What Is RSVP And Is It Optional? – Yes or No, Just RSVP, PLEASE!

You got an invite in the mail, email or even text message with RSVP on it. But you’re not sure if you should respond because you don’t think you are going to go. After all, what is the meaning of RSVP, really? Is RSVP’ing optional or is it mandatory?

Attention lovely people: RSVP is Not an Option!

Yes or No, Just RSVP, PLEASE for the sake of everyone!

The host made a point to ask you directly or indirectly in some type of communication so they are looking for your response.

What does RSVP mean?

Technically, the term RSVP comes from the lovely sounding French phrase, “Respondez, s’il vous plait,” which means “Please respond.” So, the RSVP meaning is to respond to the host of whatever it is you are officially being invited to whether you can attend or not.

That’s right. A response is REQUIRED if you are going or you are not going to attend.

I know sometimes it feels like it doesn’t matter, but even if you are not going to go, it is the common courtesy (and general nicenest) of you to reply.

How to Say “NO” to an RSVP

If you are embarrassed or don’t want to say no to an invite, that’s quite normal. We sometimes just don’t want to hear any backlash about not going or perhaps we feel bad for not attending something important and don’t know quite how to say it.

Good thing with formal written invites, there is usually a checkbox to mark with no explanation needed. Even if they are using Evite.com or another type of online invite program.

But what about direct invites? Here are some ways to politely respond with a “no” to an email or text.

“Thank you so much for inviting me (and family, and my husband, etc), but we, unfortunately, are unable to attend. We wish you all a great (event type here).”


“Thanks for the invitation, it sounds like a great time, however, we won’t be able to make it.”

or if you want to send a gift, card, or other items in place of your attendance…..

“Thank you Mary (name of person), I have other plans that day but would love to send a card and gift – what address should I send it to? Again, thanks for the invite and I hope you have a great time!”

Here’s a Quick List on How To RSVP Like A Pro:

  • If you know right away you WILL or WILL NOT be able to attend, RSVP ASAP so you don’t forget. Trust me the host will NOT be offended or angry if you respond right away with a no.
  • If you receive a PRINTED invitation, put on fridge or in a visible spot immediately. Please note that these can be expensive and you will need to either reply with a provided response card with a stamp or you will need to get one.
  • If the invitation is electronic through email, you can mark it unread, so you don’t forget.
  • If you are unable to respond right away, set a reminder on your phone so you RSVP by the date requested.
  • DO NOT assume the invitor/host KNOWS your answer…. they sent an invite for a reason. Please don’t make them guess if you are attending or not and even have to hunt you down for an answer.
  • If you know from the moment you receive the invite you will decline, do so immediately.
  • And please, whatever you do, please DO NOT JUST SHOW UP.

The bottom line, don’t make the host chase you for your RSVP. Allow them the courtesy to get enough food, desserts, drinks and other needed items appropriately for everyone to have a great time.








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