Birthday parties are great social events. While all we remember is the fun moment, a lot of planning and organization goes into throwing the perfect party. That is why event organizers send RSVP requests to find out how many people will make it to the party.
What Does the RSVP Request Mean?
RSVP is abbreviations for the French phrase “Répondez s’il vous plaît” that translates to ‘Respond, if you Please.’
The phrase has earned notoriety making it easier to add it to an invitation instead of a long phrase like ‘please respond to let us know if you will make it.’
Responding to Your RSVP Birthday Invitation
The response channel is always hinted on/shown in the invitation. If it isn’t it’s always convenient to respond via the same way the invitation got to you.
However, before worrying about the response channel, you first have to make up your mind and choose the appropriate response to the invite.
Your options here are:
Accepting the Invitation
If it’s a close friend and you wouldn’t miss the party for anything in the world, then let them know you will make it.
Declining the Invitation
If you are confident that you will not make it, a clear and polite decline is better than a maybe or refusing to respond to the invitation. Remember the purpose of the RSVP is to help the planners figure out how many guests to expect – not to judge your loyalty as a friend.
This is a grey response that is often misused by people who are not brave enough to decline. Only give a maybe if you are not sure about something you cannot postpone on the date of the event. If it’s a close friend you know will personally read or listen to the response, you could briefly explain why you are a maybe.
Don’t give a maybe if you know you won’t make it. And if you do, ensure that you follow up with a more specific response as soon as you can.
Wording Your RSVP Response
The response varies depending on how formal an event is or how close you are to the person. The basic outline is:
- A greeting
- An introduction (if necessary)
- Thanks for the invitation
- Politely accept, decline, or give a maybe
- Additional information or any questions
- The closing
Throw in a pleasant greeting to set the tone right. Something like
- Hi, (First Name)
- Hi (Name) I hope you’re doing well
While introductions might seem unnecessary, they could make things easier for overwhelmed planners by helping them put a name to each response very fast.
Throwing in a name will do no harm – especially if you are responding to a child’s birthday party invitation.
Here are some templates to try out
- This is (your name/child’s name)
- I’m (your name/child’s name)
- This is (Child’s name) dad/mom
The Thank You
The thanks section should be brief. It’s a good way to further the introduction and create some warmth to your otherwise brief response.
- Thanks for inviting me to your birthday party
- Thanks for inviting (child’s name) to (their child’s name) birthday party
- It was so nice of (their child’s name) to invite (your child’s name) to her/his birthday
Accepting, Declining, or Maybe
This is perhaps the most important section of the response. Ensure that it is clear and on its own paragraph for easy readability.
Saying Yes to an RSVP
Here are some sample responses if you accept
- (Child’s name) is so happy and can’t wait to come
- My husband and I will be able to attend
- We are free that day and can’t wait to come
Pro Tip: Be sure to note how many people will make it if the invitation requested for the information
How to Say No to an Invite
Saying no is hard. Some people are tempted to go with maybe but that is not always a good choice.
If you won’t make it, you could opt for polite responses like:
- Unfortunately, we won’t make it to the party
- We are very sad we won’t be available that day and won’t be able to join you
- We have prior arrangements we can’t postpone and won’t make it to the party
- We wish we could be among the guests celebrating with you, unfortunately, we cannot
Check this too: How Long Should a Baby’s First Birthday Party Be?
The Maybe – If You are Unsure
If you are not sure if you will make it but want to attend the party, it is best if you be honest and explain yourself. The explanation is only necessary if the party isn’t formal and you believe that it will get to the person.
Your explanation should be brief and have a request for more time to give a definite answer.
- Hi Kathy, this is Tim. Thanks for inviting me to your birthday party. I would really love to attend but I am not sure I can get off work that day. I will need to find out. Can you please give me until (a date) to give you a definite answer?
- Hi John. Brian was exhilarated to get an invitation for Mary’s birthday. However, his sister will be graduating on that day and we are not sure if we can make it to both events. We will certainly try out best to split the day and make it to your party
Ways to Respond to an RSVP
Most invitations will guide you on how to respond. In this era when most of them are in digital format, responding could be as easy as replying to the message thread that sent the invitation. Some response options include
- Calling or texting a listing name and number (the invitation might tell you if you should call or text)
- Click Yes, No, Maybe on a response form
- Responding in person (if you know them and can talk to them in person)
- Regrets only (this is if the organizers only want responses from people who won’t make it. This will be highlighted in the invite)
ProTip: Some invites expressly state that an RSVP is not needed. In this case, do not contact the organizers with your response.
What Does ‘RSVP By Date’ Mean?
Any invitation with an RSVP by Date means that the organizers need your response before the indicated day.
In this case, you might still have time to figure out if you will be available on that date instead of giving a maybe and asking for extra time to sort your schedule out.
Additional Questions and Information
The additional questions paragraph is great if you have other questions like:
- If you want to bring someone else
- If you or your child has any allergies and want to make them known (special diet needs)
- If you didn’t get the directions to the venue right and want elaboration
What Should You Do if You See an Invite after the RSVP Deadline?
If you didn’t respond on time, it’s still considerate to reach out as soon as you realize it. Issue an apology and ask if it’s still possible to RSVP.
What if Circumstances Change after Responding?
Sometimes, your schedule might inevitably change even after RSVPing no or yes. In this case, it is polite to do a short call, an email, or a text to explain the situation.
If you found time after RSVPing no, be sure to ask if there is some space. Chances are there are some extras or someone who had said yes overturned their commitment.
- I regret to inform you that we are no longer able to attend—
- I know I said we could come, but it seems like we can’t (you can add a brief explanation)
- I remember I said I won’t make it but my schedule changed and I am now available. Could you please let me know if there is room for one more? I would love to be part of the fun
RSVPing to an invitation is good practice. It gives the organizers the information they need to plan the party. It is also respectful especially if you won’t make it. The person being celebrated will know that you took the time to respond and explain yourself. This is especially very important if it is a friend or a child’s party.