Are RSVPs Old-Fashioned?

I like to entertain. We have often said that our next house will be purchased with an eye toward entertaining, since our current one really lacks a good flow for it. We’ve thrown quite a few shindigs since we started living here together, and most of them have been pretty laid back affairs, so I didn’t really care if anyone told me in advance whether they were coming or not.

But then we began wedding planning, and then not long after that came baby showers and a few miscellaneous showers and parties thrown for friends. And now I’m in the throes of first birthday party planning. All three require a fair amount of RSVP action, just so the host or the couple knows how many are attending, so they can make sure there’s enough food and such. And yet, after a nearly three year span of these events, I have to wonder – are RSVPs hopelessly old fashioned?

The wedding RSVPs were fairly easy to get, actually. People are still used to letting the couple know if they’ll be there. But more informal gatherings that still need head counts? In my experience, it takes a lot of WORK to get RSVPS. And forget about just assuming the non responders won’t show – because they totally will. And it seems that I’m not the only one who has had issues, judging from this collection of responses regarding whether RSVPs are necessary.

So what’s been your experience? Are you a RSVP abider, or a shirker? Do you ask for them with your party invites? And what do you do if not many RSVP?



  1. I try to remember to RSVP, and to do so in the manner indicated on the invite (email, card, etc.). I don’t think they’re old-fashioned. That being said: if I’m sent an invite in the mail, I have to keep it in front of me to remind me about RSVPing. (Which I fully intend to do. When I get home. And see the invite.)


  2. Personally, I think it’s rude NOT to RSVP, especially when specifically asked for it. I used to be the type of person who would only respond if I was coming, until I started hosting my kid’s birthday parties. I always know I’ll have enough food on hand, it’s the treat bags that I need a confirmed guest list for.


  3. I start contacting nonRSVPers and jokingly chide them for not responding. Honestly, all they’re doing is waiting to see if something better comes up. They don’t mean to be thoughtless but they are.

    I will say that in future shindigs, I do think long and hard about whether to bother inviting people who can’t bother responding. Usually the answer is no. Then my life is easier. And I’m not exactly reticent about that fact on twitter–the optimal tool for passive aggression. 😉


  4. this is great – thanks for posting. I have to say that I am a shirker – and I am in the business of events.

    I usually tell all my brides to plan to call everyone on the list if they do not want to go with industry standards because…. guests will not RSVP!

    that being said – you should plan for a 70% guest attendance – BUT each geographical area will have it’s own unique parameters. Here the parameters include small towns or a ranch family. Both of those instances traditionally have a higher sense of loyalty which = a higher guest turnout for event.


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