Respondez s’il vous plaît!


Q: I recently hosted a large party and sent out my invites two weeks in advance via Facebook and Evite. I sent a reminder email a week before, so I could have an accurate head count. Less than half of the guests gave an R.S.V.P, and even many who did R.S.V.P yes, were no-shows. Likewise, some that did not R.S.V.P attended. I like to entertain on a regular basis and am very frustrated by what seems to be a trend. I would like to know, am I expecting too much from my guests? Have the rules on R.S.V.P changed? Is asking for a reply just too retro?

Regrettably Retro

Dear Regrettably Retro:

Your frustrations are well founded. Mimi believes the R.S.V.P is a lot more than just a response for a party count. It is a thank you. Thank you for inviting me and including me! Mimi appreciates the historical struggle of the R.S.V.P between hosts and guests. Failed replies have ruined parties, ended friendships, business relationships and are the cause of countless catering issues for hosts everywhere. Mimi is astounded at the present state of the R.S.V.P! Let me assure you nothing has changed, the R.S.V.P still means please reply! Whether sent by mail or email, your duty is to reply, unless of course you have received the permissible, “Regrets Only” request.

However, it might surprise you that your choice of invitation delivery is contributing to this epidemic of non-response. Our love of the convenience of technology is part of he problem. If you want people to take your event seriously, you must invite them properly. Facebook is not a proper formal invitation and will likely be ignored by any and all who see it. Evite and its online counterparts are cute and convenient alternatives for informal events such as children’s birthday parties, picnics or casual holiday fetes. These too, warrant a proper email reply, if requested. However, if it is a more formal event or one you want your invitees to take seriously and show up then you must send a written invite the old fashioned way. It is always permissible to then follow up by email to those who have failed to respond.  

Mimi thumbs-uphappy

A Facebook invite to most people is next to nothing. Hardly anyone I know R.S.V.P.’s on Facebook anymore. Evite is another thing, I’ll typically R.S.V.P. “yes”,  just in case, but due to the lack of formality surrounding the invitation, it’s hard for me to take the event seriously. I recommend Evite for small, exclusive parties with just your friends. If it’s any larger than your closest buds, then you might rethink the way you’ll send out your invitations so people will take it seriously and you can get a more accurate headcount. Giving yourself wiggle room with the catering is always a must. Always expect at least 2-5 people to show up without an R.S.V.P. It’s better to be over prepared than under prepared.

Mademoiselle silly


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