The title of this post at Etequette Hell says it all: If I Have To Beg You To RSVP, I Shouldn’t Have Invited You In the First Place.
There are some occasions where an RSVP may be warranted. A wedding, for example, where you’re paying $200 a plate at the reception. You’d really like not to just ball-park it.
But the harsh truth is that if you don’t know someone well enough to call or email them directly and expect a yes or no response with at most 1 follow-up contact, you can’t realistically expect that person to bother responding to your written invitation either. The fact is, they will not respond, and you can assume their response is no.
Don’t take offense. The well-mannered will know that Emily Post requires everyone to respond to every invitation with an RSVP every time, even if it’s with a “No” reply. That was before word-processors, photocopiers, when most people had to write out invitations by hand or go to a huge expense to have invitations custom printed – at a printer you had to make a special appointment with, not the HP on your desk. In that handwritten way of doing things, if someone took the trouble and bother to write out a personal invitation, it stands to reason that you ought really to take the time to at least write a note back. If someone went to all that trouble to invite you, they probably really knew you and wanted you there.
Things have changed. It takes very little effort in most instances to zip off an invitation to everyone you’ve ever had any contact with whose name is lurking in your Outlook archives. Sure your inkjet cartridges are a little pricy, and you bought a 200 pack of colorful flowery-bordered paper at Staples. But it’s not really the expense factor. It’s the time factor. You now have the power to send 200 invitations to your barbeque in about an hour. It would have taken Ms. Post a couple days, minimum. And a serious case of writer’s cramp.
Fortunately, the same technology that allows you to flood my email and snail mail boxes at will, also gives you the power to really take the time, if you’re serious about your invitation and want me to take it seriously, to call me. Or if you know me well enough to take you seriously, email me personally (not with a hundred other people in the “To:” and another hundred in the “Cc:”) and I’ll get back to you.
Really, I will.