RSVP Party Etiquette

RSVP Manners and Etiquette in Tampa Florida

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Let’s talk about those four letters (RSVP) that are SO IMPORTANT when it comes to being a polite party guest!
RSVP’ing is something everyone should do once an invitation arrives, whether it’s a paper invitation or online.



Think of the host trying to figure out how much food, drinks, seating, favors, etc. he or she will need to order ahead of time. Head counts can be critical! (It’s also the thoughtful thing to do.)

How to RSVP

If you get an invitation online, your answer is usually as easy as clicking a button. If you respond “maybe,” be sure to change your response to “yes” or “no” before the party. Pay attention to the RSVP response date. No need for a follow-up e-mail as long as you are within the response deadline.

If your invite is by mail, use the phone number or e-mail provided to respond. For formal events, use the response cards that are usually enclosed in the envelope (think wedding invitations).

If an invitation says “Regrets Only” respond only if you are unable to attend.

When is it too late to RSVP?

Technically, after the party is too late! It depends on the type of event! Always try make your host’s life easier and give an answer well in advance. Most invites include a helpful deadline to respond. If there is no deadline, try let them know whether or not you can come within a week of receiving an invitation. (Make sure to check your plans carefully before giving an answer.)

What if I need to change my answer?

No worries—cancel if you MUST, but let the host know as soon as possible. No need to go into elaborate details, but do thank the host for inviting you in the first place.

If you discover that you can attend a party after you’ve said you can’t, consider the kind of party before you call or e-mail. If it’s a formal party with exact seating arrangements, and you discover you can attend at the last minute, leave well enough alone and sit this one out. If the party is less formal, ask the host whether you can still attend before just showing up.

What if I’m invited but my friend isn’t?

In short, keep the party information to yourself unless you are 100% sure your friend is also invited…and don’t ask if they’ve been invited!

What if my friend is invited but I’m not?

Try to be gracious and happy for your friend. If it seems like a glaring oversight — invite lost in the mail? e-mail acting weird? absent-minded, well-meaning host? You still have to wait until the host mentions something about the party to you, which means you may never get to address the issue. This is one of those things you might just have to let go.

Remember: there are a lot more parties in your future, anyway!

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