53 answers

Do People Rsvp Anymore...?

I was wondering if people rsvp for events, whether they can make it or not...? I always thought the rule was you rsvp if you can make it and you rsvp if you can't make it. We're having a birthday party for our daughter and it seems as though the no's aren't rsvping. We've only heard from those who can make it and one who could not. I'm wondering if it's a week till the party is it appropriate for us to contact them and make sure they received the invite and check to see if they can or can't make it. We kind of need to know so we know how much food to have, etc. We only invited family and a few close friends!

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

It is absolutely appropriate to call those who have not RSVP'ed, esp. since they are family/close friends.
Have a wonderful party!!

I have two children a boy who is nine and my girl is 7. I have found that the best way to get replies is give them a dead line in the invite, "Reply by June, 3rd" and a reason, "I need a head count for food". And also always include a email that they can "RSVP" to not just a phone number. We are all so busy these days that I find the best "free" time I have is not the best time to be making phone calls to my children's friends moms. So an email option is a great option. But I say go ahead and call and find out who is coming.

you would think, but in my experience, I have two nieces who are now 13 and 15 but I can remember at earlier b-day parties sometimes they would invite 7+ people and no one would come. Or same thing people would rsvp and not show or no one would rsvp and everyone would show. I just wouldn't count on the rsvp thing or be proactive and make those calls and see who is coming. It is weird.... Good luck

More Answers

Usually I put for people to RSVP by a certain date if they can attend. I have never had people call to say they are not coming, and I don't tend to call for that either, why, so you can make up some lame excuse? I think it is bad manners to come without RSVPing, but I think it is fine to simply not call if you do not plan to attend.

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In my 60-something generation, it seems most people will still let the hosts know whether or not they plan to come. From what I've been able to see of the younger crowd, though, it's common to confirm only if they want to come.

I suspect that lots of people simply don't know that R.S.V.P. is abbreviated French for Respond Please. It's one of several social conventions that is dying out. I would suggest that young people write out: "Please let us know whether or not you can come." If a new expression catches on, everybody will turn it into a new abbreviation, IMHO.

1 mom found this helpful

I have noticed a decline in RSVPs, and also more online invitations versus the traditional in-the-mail type - I don't know if the two trends are linked or not, but it seems like things have gotten less formal in general. Maybe some of the younger generation don't know what RSVP means??? My opinion is that when an accurate head-count is needed (all your listed reasons are good for why it is so helpful to know who is coming) it is fine to follow up with those you haven't heard from. In the future, a tactic you could use that I try is to put a deadline on the RSVP request, so that encourages guests to make a decision, or to at least respond with a maybe. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

It really bugs me how people don't RSVP as much anymore. I don't think it's inappropriate at all to call and ask a week before. Some people get busy and forget to respond so they might appreciate a reminder. It's not bad manners to ask and I'm sure your daughter is excited and wants to know who's going to be there.

I have noticed that most people only RSVP that they are coming and if they don't call it's a no. I just had my son's birthday party. No one showed up that didn't call. But, I only had two people from his class RSVP as no's. Eight others RSVP'ed as yeses. I think the others assume that if they don't call, its a no. Good luck!

You know it's funny you ask that. I have been saying that for a couple of years. My 2 oldest kids are 6 and 9 and have had quite a few birthday party and I have only had like 3 people ever RSVP, not counting family they always do. I never know how many people are going to be there for goody bags and stuff and it is kind of frustrating. Most of the time it's kids from school so I do not know how to contact them. Maybe I'm wrong but now I know I'm not the only one that it has happened too. I always RSVP and I feel I am the only one who does sometimes. I am glad I am not alone.

We just held a party for my 4 year old at the YMCA and they needed a head count. I sent out the invites early and didn't hear from anyone until 5 days before the party. Not everyone RSVP'd either! My friend had the same thing happen and she got stressed and called people herself. I feel she should not have had to do this but I don't know if anyone would have called her. I always try to make a specific phone call to say we will be coming or not. But, no I don't think people rsvp anymore.

