Planning a party or event takes a lot of work and it can be frustrating when you have guests that don’t RSVP. How do you handle those guests that never respond? How do you handle the guests that don’t respond and still show up?
R.S.V.P. originally comes from the French saying “répondez s’il vous plait” and means “please respond”. While seeing this on an invitation should encourage guests to respond, sometimes they forget.
Here are our best tips for handling guests that don’t respond to your party, event or wedding.
R is for Response
When sending invitations, give your guests time to respond but don’t send the invitations too early. A good rule of thumb is at least two weeks before a party but no earlier than four weeks. For a wedding, consider sending invitations between 4-6 weeks before the date. If you do want to let guests know about the event earlier than that, consider sending a “save the date” or “hold this date” card first.
Instead of using RSVP, consider writing “please reply by” or “please respond by”.
S is for Snail Mail
For children’s parties, mail the invitations or hand-deliver them to parents. Invitations handed out to other kids at school can often get lost or left in backpacks.
If having a accurate count for your event is important, consider sending printed invitations in the mail. It gives your guests something to tack on their refrigerator or bulletin board, instead of an email invitation that might get lost in their inbox.
While a pre-stamped and pre-addressed response card is appropriate for weddings, you may not want to include one for a more casual event. Just remember to have options for guests to respond, such as a phone number and an email address.
V is for Venue/Vendor Consideration
Put a Respond By date to give your guests a deadline. Give yourself time to call anyone that doesn’t respond by the deadline before you have to give a caterer or venue final numbers.
If you’re inviting a large group of people and only need an approximate number for the caterer, consider writing “regrets only”, which means you only want to hear from a guest if he or she is unable to attend.
What should you do if a guest responds late or just shows up after not responding? Tell them you will do your best to accommodate them. If it’s before the event, ask the caterer or venue if they are able to accommodate an additional guest. Typically caterers and venues have a backup plan in place in case they need to add or subtract someone at the last minute. For an informal party, prepare approximately 15-25 percent extra food in case any unexpected guests show up.
P is for Personal Call
Still have guests that haven’t responded? Give them a personal call and ask if they play to attend. Here are some examples of what to say:
“I’m calling to make sure you received the invitation to Samantha’s birthday party, I haven’t heard from you. I hope you can attend. I need to give a final number to the caterer on Tuesday, so please let me know. Thanks!”
Here are some fun ideas for RSVP cards to really get your guests’ attention … and their responses!