R.S.V.P. No Shows, No Calls

by Dennis F. Hargitt
(Conroe, Texas)

Dear Miss Manners:

This last Sunday was my first piano recitial with a invitation to my guest to my home for a after party, catered event.

The one bothersome issue I am having difficulty getting over are the individuals who confirm they will attend and then don't show, call or inform of there no show, especially when you go to so much work to preparing a special catered event. A simple telephone call would have been exceptable.

One of my dear friends whom I worked with called me the morning of the event and apologized that she had come down ill and was not going to be able to attend; I accept that, and these things happen. But those who simply dismiss and don't even acknowledge the fact they had accepted attendance and do not call really puzzles me. It is very dishearting and hurts to know that they have no respect for anothers efforts or feelings.

I would like to know the best way to respond appropriately when they bring up there excuse for not attending nor calling. Is this standard protocol and gives free rein to the individual not to call either way?

I'm very puzzled by this and am working to sort out the ill feels of disrespect people place on one another.


D. F. Hargitt
Conroe, Texas

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Aug 06, 2016
Increasingly rude people the norm NEW
by: Kate

I'm in my early 40s, and my husband and I stopped throwing any sort of larger parties due to no-show/rude guests. We now have small get-together's with 6-8 people tops (are far more fun anyway!) We've cut every single serial non-rsvp'er and no-shower from our friend's list--and are much happier as a result. Life is too short to waste time chasing ingrates and selfish twits. You have a duty as host to make people welcome, make great food, start conversation, etc. guests also have a duty to be punctual, gracious in accepting or declining an invitation, and never cancel last-minute unless there is serious or chronic illness issues. I come from a culture and family that takes caring for guests, and being a guest, very seriously. Sad when people can't be respectful, kind to each-other.

Jun 01, 2016
by: Anonymous

My son is getting married in three weeks and is meeting with the caterer today. I have four nephews that received invitations and only one sent the RSVP back saying he was not attending. My son insisted on calling them to get a response. He called and left a voicemail but no return call. Two of my 50-year-old nephew's had their mother text him saying "The BOYS are not coming!" The third nephew we never heard from. How rude and immature for grown men not to send back a stamped self-addressed response card. What is happening to the younger generation and ediquette?!!!!?!

Jan 13, 2016
RSVP'd and no showed NEW
by: Anonymous

A husband and wife were invited to a New Years Day, bring a dish for the table, BYOB party. They responded they were definitely coming and would definitely bring something. There were just a few of us. This was the first time I ever asked guests to bring something for the table, appetizer, side, whatever. Breakfast, Bloody Mary's, mimosa's, champaign for breakfast was supplied by me, and for the later group pulled pork and sides. I actually got the idea from another friend who requested to bring a dish and thought it a great idea because this particular couple won't step foot in your door without something in hand. Tick tock, the hours go by and a guest texts and asks them when they are coming because we are waiting on them to put the food out. They tell him they aren't. They never reached out to my husband or I, not even with a text, saying they couldn't make it.

(Funny her son showed up in the morning for breakfast, and returned with a date in the evening.)

I then texted them for confirmation they weren't coming, and she said no. They had two busy work days and are tired.

Don't they realize the money invested to have enough for everyone? I was counting on her. I had to quickly rethink the menu for other side options. My husband and I are infuriated and will no longer invite them.

I find this very rude and insensitive. Why would anyone intentionally do this? Aren't they aware they are insulting the other party? Is this acceptable procedure not to respond? I'm heartbroken.

Please help me understand this.

Dec 19, 2015
by: Two Extremely Happy People

We recently were married in what many attendees state was the most beautiful wedding they had ever attended. Our Rabbi and Cantor went out of their way to honor our wishes for a traditional service.

The most hurtful part of the evening were the so call friends who did not RSVP or those who did and failed to attend. Several no-shows attempted to justify their non-attendance with excuses that totally insulted our intelligence. Last minute sickness, work schedules, car issues, etc. We easily knew these people were not telling the truth because of the stuttering delivery of their excuses. One out of town person stated she would be on vacation, yet we were told by one of her neighbors they saw her at the grocery store the same evening of the wedding. Each to his own, but I would not be one to choose a grocery store for a vacation.