This is becoming a more common issue. Our culture has become more relaxed. No longer do we call people Mr. or Mrs., Ma'm, or Sir. We send impersonal texts and emails, etc. Along with this , old-school etiquette and common courtesy have gone by the way side. The lack of people RSVPing has long been a pet peeve of mine. It is appropriate for you to call those you have not heard from. The approach you mention is great. Just a polite, "I wanted to make sure you received our invitation and can we expect you?". People should understand that you are planning for food, gift bags, etc.

No, not really. Especially for children's birthday parties. I have found this frustrating myself. When I send out invitations, I will write "please RSVP, so I can get a good idea of how much food and stuff to get". Go ahead and start making phone calls, especially if you need to know how much food and stuff you need. This will hopefully make those who haven't called feel a little stupid, being that you did write RSVP.

I think the times are changing, I was raised as were you. It is considered common courtesy to let someone who is nice enough to include you in their celebration whether or not you would be attending and how many. I am throwing a party for our middle child's double graduation, high school and college at the same time and only 2 people have responded. The invitations went out two weeks ago and the party is in 15 days. Hope people read this and remember the manners their mothers tried to instill upon them (But don't hold your breath).

I can tell you that depending on your cultural background it can play into your view on RSVP.
As for my, life gets so busy that I do not always RSVP because sometimes I don't know if I can make that date. I tell my kids to let their friends know if I have a client due around that date, or if I have a PTA event. Then we contact my "back up mom" (ok she is my best friend and we are each others back up moms. Picking up kid, and doing stuff when the other one cannot get it to work.) And I ask her if she can do the pick up drop off of the kids.

Honestly I think people are getting away from a lot of the old RSVP and other manners stuff that is out there.

That is just my .02

I'm with Jessi, I usually only RSVP if I'm coming. But I dont' think it's out of line to call to firm up the numbers! But I'm not always good about RSVPing. Usually I assume (if the hostess/host is a close friend) that they know I'm coming. I would never skip out on my best friends childs birthday party!

It is so rude not to respond in advance. RSVP means: répondez s'il vous plaît or please resond. It doesn't say only respond if you are coming or only if you are not coming. My youngest child's first birthday was such a waste of time and money. I had already had a little family party but set up another for everyone else at a place geared for parties. The only call I got was half an hour before I was leaving to say that she wasn't going to be able to come. No one else called. I had cake, balloons, etc. and NO ONE showed up. It was terribly inconsiderate. Manners never go out of style.

i am wondering the same thing. I do not think people are very good at it any more that is for sure. I do not have time to call people so I plan for what food I want and if we run out oh well. First come first serve. I also do not do much food. Just cake and a few snacks. That solves the food issue.
Good luch

From what I have found, no people don't rsvp! I always try to remember, but if you want people to remember you need to call a day or two before. People are busy and just forget, is my thought.
S. W

Definitely call them. I've had to do that for many parties with family and friends. Most often they just forget because life can be so crazy. It will put your mind at ease if you do.

Hi N.-
Yes, I would call them or email them and just be casual about it. Emailing is my first option if you have the addresses of those you need!

Unless you put regrets only, EVERYONE should call or email one way or another. I can't tell you how many baby/wedding showers, birthday parties and other stuff I have hosted and people don't RSVP. I don't care how busy you are because we are ALL busy with the various things we are doing. Think about how busy the person is who is actually hosting the party! I have found that people prefer to email their RSVP. I just recently hosted a baby shower for a friend and sent out 35 invites and I think I only had 4 phone calls, the rest were emails. Putting a reply by date is also helpful.

I read another response where they thought we were getting away from RSVPs but I certainly hope that's not the case. It's very difficult to plan for food, party favors, drinks and everything else when you don't know how many people are coming. For kids birthdays, you want to make sure each child gets the "goody bag" but who wants to have excess of that stuff? I also think if you don't know if you can make it because of scheduling (another response I read), it's OK to RSVP that you don't know for sure! Just because you don't know for sure doesn't mean you should just skip the RSVP. I would much rather someone tell me what their situation is...might come but won't be eating or planning to come, but only if I get a sitter or whatever it is! Another thing to think about is that if the party is at a location, some charge by the head and it doesn't matter if you say 20 and only 10 show up...you pay for 20! What a waste!

