Why You Should RSVP

Do you RSVP?  Maybe you heard about the story of the parents who were billed for a portion of a party because they failed to attend a party?  Apparently they sent an RSVP stating they would attend; however, they didn’t show up.  But they failed to contact the hosting parents to let them know of their change of plans.  Since the host parents paid for accommodations for their child, they wanted to be reimbursed for the expense. So they sent the parents a bill and threaten to take them to small claims court if they didn’t pay up. You can read the details here.

I laughed when I read the story.  Because I remembered all the times that I sent invitations and asked guests to RSVP.  And they never bothered to  respond one way or the other.  I have never thought about sending a bill to those who did RSVP, but never showed up.  I most admit, I like the thought.

When I send out an invitation for an informal or formal event, I ask guests to RSVP.  For example, if it’s an informal events I always ask the guests to call me. I give a date that they must call by and my phone number.  Additionally, I expect them to call and say yes they are coming or no they are not coming.

I ask for the RSVP to be mailed to me when I send out a formal invitation.  Furthermore, I include the RSVP card and a stamped return envelop.

I ask guests to RSVP because I need to know how much food to prepare, how much liquor to purchase, or how many party favors to purchase. To me it’s just disrespectful when a guest does neither. RSVP means respond/reply please. I never do Regrets Only, I want to hear yes or no from the invited guests.  I’m not unique, other people who are hosting parties expect the same.

I hosted my grandchildren’s birthday several years ago. It was a huge backyard event with clowns, magicians, a bounce house and everything else that goes along with a carnival themed party. I had 10 people show up with their children and they never bothered to RSVP.

Needless to say, I had not planned for 20 extra people. One of the guests had 5 children. It left me scrambling. I had to purchase and cook more food, put more party favor bags together and accommodate more children and parents. I should have billed the parents for the stress alone. That would teach them the meaning of RSVP.

Proper etiquette requires those who receive an invitation to not ignore it. It is not up to the host to call you to find out if you’re coming or not. If they thought enough of you to send an invitation, you should think enough of them to respond one way or the other.

For those who RSVP and don’t show up, you have cost the host money.  Because they have included you and/or your children in the food, beverage and party favor count.  The cost is even more profound for weddings and other formal events. Those events normally require a cater who charge by the plate.  Additionally, if alcohol is involved it’s per bottle and bartenders must be paid.  

Finally, now that you know the meaning and importance of RSVP, please respond.  In conclusion, you may find that family, friends, co-workers and neighbors are leaving you and your family off the party list. Better yet, you may find an invoice in your mailbox if you end up being a no show.



  1. An insightful post I must say. In India RSVP concept was always confined to high society. Majority of the population doesn't even know what is RSVP. Now, with globalaisation and increase in Non Resident Indians, this concept is slowly spreading to middle class too. After reading this, I am more conscious to respond to RSVP even if it mentioned or not on the invitation card. What you said defintely makes sense. Why make some one lose their time and money because of me? Thanks Rhonda for the post.

  2. I saw that story on the news. I completely agree that people with manners will RSVP but I would never be so tacky as to bill the parents for their child not showing. People really are rude and inconsiderate and that is sad but sending a bill just makes the situation worse — especially for all of the children involved. I had a friend who threatened to do the same thing for people who didn't come to her wedding and who had RSVP'd that they would!

    • Yes, people are so rude and inconsiderate these days. It's amazing the number of people who lack manners and think nothing of it. I would never be bold enough to send a bill to an invited guest, but I'm loving the thought, lol. Tacky on both sides in my opinion. I would say lesson learned for the guests who didn't show up and for the host parents let it go and just remove them from the invite list, which will probably be the end result anyway. 

  3. Love this post. RSVPing is definitely a lost art. I got married last year and I tell you, chasing down the guest list was a absolute nightmare. Not only were there folks that RSVPd but didn't show up, there were people that actually requested to come and then failed to show up. So frustrating. People don't realize how much effort (and MONEY!) goes into planning these events.

    • Hi Britney.  Chasing the guest seems to be the host's job these days. You're right, people spend months and money planning events and nobody gives that part of the event a second thought. I'm sure I stepped on some toes with this post, but people need to understand RSVP. Thanks for stopping by. 

  4. Hi Pinky.  I know what you mean about people not responding to the RSVP, and I felt the mother's pain and frustration in the article where she sent the bill. I don't think I would be bold enough to sent an invoice, but I am bold enough to not invite you the next time around. Hopefully parents and guests will get the message from this post. 

  5. Thank you sooo much for this post! I always add my phone number and email to invitations for my daughter's birthday party. Maybe 1 out of 10 call and let me know they are coming. It drives me insane. Either I buy too much and waste money or I don't have enough and have to figure out how to accommodate for the extra kiddos. I'm glad to know I'm not the only mother that expects answers to RSVPs