When I was in college (and sometimes now) and would throw an informal party, I would just make a Facebook invite and leave it at that; telling people there was going to be a party and if you show up great, if not, whatever. Your closest friends who were in on it would always come, but if that girl who was your chem partner for one lab didn’t respond or even show it was no biggie. Now that I’m no longer in college and take my party planning a little more serious, the need to have people respond to my invitations is causing me anxiety.
The concept of an RSVP is quite simple. Are you coming to my party or not? If you are, simply take the three seconds it takes to check yes and put the reply in the mail. If you are not, simply take the three seconds it takes to check no and put the reply in the mail. You have even been provided with a stamp on the return envelope! How hard can it be people?! Whether you’re coming or not, just the curtesy of letting the host know prevents unnecessary anxiety.
What guests don’t realize is the host spent time and money on the invite. The host is also spending even more time and money on the actual party. When budgeting out a party, it gets broken down by how much money per guest the host is spending. Guests need to understand that they are being treated to an evening geared for their enjoyment, so the polite thing to do would be to take the time to RSVP.
I don’t know what’s worse: those who don’t RSVP at all or those who RSVP past the RSVP date. Whenever I receive an invite to any event, I check my calendar, and if I’m free, I write it down and then send off my RSVP. If I’m not free, I send off my RSVP with deep regrets. I don’t let the invite sit on my desk until I decide that I can shift my life around. If there is a conflict and you haven’t responded to either, take two or three days to weigh your options, and then let both hosts know your intentions to attend their event or not. Don’t sit on invitations. A lot of times, hosts have reserve lists of people they would like to attend but they can’t invite them due to a tight budget. By declining the invite, it allows the host to invite other people. Sitting on an invitation is probably the rudest thing a guest can do.
So I propose we change the rules a little bit. When sending out RSVPs with the invites, we should add a penalty system for those who do not follow the elementary instructions to mail back their RSVP by the specified date. We send the offenders to RSVP Jail. It’s like a ticket or a penalty where they may lose their invite or better yet get banished from all future events that the host should throw. No one likes to be excluded from a party, but if you violate the simple rules, the simple answer is you don’t get to attend the event.
I’m currently planning a happy hour/dinner for a group of my girlfriends. It was a last minute thing, but after a day or two I finally got the intended guest list. I spent hours working on a digital invite and emailed it out to all of them. So far, only eight have RSVPed. The girls who promptly responded knew they were unable to attend and said so while giving their reason why (unnecessary but greatly appreciated). The others only RSVPed after I sent out numerous emails and texts. Those girls responded to my email or text saying they’re attending. THAT IS NOT THE SAME! Just because you verbally said you were coming doesn’t exempt you from RSVPing to the official invite. This is a group of mid20somethings living in New York City who should know the proper etiquette of RSVPs as a few of them are getting married soon. I would never wish ill will on anyone, but hopefully they will soon learn and feel the anxiety of people who don’t RSVP in a timely fashion.
If I could send all these girls to RSVP Jail, I would, but alas, there would be no party if that were the case. People always tease me for needing a specific headcount and get annoyed when I hound them for a proper response, but you know what? No one ever complains that my parties are lacking in space, food, drinks, or anything else. We need to come up with a way to teach people how to be good party guests. We’re not in college anymore people! Until guests can learn how to properly RSVP, they’re all going to RSVP Jail.
Anyone else have any ideas or solutions to the RSVP dilema?