Bottom line...RSVP!!! It's beyond rude to think you are "too busy" to RSVP. Until you have actually planned a party and have found yourself either short on food or way too much, you don't get how important it is.

Good luck with your party! I hope you have a great time!

I'm in my early 40's and in my mother's generation RSVP was a huge thing. She must have drilled it in to my head that when you are invited to an event and the invitation states R.S.V.P. you MUST do it out of respect for the people who so kindly invited you. Obviously if an RSVP is requested they really want or need to know how many people will be attending. Personally I think it is extrememly rude if you don't RSVP when asked to whether you are going to attend or not. I have hosted several kids parties, BBQ's etc., and always ask for an RSVP so I know how much food to prepare etc. It TICKS me off when people can't take a couple of seconds from their day to let me know if they're coming. Maybe that's just me but honestly if an RSVP is requested you really should do it!

I personally RSVP only if I'm coming. I'm not sure what the "rule" is though. Now I wonder if I'm being rude by not calling if I can't make it. Enjoy the party!

Unfortunately, people don't RSVP but they should. I hold a number of events for my business and it's very frustrating not knowing who will be there. I assume the people who have RSVP'd that they will be there, will, and everyone else will not and that has actually been correct. I usually call my close friends before hand just to double check.

Hi N.,

Frustrating, isn't it? Ugh, I have experienced people just not responding either way sometimes, or saying they will be there and not even showing up. Our wedding had way less attending than we thought (thank goodness we served Hors D' Oeuvres instead of dinner and had hungry guests to make up for it, so it worked out). We even called everyone that hasn't rsvp'd...
I would call them - they should have contacted you by now.
I am going to adopt the method of omitting the address/time/date on invites and writing "details will be given to those that respond."

I am completely on the opposite side of pretty much everyone here. I really see RSVPs as pointless if you are inviting family and close friends. Don't you already know if they have something else going on? And just because they say yes doesn't mean something else won't come up. I just prepare enough food, goody bags, etc. for the people I've invited plus some extra(typically I end up having 20-30 people at these family and close friends parties). The worse thing that will happen is we have left overs, and my kids split the extra prizes. Also on all of my invitations I do list my phone number as "Questions? call: xxx xxx-xxxx". After all this is a kids party not a catered formal event. On that topic I do return reply cards for weddings especially for non-family members, since I understand that they are specifically preparing for a catering numbers (which the caterers end up overpreparing for anyway and charging for the actual number of people they count not the number of RSVPs, so again it really was pointless).

So ultimately my advice is relax a little, this is a kids party. If you stay so formal you are going to have people who don't even want to show up because they might offend you by using the wrong plastic fork to eat their cake. If it is that important to know who will be coming or not, don't be so impersonal by sending invitations, actually call or go see each person then you will have your answer immediately.

We just had a party, and several adults and children didn't attend who had rsvp'd yes! I was a bit frustrated because I was up very late the night before baking extra to make sure there would be enough desserts for everyone. Plus we bought way more party favors than we needed. Not a huge deal, but it definitely was a bit frustrating. I did send out an email (the original invite was by email) about 4 days before the party asking people to rsvp (either yes or no) if they hadn't already. I found that pretty much everyone who was going to come had already said yes - only the no's hadn't responded.

I don't know know about what is technically appropriate, but if it's close friends and family - surely they wouldn't be offended if you called to check in? Just let them know that you want to make sure to have enough food for everyone.

I have found in my experience that only "yes" people rsvp. I typically get enough food, etc., for the yes people, plus three to five more, depending on the size of the event. Occasionally people will call me the day before asking if there's still room, and I can accommodate them. It's frustrating to not know for sure, but that's the way things go these days, I guess.

- R.

I RSVP for yes. I do not always RSVP for no (though I will on evites)

I don't quite understand etiquette. It's bad etiquette (whatever that is) to NOT tell someone you won't be at their party, even if you don't know them and didn't ask to be invited in the first place. But it is not bad etiquette to put this imposition on someone else by inviting them to your party.

