I’m about to lay down some really harsh truths. Some of you will be appalled at my savageness others will be like “Thank God SOMEONE finally said it”. But either way, I think you know me well enough to know, I’m gonna say it.
There are two reasons people request RSVPs on invites. The first is that they are trying to plan appropriately and need an exact head count. This type of reason is legitimate. We’ll discuss it further in just a moment. The second is that the person is stupid and/or a control freak.
There is only one reason to ever use Thank You cards and that is if you are a wasteful person and enjoy wasting your own time, paper, stamps and someone else’s time as well. I’ll explain shortly.
First, the legitimate reason for requesting an RSVP: When you are planning an event and for monetary reasons, you need to know how many are coming, you should request an RSVP. Maybe you are ordering food or thank you gifts for your wedding. Maybe it’s a child’s party and you need to know how much room you’ll need or the venue has a minimum guest number. Any of these are reasonable situations for one to request an RSVP. That being said, the recipient of the invite with the RSVP should only be expected to tell you if they ARE coming. I’m never going to call you and say “Sorry, I can’t make it” because then I feel like I also owe you an excuse for WHY I can’t make it. Just what do I have going on in my life that is more important than your event? Probably nothing. I probably would just rather sit at home eating stale tortilla chips and watching Ghost Hunter re-runs than having to put on real clothes and socialize for a few hours. It’s not that I don’t like you or hope your event is unsuccessful, it’s just that I’m lazy and an introvert. Also, I don’t like conflict, not even the implied conflict of me saying “sorry, I can’t come”. So I’m just not going to call. That’s me and I think a billion other people too because RSVPs never seem to work appropriately. Now, the flip side of this, however, is that when you have a damn good reason for asking people to RSVP and they ARE planning to attend, then they had better call you and say “Hell, yeah I’m coming! I wouldn’t miss it….will there be free food?” Because if they don’t, then no food or parting gifts for them. I’m sorry but we have to be firm about this. It is quite rude to not call to let someone know you are coming to eat their hors d’oeuvres and sit on their seats and watch them open presents and potentially drink their booze. Therefore, I say, if you ask for a legitimate RSVP and people don’t call but show up anyways, then you have a bouncer to escort them to the loser table where they will be served those cheap little Hugs drinks and the leftover saltine crackers you have in your pantry. That’s it. They don’t get a centerpiece; they don’t get a parting gift and no booze. That will teach them. Also, that’s a good table for people that did RSVP but you had hoped they wouldn’t come because you only invited them because you had to because that might teach them too. Just an idea. So, to review: I only RSVP if I am coming, then I will do so at the very last minute or a day or two late because I mean well, but I forget…a lot. Other people who are coming should RSVP immediately and those that don’t get Hugs and saltines only at the loser table which should also be a card table without a table cloth.
The second stupid reason to request an RSVP: If you are a boss, and you send out an email that says you are holding a MANDATORY meeting and you expect all employees to attend. Then do not send me an RSVP to your stupid mandatory “watch me pat myself on the back for an hour” meeting, because I am not going to RSVP. You should know I am coming because you made it mandatory. Quit making your secretary send out RSVP requests and updates telling me I haven’t RSVP’d. This makes you appear stupid. You either don’t understand the meaning of the word mandatory or the abbreviation RSVP. And please do not tell me you need a head count because you are ordering food. You are a (hypothetical) cheap-ass, moronic, ridiculous-mustache-wearing, 1970’s man-permed egomaniac. You’re not going to feed anyone because you would worry that the sound of their chewing might dampen out the sound of your brilliant words in their ears. Please. Do not ask for an RSVP. I’ll be there. I need a job, asshole, or else I wouldn’t show up (and I still wouldn’t RSVP).
Ok. Now, They’ve come to your party and they RSVP’d like the good friends they are, you fed them. They gave you a gift; you said “Thank You”. The End. They go home with maybe a cute little parting prize (you made using Pinterest) and you go home with the lovely toaster they bought you. There is no need for a follow-up paper Thank You in 2-4 weeks. Why? They’ve already moved on with their life and you would too if you weren’t hampered by a shit-ton of cards to write and mail out saying thank you a second time. Know what happens when the Thank You card you slaved over, got writing cramps from and brain numbness after the billionth “thank you for the thoughtful toaster, we’ll use it and think of you every time we eat a pop tart”. And if we’re being honest, the gift really did not require much thought because you picked it out and put it on a registry. You made it dummy-proof. Trust me, there was very little thought behind that toaster. So, anyhow, know what happens? First of all, they see another invitation-looking thing from your return address and think “Oh my God, what now?” and then they open it and see “Thank You” all nicely scrawled across the front of the card. They breathe a sigh of relief that you aren’t asking them to RSVP to anymore events, then they may or may not open said card before tossing it in the trash. I swear to you. So, can we all agree to cease and desist this archaic practice? No more. It’s wasting so much time and energy. This is not the days of the pony express where it was the only way to communicate. If you didn’t get to say “Thanks” in person, text, tweet, email, Facebook, call, IM them…its way too easy to do and no trees will be harmed in the process.