Guest lists & RSVP


RSVP (invitations)

Why put RSVP on your invitations when NOBODY ever responds? Because you have some class and you want to know how many meatballs to make.  Here is the 411 on RSVP:

RSVP Definition

In the context of social invitations, RSVP is a request for a response from the invited person or people. It is an initialism derived from the French phrase Répondez s’il vous plaît, literally “Reply if it pleases you” or “Reply please”

The high society of England adopted French etiquette in the late 18th century, and the writings of Emily Post aim to offer a standard no more stringent than that tradition. Late 20th century editions building on her 1920’s work say, e.g., that “Anyone receiving an invitation with an R.S.V.P. on it is obliged to reply….”, and some recent editions describe breaching this standard as “inexcusably rude”.

Emily Post advises anyone receiving an invitation with an RSVP on it must reply promptly, and should reply within a day or two of receiving the invitation.

Responding as notice of attending

While an RSVP request expects responses from both those attending and not attending – there is discussion suggesting many people misunderstand the concept and do not respond if they are not attending.

RSVP, regrets only

The phrase “RSVP, regrets only,” or simply “Regrets only,” is a popular modern variation on the Emily Post RSVP. The intention is to say “you need reply only if you are going to decline” with the effect “if you do not reply, that will be taken as an acceptance.”

More specifically, if most invitations can be assumed to be accepted, a “regrets only” RSVP will reduce the communication required by both host and guests. The phrase “Regrets only” refers to the assumption that a decline will be worded with some variation of “We regret we cannot attend…,” and it follows that if the guest intends to attend the event, any “regrets” will be missing from the reply.


When writing the guest list you should keep in mind whether or not all your invitee’s will fit in your venue.

And will there be…

  • siting or standing (or both)
  • formal dinner or buffet (appetizer hour?)
  • inside/outside (consider weather & logistics)
  • children or adults only or both (kids menu?)
  • specific time of day (what food will be expected?)
  • disabled access (parking/steps/chairs/wheelchairs)
  • problems/issues with guests interacting (no fights!)
  • dietary restrictions (gluten free, vegetarian or vegan)
  • alcohol (venue restrictions, open bar vs. no-host, wine/beer vs. spirits and alcohol free options)
  • rides for inebriated guests? (you could be held liable!)
  • kids invited that may dip into the adults alcoholic drinks? (you could be held liable for this too!) best to serve kids drinks in a glass that is not being used for adult drinks.
  • music (bands/DJ’s, microphone for announcements)
  • help in the kitchen (cooks, servers, bartenders, set-up and clean-up crew)


Are you ready for the next generation of guest list options?  If you are at all computer savvy you can access free and low cost app’s.  Here is a starter list for your perusal: 

  • Unlimited guest & guest lists
  • Logo & seating map upload
  • Auto sync between all devices
  • Guest arrival alert
  • Real-time stats & reports
  • Free apps on all platforms

Check In Easy is for simple and fast guest registration, check-in, and management at events from 2 people to 20,000.

Replace your paper guest lists with a guest list app for iPhone, iPad, iPod touch and Android devices.

  • Event check-in & online registration in one application
  • Captured data directly in your database
  • Share access with collaborators
  • Synced guest lists
  • Analysable, reusable
  • Take care of delicate guest list data

Save the date cards

Prior to receiving the RSVP invitation, the host may mail out a “save the date” card to advise the date and location of the party. This may be used when the event will be held in a distant location to allow for travel plans, such as a wedding, christening or any other important event.  A birthday party, a wedding, a holiday open house.