RSVP Etiquette

You've just received an invitation for an event. You're not sure you want to attend, so you toss the invitation in a pile of papers and forget about it. Weeks go by and suddenly the host is upset, wondering why you're ignoring their invite. Now you're the bad guy. Check out Modern Manners Guy's tips on how to avoid RSVP faux pas.

Richie Frieman
5-minute read
Episode #284


After writing and podcasting as Modern Manners Guy for a few years, you'd think that I was never guilty of any etiquette faux pas that I discuss.

And if you think that, you're seriously mistaken.

In fact, I often write from my own experiences, either due to my own errors or from witnessing the snafus of others.

Today's episode is no exception as it comes on the heels of a mannerly mishap. I was recently invited to a party, which I had every intention of attending. Unfortunately, I took a bit longer than I should have to send in my RSVP to the hosts. Gasp!>

If you’ve ever hosted a party, you know the feeling of having to wait for everyone to RSVP. So, before you leave the host wondering if you’ve fallen off the face of the Earth, check out my top 3 quick and dirty tips for proper RSVP etiquette:

Tip #1: It’s Always Important to the Host

In a perfect world, people would put RSVP'ing to an event at the top of their to-do lists. But let’s face it, this is rarely the case. What really happens is you get an invitation (either via email or snail mail) and although you may be excited about the event, you put off replying until a later time. And then that later becomes even later, until the next thing you know you get an email from the host inquiring whether or not you're attending. And now you look like you have zero interest, when really you were just being lazy.  Don’t roll your eyes, we are all guilty of this.

All a guest has to do is show up, but for the host, planning an event takes a huge amount of time, effort, energy, and money. 

In fact, just last month, I took my time in responding to an event invitation for an organization for which I'm a board member. Talk about embarrassing! Let me first say that I had every intention in going to this event, but (as it always does), life got in the way and I simply forgot. Thankfully, I caught my mistake in time, but if I hadn't, it would have been a major show of disrespect.

This is an example of a guest (me) not fully understanding or respecting the effort of the host. All a guest has to do is show up, but for the host, planning an event takes a huge amount of time, effort, energy, and money. All we have to do is RSVP, but while we're doing (or rather not doing) that, someone is planning, finding a venue, booking the caterers, etc. -- all things that we as invited guests likely forget to take into consideration. And to top it all off, the host's success is measured by how many people attend the event (but they won’t know that for sure because no one has RSVP’d yet!).