Publisher's Letter | The Art of RSVP | ICONIC LIFE

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Publisher’s Letter | The Art of RSVP


If you get one thing from this message, please honor your party-throwing hosts with a timely RSVP. They will so appreciate you for this.

Ilove to throw a party! Gathering people together gives me joy and I love to see my invited guests enjoy thoughtfully prepared food and savor curated drinking options. I love to arrange the table, design the flowers and set the scene. I even love the art of a stunning invitation. To me, creating a lovely event—big or small—is Living Beautifully, the mission of ICONIC LIFE.

With all the joy of creating an event, the most challenging part is understanding how many people will attend based on RSVPs. So let’s dig into a good, old-fashion etiquette lesson for modern guests who want to impress…don’t we all?

Gentle reader, RSVP stands for the French phrase “réspondez s’il vous plaît,” which is understood in the United States as “please respond” or “please reply.” There are rules of etiquette for RSVPs, but let’s remember the first most important one, the Golden Rule. 

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Always RSVP to invitations from others if you hope to experience the same when you send your invitations. 


I think new-age technology and the immediacy of FedEx has thrown us off our RSVP game my friends, and today, getting RSVPs back is the greatest challenge of all hosts. Long ago, a written invitation would be extended and the only real option was to write back with a response. For weddings, a return card is typically provided to make this tradition easier on both the invitee and the host. 

With email, text, social media and e-vites, there are so many options to RSVP…what’s a well-heeled guest to do? Even though Fed Ex can get your package there overnight, a host can’t magically be prepared for guests if they RSVP three hours prior to the event. 

Not knowing the number of attendees can impact the quality of your party, the desire to have enough food and wine for your guests and in many cases trigger unnecessary expenses to the host when seats are left empty.

No matter how busy we all are, we need to remember that an invitation is a kindness. Your host is inviting you to celebrate, connect and gather because you are important, valued and cherished. Please return this kindness with a timely RSVP. 

In fact, I’m asking everyone reading this to take a moment to consider the importance of an RSVP and take it seriously. Your host will always remember how you responded to their invitation. 

If you are the host, here are a few things to remember:

  • Allow enough time for your guests to RSVP, at least a week for a casual event and at least a month for a formal event or wedding. 
  • Stay calm even if guests are not responding. Keep your communication polite.
  • Reach out one by one to check in on RSVPs as needed, no mass emails.
  • Do give clear indication by what date you need to hear back.
  • Provide a channel for guests to respond.
  • Limit the use of “Regrets Only” RSVPs for your own sanity. 
  • Graciously accept last-minute changes in plans.


If you are an invited guest, here are a few things to remember:

  • RSVP in a timely manner, whether you can or cannot attend. 
  • If you are waiting because you’re looking for a babysitter, let your host know. 
  • The Emily Post Institute says that printed invitations should get a printed response. Same for email. For my purposes, I’ll take all RSVPs.
  • Just showing up is not polite unless your host invited you to do so. 
  • An invitation will clearly let you know who is invited, whether it is just you, you and a guest or your entire work team. 
  • Email invitations should never be forwarded by an invited guest.
  • If you can’t attend the event at the last minute, hey things happen. Call or message your host. 


Here’s to the party season! Can’t wait to see you there!


With Gratitude,

Renee M. Dee

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