Manners Monday: RSVP Etiquette

ImageAn invite to a wedding, a dinner party, a fundraising event, a baby shower  – any kind of event that requires an invitation – also requires a very simple obligation from the recipient: an RSVP.  From the French, it means “Répondez, s’il vous plaît,” or, “Please reply.” This short phrase is politely informing you that your hosts want to know if you are attending.

  • RSVP as follows:
    • PROMPTLY. The longer your host has to plan for an accurate number of guests, the better the event will be and the more fun everyone will have. Trust me, the short time it takes you to RSVP is nothing compared to the time & energy put into planning the event.
    • If there is no response card included, a handwritten response to the host at the return address on the envelope is acceptable.
    • If a Response Card is included: complete it and return it in the enclosed envelope by the given date. (Spring for the stamp if it’s not pre-stamped. The $0.46 for is money well spent.)
    • If a phone number is included make that phone call and be sure to speak to the host in person – answering machines can be unreliable.
    • If an email or website is included, you may accept or decline electronically.
    • If the host requests Regrets Only then you reply only if you cannot attend. Remember, this means that If your host doesn’t hear from you, they expect to see you on the event date!
    • No reply requested? This is very unusual, and most likely for a very informal event, but it is still polite to let your host know your intentions. A phone call or email will suffice in this situation.
  • Social Media invites are a whole different ballgame. People use social media invitations for so many different types of events. Yet they still count on RSVP’s to give them an accurate number of attendees – especially for fundraising events.
    • If you really do plan to attend the event – by all means indicate your intention. (and change your reply if you discover you are not able to attend.)
    • If you can’t attend the event, reply “no”, let them know you’re thankful for the invite and share it with your network(s) if appropriate.
    • If you’re not sure, reply “maybe” and again if appropriate, share with your network(s), and indicate your final answer either way as soon as you know for certain.
  • If you have replied “yes” to an invitation of any kind, being a “No Show” is unacceptable.
    • Whether it is a large or small event, you host has planned, prepared and paid for a certain number of guests. When you reply you will be attending an event, you are obligated to arrive.
    • You are also obligated to arrive on time:
      • A special note for Weddings: arrive at least 15 – 20 minutes (but no more than 30) before the time indicated on the invitation. That time is the time the wedding begins. (Do not go looking for the bride, groom, their parents or the rest of the bridal party during this time. They are busy with last minute preparations and can NOT visit before the ceremony.)
      • If you arrive within 5 minutes of a wedding start time, expect to wait until after the bride has made her entrance before finding your seat (in the back)
  • Emergencies do occur and you should contact your host as soon as possible to let them know you will not be attending and why.
    • Acceptable and cancel-worthy exceptions:
      • Illness or injury
      • A death in the family
      • An unavoidable and unforeseen professional or business conflict
  • Changing a ‘no’ to a ‘yes’ is OK only if it will not upset the hosts’ arrangements.
    • CALL FIRST – do not just show up unannounced.
  • If you have to ask…Don’t! An invitation is extended to the people the hosts want to invite—and no one else. Can I bring:
    • …a date/friend. Some invitations indicate that you may invite a guest or date (Mr. William Smith and Guest) and when you reply, you should indicate whether you are bringing someone, and convey their name.
    • …my children. If they were invited, the invitation would have said so.
    • …my houseguest. It’s best to decline the invitation, stating the reason. This gives your host the option to extend the invitation to your guests, or not.
    • If you are unsure – take a couple of minutes to contact your host to ask their preference and graciously accept their answer.
  • Make sure to thank your hosts before you leave, and then again by phone or note the next day.

Bridal Shows

With the bridal fair this weekend in Wichita I thought I’d post a few (ok, there’s 15) tips to make the experience productive and fun. Going to a bridal fair can be exceedingly overwhelming; Shay Chic Events & Design has put together a list of tips to help you prepare for your visit. Most importantly – HAVE FUN – this is YOUR WEDDING we’re talking about!


 DO YOUR RESEARCH: Know which wedding services you need or would like before the show, try to find out which wedding vendors will be exhibiting, which ones you want to be sure to visit and register online in advance if you can.( in Wichita) Make sure you get your Bride and Groom-to-be-stickers when you register in order to receive special attention from the wedding pros.

