How To Respond To A No RSVP? (9 Tips)

How To Respond To A No RSVP
Respect your guest's decision not to attend the event. They have their reasons. You may find it difficult to figure out how to respond to a "no" RSVP because you don't want to be rude. Just thank them for letting you know and say you'll miss them.

1. Common reasons

People may answer “no” to your RSVP, but you shouldn’t take it personally. Understand that they may live too far and don’t have time or money to travel. Especially for destination wedding invitations that require accommodation and airfare expenses. Other expenses to consider are clothing, gifts, gas, and more.

The person may also have other plans they can’t cancel. If you didn’t include plus-ones, consider this as a possible reason. Most people don’t want to be alone at an event. Having to hire a babysitter because the event is adult-only is also cumbersome.

The person may have health concerns, which were common during the COVID-19 pandemic. And maybe it’s your event that is not accessible to them. So be understanding. You don’t know what they’re going through.

2. Tell Me Why

Only ask for an explanation (in a polite way) if you are close to them. If they give you a reason, you can find ways to solve the issue. If the person has other plans but isn’t exactly at the same time, suggest they leave early or arrive late.

But only try solving the problem if it is a simple one. Don’t go crazy trying to solve something you know you can’t.

If you think their reason for checking “no” on their RSVP card is not good enough, remember, it is not good enough for you. The person didn’t owe you a reason in the first place. I know it can be disappointing, but be gracious about it.

3. Respect the Guest

Don’t try to persuade them to come. They have their reasons. It is not your place to try to change their decision if you can’t solve their problems.

If they declined your party invitation, they have already decided. Avoid guilt-tripping them for not attending. Move forward and make the most of the event without the guest.

4. Responding to a No RSVP

RSVP invite
RSVP invite

When responding, let them know they will be missed, and thank them for letting you know. Not everyone will do you the courtesy of actually declining your RSVP. In fact, some people from your guest list will never answer your RSVP, and that’s normal in wedding planning and any other event.

So after you’ve sent all the notices and all the RSVP deadlines have passed, and they still haven’t RSVP’d, don’t send them a response. I know that’s counterintuitive, but thanking them for nothing will actually sound passive-aggressive.

5. New Ways to Celebrate

If the person is really important to you, you can live stream the event online. That way, they can still be part of that special moment.

And you can save the recording to watch it afterward. Who wouldn’t like to rewatch their wedding day? Another way to celebrate is by arranging a time to get together.

6. Follow Up Communication

You can send a note to guests who didn’t attend the event explaining how the event went. Include how you missed them and how it would be even better if they were there.

The person will surely be thankful that you still remembered them.

7. Sharing Photos and Memories

Offer to share photos and videos from the event if the person is close to you. They will probably want them if it is a major event, like a wedding, birthday party, or baby shower.

But don’t send them to anyone who didn’t express interest. Instead of literally sharing the photos, send them a link to a folder on the cloud. This will save up their device’s storage.

8. Social Media

Don’t talk about the guest’s absence on social media. This is ungracious. It can even hurt your relationship with them and make you seem petty.

Instead, share the things you’re happy about the event.

9. Let’s Party!

Focus on the guests who do attend and express gratitude for their presence. You can do this by thanking them for their RSVP and for making an effort to be there.

Don’t let unnecessary stress over the final headcount hold you from enjoying your event.

Ana C.

Ana C. is an artistic writer who loves shaping language around her message. For her, etiquette is about respecting everyone and spreading kindness. She loves hanging out with goats, analyzing TV shows, and eating feijoada with farofa.

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