Easy Party Planning: “R” is for RSVP

by Melissa

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What does RSVP mean anyway? RSVP is a french phrase– “répondez, s’il vous plaît,” which means “please reply.”

Are RSVPs for parties always needed? Today we are going to tell you when you’ll want RSVPs from your guests.


When is an RSVP needed?

1. When you are reserving a 3rd-party venue for your event. You won’t want to reserve a space too large or small. Getting an accurate guest count will help you know which size if just right.

2. When you are having a formal dinner. How embarrassing would it be to have a guest show up and not have a place setting for them at the table. Sure, you could shift things around and make it work, but it will be much easier to know ahead of time how many guests you are having.

3. When any party entertainment requires transportation. If you are throwing a kids-party and you’re taking them to the nearest bowling alley, you’ll want to know how many kids are coming so you have rides for everyone.

When to not worry about an RSVP?

1. When you are serving food buffet style. Just make sure you have a good estimate of how many guests you’ll have and plan food amounts accordingly.

2. If the event is an open-house. Requiring guests to RSVP to an open-house is not necessary. Your event is an open-house for a reason–meaning that guests can come and go as they please.


How should you collect RSVPs?

-Ask for an RSVP on the invitation. Give the guests a certain date to RSVP by. We like to ask for RSVPs 2 days earlier than we’d actually like because it’s likely that they will forget to RSVP by the specific date anyway.

-If you haven’t heard back from guests, feel free to contact them. A tactful way of asking them is saying something like this, “Hello…., I’m just making a few arrangements for the party on (date) and was wondering if you are going to be able to make it?”

-You can also ask for regrets only. That means that you only want the guests to RSVP if they cannot make it. The only problem with this is that if guests forget to call and say they can’t make it, you’ll assume they are coming. It’s better to overestimate than underestimate, but the closer you are to your actual guest count, the better off you’ll be.

Make it easy for your guest to RSVP. Let them send a text, email, or respond via Facebook.

**Print off your own RSVP list (as shown above) to keep things organized for your party.

RSVP Etiquette 

It sounds like many of our readers have a hard time collecting RSVPs for parties, which is a big pet peeve. Remember to always RSVP to a party. It will save the host and planner a lot of stress! Plus, RSVPing will only make the party that much better to attend.


To get an extra point towards your grade, tell us what your favorite way to RSVP to a party is (i.e. text, phone call, email, etc).

*Images styled and photographed by Marcelle Calder Photography

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Jana Weaver April 14, 2014 - 4:45 pm

Most days, I prefer to just quickly text or e-mail, especially for wedding showers. But, I get frustrated because it seems whenever I have a party and ask for RSVP or RSVP regrets it doesn’t work out. No one responds.

Emily April 14, 2014 - 6:57 pm

I am with Jana~ The easiest way for me to respond is by text or email. I can send something quickly and don’t have to worry about being on the phone for a while. But, nothing is more frustrating then planning an event and have no one RSVP!

Liv April 15, 2014 - 2:01 am

I love this info because people not completing an RSVP (whether by returning a card, sending a text/email or responding to an e-vite) is a huge pet peeve of mine. It’s stressful planning food and a venue when you have no idea who’s coming!

These days I usually follow up to the initial mailed invite with a text message or FB message asking for a response. It takes a little extra effort, but saves me an anxiety attack 🙂


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