a reply is expected.” (1929 edition of “Vogue’s Book of Etiquette”)

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Brandie made her way to Jacksonville via South Carolina, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania. She met her Chicago-born husband while in college at Boston University in 2000. After six years of dating, he finally proposed to her. They tied the knot in 2007 on Sanibel Island and from then on he decided to give up the cold to live in a place with sunshine and beaches. Brandie and her husband are now raising their three kiddos near St. Augustine. To help balance the insanity of everyday life, Brandie helps at her kidsโ€™ schools, manages the content on SAMB and squeezes in workouts from time to time. When Brandie isnโ€™t spending time with her family, she loves to make a trip to the spa with a good book and a glass of wine.


  1. I was with Rapunzel at your party, taking pictures ๐Ÿ™‚ Your decorations were the cutest btw! As a party planner and owner of Girly-Girl Partea’s I definitely understand the frustration of people not sending in their RSVP. We have had several parties where the moms expect (and pay for) a certain number and are disappointed when they don’t all show up. Or the opposite, when parents bring siblings (who weren’t invited) or don’t bother to let them know they’re planning to come at all. It’s not hard, and it’s the respectful thing to do when invited to a party. Thanks so much for sharing. Great read ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Awe! Thanks! You took amazing pictures btw!! Madelyn still talks about Rapunzel coming to her house and constantly asks about her coming back again next year ๐Ÿ˜‰ I agree…the sibling thing is hard too! I want to make sure everyone feels included so when someone shows up with a sibling unannounced it drives me crazy!! I bet you see the frustration a lot :-/

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