You do not have to be too intelligent to catch people contradicting themselves with their excuses - "I am going to be in Florida" yet this person is seen on two different days the weekend of the wedding. When questioned she states the doctor told her to "lay low" that weekend. Her contradictions have made a total fool out of her in front of many people and does not even realize it.

One friend who drove 12 hours with her family to be here stated on Facebook that she was on the way to attend the wedding. Three people in Harrisburg, PA who did not have the courtesy to RSVP actually responded telling her to give us their best wishes. Social media is not the appropriate forum to send best wishes to long-time friends. We are extremely hurt by their behavior as we have celebrated many holidays, tragedies, and live cycle events together and this is how they behave.

Not responding to a RSVP is rude and shows a total lack of regard and respect to the person(s) sending the invitation. In most cases, you receive invitations from people who value your friendship and not from strangers. Not responding, or making lame, non-believable excuses, reflects poorly on you.

Jan 09, 2015
Has the whole thing gotten out of hand? NEW
by: Anonymous

It just occurs to me after reading this, and after decades of weddings and other parties, some of which I planned and some of which I attended, that the amount of money paid out per person/plate for these events has gotten way out of hand. $100 per plate? Seriously? The old adage comes to mind: "If you have to look at the price tag, you can't afford it." In other words, if having no-shows and/or extra people for an event is going to be a big thing, then maybe one should scale down the scope of the venue and return to earlier times when things were so much simpler.. and less expensive. My daughter was a bridesmaid numerous times and the nicest/prettiest/most meaningful wedding she was in was also the simplest. And her own wedding was the same. Everyone enjoyed themselves and nobody got upset over these kinds of incidents. I know the whole "wedding industry" has a lot to do with couples wanting to have "the best," but maybe they should step back and think the whole thing through more thoroughly before making their plans. For whatever it might be worth...

Apr 14, 2014
RSVP, No shows, No Calls NEW
by: Anonymous

What a bunch of cretins. If you can't say "yes or no" definitively you shouldn't be invited. So say no. Waiting for a better invitation? Really? The best response I ever saw was when a friend had a wedding planner at her venue turn away people who showed up without an RSVP. "I'm sorry, but we don't seem to have you on our guest list." The same happened with people who responded but had the audacity to add guests not included on their invitation. "I'm sorry, but our guest list indicates Mr. & Mrs. Whatever, but not 5 children. This is an adult event. My assistant will work with the hotel to find childcare for this evening if you like." No shows who didn't bother to follow up on why they didn't attend (before or after)received personal notes from the couple, along the lines of looking forward to sharing their celebration and disappointed at having missed them. These were not minor/or business aquaintances or random guests of their parents. The couple has declined every invitation from these people since and issued none. At $100 a plate I do not see this reaction as unreasonable.

Mar 22, 2014
Dump Rude People Now NEW
by: Anonymous

Anyone who does not respond to an invitation (either printed and/or verbal)is rude beyond measure. If an individual fails to RSVP in a timely fashion, I simply drop that person from any future invitation list. It is always my choice to invite someone to a function I am hosting. You should never waste your time (or money) on rude people.

Jan 28, 2014
No Shows NEW
by: Anonymous

I completely understand!! I had a wedding 2 years ago. I sent Evites. All they had to do was CLICK yes or no on their computer! Over 30 people said they were coming and then didn't. When I came down that aisle and saw all those empty tables with those expensive rented table cloths, I almost cried then and there! I am sad to say I am still holding grudges. Some did have excuses. The best was the friend who fell down the stairs face first. The worse was, " Oh I don't know, my husband was on the couch watching football and ..you know.." AGGGHHHH!!!

Aug 12, 2013
So Guilty NEW
by: Plain Jane

Hi there,

I feel for you because you are clearly struggling with your potential hosts feelings, rather than just waiting to see if anything better comes up, which I suspect may often be the case.

