people know when they see the letters RSVP, it means
they are being asked to respond
to an invitation,
even though we may not be able to recite the original
French phrase of "répondez s'il vous plaît" meaning, "Respond,
if you please."
Each year, and especially in June during wedding time, I get
calls asking me about what to do when people are not responding
to invitations? Regrettably my forced advice is to have someone
from the wedding party (not the bride or groom) call folks
by telephone to verify they received the invitation, and to
get their response. What else can you do with such people?
Here are some guidelines to help remind us all how to
conduct ourselves when responding to all invitations.
How soon should I respond to an invitation?
Always (historically speaking) respond to
an invitation within a week of receiving it. Nowadays we certainly
no later than the due date stated on the invitation or reply
After accepting an invitation, what if something comes up at
the last minute and I can't attend?
a no-show. Rather, call—even at the last minute—and
leave a message on voicemail. This certainly is better
than being a total no-show. Then call the next day
to speak with
the host directly, and even in some cases send a personal
note (by regular mail is best),
expressing your regret and apology—as appropriate—for
What if I know I did not respond to an invitation but realize
I want to attend at the last minute?
Never show up to a party or
event unannounced. At the point you know you can attend,
call the host saying, "I
know I didn't respond by the due date. I wasn't sure
until now I could attend. By chance is there still space
way the host is free to say, "come on," or
to tell you they are at capacity and cannot accept your
you wasting your time going to the event, be turned
away, or appearing as though you were a party crasher.
When I respond to attend
an event to which I said I would pay at the door, and
don't attend, do I still have to pay?
when withdrawing your attendance at the last minute
(generally within a week and certainly within 72 hours
event date), you are still responsible for your remittance,
Upon calling the host and leaving a message, they do
not return your call;
the host returns your call and lets you off the hook.
a third scenario, someone may call to say they do indeed
need your remittance. Given this you should be
to send in your money... That's etiquette!
BONUS TIP: It is not necessary to respond
to those public invitations requiring you to pay money to
attend. However, when someone
you know on the event committee attaches a personal note,
in this case I think it is a nice courtesy to respond.