As far as I'm concerned, Etiquette says to RSVP if you're coming, and toss the invite if you're not.

This is definitely one of my peeves... It's just common courtesy to respond whether you can make it, can't go, or don't know. It lets the host/hostess know that you got the invite, care about their feelings, and gave them a few seconds of your time at the very least. The worst is when people say they will come and then either call as the party is starting to cancel or just don't show up. I know things come up, but I have one "friend" who has done this repeatedly and it's so completely rude. I would never do that to someone, especially someone I cared about. I think it's totally acceptable to call the invitees a week beforehand to get an idea of how many people are coming. You shouldn't have to do this, but unfortunately people's lives move so fast now that they don't consider courtesy a good use of their time. However, people who would like to host a party for their friends shouldn't have to prepare for an unknown number of guests either.

N., Yes, people should still RSVP! It is very important. Unfortunetly nobody seems to do it anymore!

I myself only rsvp when Im coming, not when I cant. When I send out invites that its crucial to know how many people are coming, I put a date they have to rsvp by and put somthing like (food limited, seating limited...) or something to that affect. When I do this people actually call before the date I give to rsvp by. :) THey think they HAVE to call early as to get a seat; its not lieing, its talking directly to people that dont rsvp when they plan on showing; like my family knows we're usually late to everything so now they will tell us the time of an event an hour ahead so we make it on time :)

Have fun at the B-day party!

For the past 4 years, and 2 children we hardly ever get rsvp's for their birthday parties. They just show up or don't unfortunately.

They dont it is nuts..I had a baby shower and two people RSVP'd. then one cancelled after the party started but like fifteen people showed up. I had no clue how many to buy food for and what to expect for the games..I was mad. So then I told my girlfriend I would throw her a baby shower and it ended up the only time we both could do it was like a week before I was due. So i told people they had to RSVP by May 25th...I have heard from one person. she ended up calling the rest and six more said they were going to make it but i doubt that will be the case. I had to put the notice date though because i am trying to be induce on the 6th and if this happens the party will be moved...I guess they will be SOL if they show up on the seventh at my house and they find my DH and boys here and me in the hospital or even better like the inlaws with the boys here...oh well...it is just rude though....

I was just lying in bed this morning and wondering the exact same thing. My daughter's party is in nine days. Everyone should have gotten the invites three days ago. I have only heard from one parent so far.
I am hoping next week I start hearing from people.
I was always taught to reply when you get an invitation. I was always taught to send a thank you note when you get a gift, too and people don't seem to do that anymore either.

I agree -- rsvp is french for "please respond," not "respond only if you are coming." But people seem to only respond yes, and not no, these days.

Since it is mainly close family, I would definitely call everyone and ask, and just say -- you want to make sure you have enough food etc and since you hadn't heard from them, you wanted to confirm whether they were coming.

For my son's bday party, out of 20 invites we had about 16 "yes" responses and never heard from the other four. I made goody bags for the 16 people who had responded and just figured that if someone showed up who hadn't responded, they wouldn't get a goody bag (although we had plenty of cake, anyway). But no one showed who hadn't responded.

Its rude, i get married in little over 2 weeks and am still waiting for more that half of my RSPV's to be returned. i even put rsvp cards with stamped addressed envelopes in with my invites and still people havent responded am shocked by the whole thing.

sorry for my little rant

No. I had a party for my son a few years ago but, because he wanted to go "Someplace" for his party I had to limit the number of friends. He could invite 1 friend from school. A week before the party I hadn't heard anything, I called. 2 Days before the party, I called and left another message. Child said they were coming. They didn't come.
People are rude and don't understand that they are hurting the children more than anything.
Call them, tell them what the deal is and straight out ask if they are coming. When they answer, thank them.

Call them! Always appropriate to call if you need to know.

