Party Planning Vent: What's So Hard About RSVPing?

Maybe it's just me getting older. I mean, every generation bemoans the decline and fall of manners and etiquette. But it seems like people have become woefully rude and negligent at RSVPing to invitations. Is the shift to electronic invitations the problem here? Are people just plain ruder now? Busier? Both?

When I get an invitation — usually by email unless it's a wedding — I RSVP immediately, not because I am a superior moral being but because I am impatient and would rather just knock it off my list so I don't have to worry about it. It takes all of 30 seconds to check the calendar and click the yes or no button. Done and done.

Yet… something as easy as clicking a button seems to be remarkably hard for some people. And it's not just for the events I host. With electronic invitations, you are often privy to RSVP lists for other people's parties. More and more lately, I find myself commiserating with a friend over how many guests simply never respond to a invitation.

What is going on here?

Is the shift to electronic invitations (like Evite, Paperless Post or Pingg) to blame? Is it because people are too inundated with emails and texts to keep up? Is it a matter of carelessness or forgetfulness? Did the invitation get lost in Spam? Did the guest see the host in person and give a verbal acceptance? Or is he or she simply waiting until the last minute in case a better offer comes along?

Web vs Printed

Maybe the problem is that Web-based invitations are not taken as seriously as printed ones sent by snail mail? Perhaps if we returned to the old system of paper invitations we would see a boost in manners? Probably not. According to an etiquette website, the average response rate for Evite is 63 percent, much higher than the 50% response rate for paper invitations. This makes sense, of course, because RSVPing to a print invitation is not an instantaneous process. These days, anything that involves an extra step is resented (writing and sending a check, for example, instead of using Paypal or an e-bill).

There is a kind of hybrid service for those who want to send out a proper paper invite but also want to gather and track RSVPs online. The Tinyprints RSVP Manager allows you to create a free personalized website that matches a Tiny Print hard copy invitation. The URL is printed directly on the card, which allows your guests to RSVP online.

What kind of invitations do you send? Electronic or printed? What has been your experience with RSVPs? What do you do when people fail to respond?

(Image: AMCTV via Apartment Therapy)

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