ABCs of an RSVP

As a manners and etiquette instructor I get asked a lot about RSVPs and my experience with prompting replies and the all too common missed RSVP.

If you don't know, RSVP stands for Repondez S'il Vous Plait. It's French for 'respond, please.' In our modern age of entertaining an RSVP is paramout to hosting a wonderful event no matter the size or occasion.

How To Get A Quick Turn RSVP

Ask for it! With all the competition these days for venues and event vendors, it's absolutely fine to request an RSVP by a certain date. This helps vendors immensely for their planning. 

When I'm designing an event for a client, I am delighted when I have a guest count well before the event, always with a 10% wiggle room up or down.

And if you're not comfortable setting a reply deadline, be detailed in your invitation about the format of the event. When guests have a sense of the players in a party - band, food, venue, etc. - they have more empathy for the host and recognize that a timely RSVP is a gift.

Evites and Electronic Invitations

Electronic invitations are one of my absolute favorite tools for party planning! I can be as thrifty or extravagant as I want with my invitations from any number of websites. What I don't love is that even though you're making it as EASY as possible on your guests, you'll still lose some RSVPs.

However, lest we jump to conclusions, I have sadly missed my own share of electronic emails to my Bulk Email folder. Of course, I am horrified when this happens and reach out by phone to call the host and apologize for the delay in responding.

That said, be gentle with your guests who have not responded within a week of your event.

Reach out with an email, text or phone call with a friendly, "Hi! I wanted to make sure you saw my invitation to celebrate X on Y. I'm afraid it may have landed in bulk email.* I really hope you can make it!"

* Don't call it JUNK MAIL, bulk email is much nicer.

If you don't hear back immediately or after the automatic email reminder send by most electronic invitation sites, then just chalk it up to a family emergency (generous) or sloth (mean! and not like you!) and add them to your 10% buffer group. 

Formal Replies

If you're hosting an event with a paper reply card, do yourself a favor and make it worth your time to create them by getting them BACK in the mail to you. Here's how to get a reply card sent back.

  • Include Postage - be sure to use a post card stamp that is less expensive so you're not paying for your lovely stationery AND a full priced stamp.
  • Include Mailing Address (yours)
  • Make it VERY clear what you need from a guest. If name and dinner choice, use as few words as possible to get the information you'll need to send to the venue and caterer.
  • Include a deadline with day AND date. Eg: Please respond by Monday, month, date. 
  • Include your thanks!

Hostess with the Mostess

Save yourself the stress of needing to know an exact guest count by adding 10% to your orders - food, beverage, favors, valet, etc. A final count is usually required by most vendors a week or two in advance of your event. Even if you have to go over by 5 people, it's worth it to make everyone feel welcome and have enough food and dinner plates!

Repondez S'il Vous Plait

As you can see there are lots of ways to ensure that your guest count is accurate, which serves you well. Consider the RSVP your green light to planning a perfect party no matter the size!

Have questions or party planning tips to share? Let’s connect! Follow me on Pinterest and Instagram. See you there, that's my solid RSVP!

How to give and get an RSVP quickly | Party planning | event hosting | hostess | #etiquette


ABCs of an RSVP | Party Etiquette | how to give and get an RSVP | | party planning


Today is a gift. Let's put a bow on it!
Find creative and sustainable ways to make family life a delight! Sharing modern etiquette that kids will enjoy.
💕 jennifer

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