CREATE A WEDDING EMAIL ACCOUNT: Create a free wedding e-mail account (we recommend using Gmail) you can use to give to vendors, use to sign up at wedding planning web sites, and even use to receive wedding R.S.V.P.’s. The amount of offers you receive at first may seem overwhelming, but take the time to read them or you may miss out on some very good deals. . This is also helpful because when the big day is behind you and you’re no longer interested in receiving offers from vendors, you can delete this address.

 BRING LABELS: To save yourself a lot of time when registering for prizes/give-a-ways at individual booths, bring preprinted labels that include your name, wedding date, wedding locale, mailing address (if you prefer hard copy), and e-mail address. You could include your phone number on the label, but I generally do not. You can always write down your number at your discretion after visiting and speaking with a vendor or when submitting your name for a giveaway in which case they need a phone number to contact the winner. Take Part in the Prizes Offered Many shows offer prizes as do individual vendors in their booths, throughout the day and a grand prize at the end of the day.  These prizes are incredible and one lucky bride will win.  It could very well be you.

BRING YOUR OWN BAGS:  Not all expos and vendors will provide free bags to tote your goodies in, so bring your own. Use one bag as your carry-all. Use another, smaller bag to gather information on vendors who really caught your attention. You can put their information, brochure, and business card in this second bag so you don’t have to dig for it later.

BRING YOUR  CALENDAR, A NOTEBOOK & A PEN: Bring your calendar so you are able to schedule follow-up appointments with preferred vendors.  Also bring your notebook and pen so you can take notes.  You will visit with a lot of vendors.  Make sure you write down things that jump out and impress you, and the ones that may not be in line with your personal taste or vision for your wedding…  If you don’t write it down you are most likely to forget something important.

BRING A CAMERA: After an hour or two, the different booths will start to blend together. So bringing a digital camera with you to snap an eye-catching floral centerpiece, wedding cake or bridesmaid gown will be essential for future reference. If there is a bridal fashion show, be sure to stay for it and take pictures of the gowns & dresses you like.

BRING – DON’T DRAG – THE GROOM IF HE WANTS TO ATTEND: Why bring the groom? Well, it’s his wedding, too. He can head on over to the tuxedo rental vendors and get fitted and sign up for free rentals for him and the groomsmen. Some bridal shows are also providing Man Caves as an escape for the grooms.

BRING THE CREW: Bring your mom, your future mother-in-law, bridesmaids, or friends with you, IF you don’t mind the bridal posse. Some find the extra hands helpful in tugging along the free giveaways. And it helps to have more than one opinion at the tasting tables and fashion shows. Plus, when entering for a giveaway, they’ll be able to add their names too so your group can get a greater chance of winning a prize.

KNOW YOUR BUDGET & BE PREPARED TO BUY: Setting your wedding budget will help you make decisions and know what you’re looking for while at the show. Most will have Show Day specials in addition to specials running in the weeks post-show. Some vendors will have items for purchase on location, like wedding accessories; while others may need a deposit to secure a date (and a show special) so bring plastic, your checkbook and cash.

BRING COLOR SWATCHES:  If you have already purchased your bridal gown, bridesmaid dresses or just have an idea as to the colors you want to use, a color swatch (or photo) will help you coordinate with purchasing accessories. Also, these swatches will help with coordinating the bridal party attire if not already purchased.

WALK DOWN EVERY AISLE: Collect any information you are interested in and take it home to look over again at your leisure. You will receive a ton of brochures, samples, flyers, etc. Don’t feel pressured into making decisions if you’re not certain.

ASK LOTS OF QUESTIONS: That’s what the vendors are there for. They want to help you and you are under no pressure to buy from them, so find out everything you want to know.

WEAR COMFORTABLE SHOES: you’ll be doing a lot of walking and most likely on concrete or tiled floors. You want to concentrate on the expo and not your tired toes.

 KEEP AN OPEN MIND: Planning a wedding requires A LOT of organization, sure, but it also requires flexibility. If the deejay you had in mind is booked on your date, don’t fret, there’s tens of more just in the next aisle over.

PARKING: AT CENTURY II EXPO HALL: There are metered parking lots on the east and west sides of the facility so bring coins for parking meters.  There are several other parking options that are a short walk from Century II. You can find more information about those at  

Remember what we said at the beginning of this list – HAVE FUN!!

If there’s anything Shay Chic can do to assist you in your planning process , please don’t hesitate to contact us. We’re here to help in any way we can!  Happy Planning!


Welcome to the Shay Chic Events & Design blog.  I’m new into the world of blogging so please be patient as I navigate the new terrain. I”m a quick learner and plan to be blogging away like a pro in no time!

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