If there is a written reply form there will often be an option that allows you simply to decline with regret.

If the invitation is formal, you can send a short note or email thanking the would be host for their very kind invitation, saying you must decline with regret and that you hope they will have a wonderful time.

The informal version would be to say, "Thanks so much for thinking of me, but unfortunately I won't be able to make it. Have a great time."

A polite host would not enquire further.

Dec 13, 2012
by: Anonymous

Once you invite some one to some thing / any thing, you should not expect that person to reply / respond. It is up to that person to decide to or not to attend. You may request a response / reply; but, should not expect one, and that person should not have to do that.

Jun 19, 2012
Frustrating NEW
by: Katie

I completely understand the frustration of those who do not get replies to their parties. I have been planning my Parents' 50th Anniversary Party since the Fall of 2011 for the June 2012 anniversary party. I sent preprinted invitations 2 months in advance with reply cards with postage. Like others mentioned, I never received responses by the due date (so that I can give a head count to reception hall). Some people I never heard from. I followed up with leaving telephone messages. Still no response from these people. This is an adult event and the invitations were sent to Mr. & Mrs. Smith or to Ms. Jones & Guest. But for some reason one of the couples emailed me (rather than sending the reply card) to inform me they are bringing their 6 children all under the age of 8 and that their total would be 8 people. They never sent the reply card to me. They also asked me if I could suggest some hotels in the area. So, I spent about 1 day searching the internet and typing up a long document with hotel contact info. descriptions of the hotels and a section for each hotel as to my personal comments/opinions on the hotels and emailed the info. to them. When the due date for the reply cards was here, I never received their reply card for 8. So, I emailed them 3 times over a course of a week, because the reception hall needed the definite head count. As they days passed with no response, I assumed that the 8 of them were coming, so I included the 8 of them in the head count. I finally get an email the day after due date that they are not coming now. I can't get over the fact that (1) they invited 6 children to the event who were not invited, (2) that I did all this typed research on hotels for them and (3) they never sent the reply card. Plus, the fact that I am paying $80 per person for the reception hall/meals = $640, which is being paid by me on a secretary salary. I am so angry right now. Sorry for venting.

Apr 01, 2012
wedding invites NEW
by: Anonymous

Sending out my daughter's wedding invitations, with a stamped-reply card, became a very disheartening thing as most people never sent the reply card back which made it very difficult getting an accurate head count for the reception food. People just don't realize how important those reply cards are. People showed up who never replied and some people responded they were coming to the wedding and never showed up or called to say they weren't coming. I would say to all invitees...please, please mail those response cards back in a timely fashion! If not, you may never get another invite from those people again!

Mar 07, 2012
rude! NEW
by: Ktp7

It drives me insane when people don't reply one way or the other. I think it's disgustingly rude not only to ignore an invitation, but to leave the host dangling, worrying about whether (for example) to provide a meal for the invitee or not. To the person who doesn't like to say no, do you seriously think a quick 'thanks for the invitation, would have loved to come but already have a prior engagement' is bad form when you consider the effect you are having on your would-be host by just not saying a word?!!!

Jan 18, 2012
so guilty NEW
by: Anonymous

I'm so guilty of this. It's often because I don't want to say "no" thoughts on how to decline an invitation politely? I am striving for improvement in this area!

Jan 15, 2012
help NEW
by: Anonymous

I invite my neice to every family funtion and send gifts for holiday's to her children. She never replies to the invites...or have her children thank me for the gifts. Any thoughts on how to handles this?

Jun 12, 2010
I go through the same thing.
by: Eunice

My heart goes out to you.

This happens to everybody. And I say this with absolute regret.

Most people have this basic manners. There is only a notorious handful so keep in mind to focus on those who were there. Don't let these rude no-shows spoil your mood. (I'm reminding myself as well) I'm usually tempted to ask directly but I do not, because I'm annoyed. The emotion will show in my voice.

So I tend to ignore them and pretend nothing has happened.

But believe me, I forgive once and maybe twice, but they won't get an invite again after.

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