I'm an independent rep for sensaria and, although it is way different than a birthday party, the concept is the same...nobody every seems to call anymore. You are lucky if a handfull call you back. A good way to do it would be to give a call and say "hi carol, this is N.. I'm just wondering if you got the invitation to johnny's birthday party. Johnny is really excited to see you at his party. I am also getting ready to order the food for the party and need an idea of how many will attend. Do you think you can make it?" That way you are showing genuine interest in seeing them and telling them how much (your son) is excited to see them, but also getting the information you need. When I do parties, I always call three times. A can you come call, and a couple of reminder (don't forget) calls. I realize that a business is a lot different, so you won't really need 3 calls, but don't feel bad about calling. Most ppl think something like "i'd love to go" but can't seem to find the time to call and tell you they plan on coming, and others think...there's no way i could make it, so if i don't call, they will know not to expect me. There is so much instant access to stuff right now due to cell phones, instant messenger, etc. that i think people just forget about "common courtesy" things like that...or at least what we were taught was common courtesy.


I'm almost 30 and was taught to RSVP either way. Many of my generation don't however because manners just aren't what they used to be anymore.

If it were me I'd be calling the people that you haven't heard from yet to find out.

Hope this helps,

Yup you'll have to call. My kids go crazy right before an event because they don't have any RSVP's and they always do it right away. Many of the people who don't rsvp ask for it on THEIR parties!

Hey N.! I'm with ya! I always rsvp and wish people would do the same. I had this problem a month ago or so, and I ended up e-mailing people saying I needed to know either way so I knew how much food to buy. Then I had to call the people who didn't respond to that! I try and make the effort to rsvp, and do the whole thank you letters for nice things people do, and just hope those people will get it one day!

Hi N.,
Because no one was responding to my RSVP requests for our kid's parties, I changed it to say "only RSVP if you can't make it"...It worked. It's safe to assume then that the others will be there.

Have a great day! :)

I am having the same problem with friends who do not RSVP to my invites. it makes party planning and food prep very challenging. I started putting a please reqt to my invite to rsvp so I know how much snacks to have on hand. Society in general has sadly gotten away from this curtousy. Good luck.


Oh, I wish they would, but it seems like lately people don't know how to correspond unless they can type it up and hit "send".

I think it's totally fine to call people and ask if they are coming one week in advance. With two kiddos, you need lots of time to make sure you have everything in order.

Have fun with your daughter's first birthday!!

I have had mixed results with the whole RSVP thing. I always try to respond either way, for some reason I feel more inclined to respond if I'm NOT coming, because I know how annoying it is to try to plan food and favors and all that when you don't know. Sometimes it seems like people are very good about responding, and other times, not. It is aggravating. I think you would be fine to call people and ask, especially since you said you invited only family and close friends. Maybe that's why they haven't responded. I have certain family members, who it just doesn't occur to that such a thing would be important. =) Have a great party!

For some odd reason, parents dont RSVP anymore. Strange because I always do, since I know the frustrations of planning a kids party specifically and your trying to figure out how many goodie bags to put together or how much this or that to buy so you dont over purchase and can accommodate everyone. I know my cousin gave her daughter a 8th bday party and invited the girls in her class and only 3 girls actually RSVP'd and 12 showed up! I couldnt imagine sending my kids to a party where I didnt say I was coming to especially if its not family. But I think some parents are leary about calling other parents theyve never met but I figure if you going to send your kid to their home the least you could do is meet or call the parents. Now as for adult parties not as much, but its still the proper thing to do. So as for family yes Id call them to see whats the deal and if they're close friends I'd call them too especially if its getting closer to your party date and just ask if they got the invite just to ensure it wasnt "lost in the mail" and if they say yes usually you'll get your answer without specifically having to ask them are you coming and you wont feel like your begging them to come but just inquiring about the invite itself. good luck!

I have two children a boy who is nine and my girl is 7. I have found that the best way to get replies is give them a dead line in the invite, "Reply by June, 3rd" and a reason, "I need a head count for food". And also always include a email that they can "RSVP" to not just a phone number. We are all so busy these days that I find the best "free" time I have is not the best time to be making phone calls to my children's friends moms. So an email option is a great option. But I say go ahead and call and find out who is coming.

you would think, but in my experience, I have two nieces who are now 13 and 15 but I can remember at earlier b-day parties sometimes they would invite 7+ people and no one would come. Or same thing people would rsvp and not show or no one would rsvp and everyone would show. I just wouldn't count on the rsvp thing or be proactive and make those calls and see who is coming. It is weird.... Good luck

I read most, but not all of the responses, so maybe someone already wrote about this aspect...

