The Decline of the R.S.V.P.

pearls invitation jewelryIn a recent op-ed in the New York Times, the writer took on the current state of the R.S.V.P. He talked about the lack of response that R.S.V.P.s illicit, and that perhaps evites are on the way out the door. This is especially frustrating as a publicist when you are putting on event and are forced to utilize the cost-effective method of evites. You depend on responses.

The decline of evite popularity is becoming more and more of a trend.

I, myself, have been on both sides of the fence in relation to the R.S.V.P. Nothing is more frustrating then sending out an evite, only to realize no one has responded. Not only does it make you sad, but how do you even know who is coming to the event or not?

On the flipside, I just logged into my Facebook account and realized I have yet to respond to 12 event invitations. Oops. Since the majority of these are for events in different states, I have the tendency to ignore all event evites. I guess that’s not fair to those that are inviting me to actual, relevant events.

I remember back in the day, you would get an evite and everyone would be psyched! There would be a ton of responses – not everyone could come, but at least there were actual responses. Nowadays, it seems no one responds. It’s just another e-mail or reminder that sits in your inbox, going totally ignored.

The other trend is the “yes” that’s actually a “no.” This has happened to me on a number of occasions. People R.S.V.P. yes, and then don’t show up. They never give you warning beforehand – it’s like they totally plain forgot.

I fully admit that if I get an invitation in the mail,  I am 99% more likely to respond than if it was sent via Facebook or some other way via the internet. Why is that?

Is it because we are filled to the brim with information? Are we “over” the whole evite thing? Should we go back to the old-fashion invitation? Or, have we just become too jaded to be bothered with such trivialities?

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  • Ugh- so true, Marie!

    The other thing I've noticed on Facebook is the “Maybe” that's really a “polite” way of saying, “no.” Kills me, but I know I do it, too!

  • Marie – I, like you, am so much more inclined to respond to a mail invitation. The tangible, the actual printing seems as though that event (a wedding, a baby shower, a 50th wedding anniversary) is just that much more important than me inviting you to my St. Patrick’s Day party. I’m guilty of ignoring event invitations specifically on Facebook because I get a lot (who doesn’t?) and many times they’re from people I don’t even keep in touch with anymore and I know they sent out a blanket invite to all of their friends. I’m also guilty of the ‘maybe’ response of Facebook because we literally can’t guarantee that something else won’t pop up. Not in the ‘something better will pop up’ but maybe a last minute client event, meeting, unexpected family event, etc.

  • mikeschaffer

    Great post, Marie!

    Just last night I ran into an instance of this. I'm having a party this weekend (c'mon over, everyone's invited!). My wife and I grabbed dinner with a close friend, but one that still qualifies as someone that should RSVP to your parties. (We used Evite for this.) While munching over appetizers, he assured us he would be there and that “doesn't RSVP because he's an A-hole.”

    Now, I'm exceptionally glad my pal will be at my party, but would it have been so hard to just click “yes?” Or even “maybe?”

  • prguyonline

    Hola Marie,

    I've noticed that people either ignore RSVP requests or respond right before the event. I think a mailed invite is old school but smart.

    I've also noticed that audience members are buying tickets to live performances one or two days prior to the show. Not sure why, but it seems to be the trend.



  • This is a great post. This decline in basic etiquette is particularly disturbing to my inner Southern girl, who grew up writing hand written thank you notes and RSVPs. It was bad enough when people wouldn't RSVP for social events, but now that event planning is part of my business, it's downright maddening. And trying different methods to reach people doesn't work either. I did an event this week, and 14 people RSVPed on Facebook, four registered through the official site and a few more told me they were coming. Which makes it difficult to plan for speakers, handouts, food, drink, room set-up, etc. It almost makes me wonder if a written invitation would elicit a different response, especially for people who aren't as plugged into social media. Thanks for a thought-provoking post!

  • Bride-2-Be

    I did mail my invites – so far only one person has responded. Joy.