What about the birthday child's feelings? When it is my daughters' birthday, they are SO excited that their friends are coming to celebrate and play - They always likes to be updated on who can come, etc. The invited children's parents need to remember it's for the kids and to be more considerate in RSVP-ing. Good manners are an important life-skill that we must model.

I see you've received several responses, and yes I've had the same problem. I have two further suggestions. Put a respond by date such as "Please respond by June 1" If they see a deadline then maybe they will make a point to check their calendar and respond. If you use email a lot, I would also put your email down. I know sometimes I can't remember to call at a time that would be appropriate (i.e. I only remember late at night which is when I tend to do my paperwork, go through mail, etc), but I could definitely send off an email at that time. But I agree not to feel bad about calling--and I agree it is totally bad manners! BTW, traditionally RSVP means everyone is supposed to respond either way and "Regrets only" means to respond only if you can't come.

You are so right!
No - they do not in my experience.
Someone brought up that some people may not even know what it means.
RSVP is French for - respond you(in the formal vous) if you please
"Répondez s'il vous plaît", a French phrase that translates to "reply, if you please". It is with this meaning that invitation cards and similar documents are often marked with "R.S.V.P."


It's frustrating, I know, and the answer is some people do and some people don't. I don't think I've ever had a completely accurate count, but I do get my best results by just calling.

With today's busy lives, sometimes especially weekend events can get forgotten. Rather than call a week in advance, I usually wait until I absolutely have to get the most "numbers sensitive" stuff ready (goody bags, food purchase, or if there's going to be a craft or other item that requires one per attendee). Often those things can or need to wait until just before the party anyway, so I call everyone who was invited and did NOT respond to remind them and ask if they are coming.

I'm on my third daughter, she's 9, and we just had a fabulous "Hollywood" themed party after we took a trip with her grandparents to LA for a week. It involved several numbers specific things--like we did handprints in concrete stepping stones for the kids--that required some setup and planning.

We did have one birthday party with my eldest daughter (our first non-family party with her) where only one invited guest showed up, and it was devastating to her, so after that I make SURE!

I call a few days ahead of time. Get a list going of who said what. Then plan for 4-5 more than said yes, since sometimes you just miss signals (and with children's parties, sometimes there are younger siblings who come with parents to drop off/pick up--extra goody bags are appreciated and helpful).

Anyway, remember to relax a little and enjoy your party, too!

Happy Birthing Day, Mama!

There's a cool site called Zokos.com that has an interesting approach at encouraging people to RSVP. It works like Kickstarter but instead of a minimum amount of money the party ONLY happens if it reaches the minimum number of guests set by the host. The host also sets a maximum number of guests to encourage people to RSVP so they don't miss out before the party fills up. It makes things feel more collaborative and takes some of the burden off the host. Hope that helps!

It is absolutely appropriate to call those who have not RSVP'ed, esp. since they are family/close friends.
Have a wonderful party!!


I recently had a birthday party for my daughter a couple of weeks and ran into the same situation. About half of the invites didn't respond and I had a week to go for the party. I went a head and contacted the parents by putting a letter in each childs school folder for them to PLEASE contact me either way...yes or no if they were coming. I finally heard back on 4 out of 8 if they were coming.

I planned on having more party bags just incase more children showed up and sure enough, I had some that showed up without RSVPing.

I don't know what the deal is with people these days. I think it's so rude that people don't take the time to rsvping. The way I feel is that if your child is invited to any event that it's the right thing to do even if he or she can't attend.

One other thing...I think thank you card is also important. I'm finding a lot lately that some parents don't even do that...and that's also very rude. I had my daughter sign all of her cards and she's only 4 and is still learning how to write here name. It's the right thing to do.

I hope this helps:)

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