What if People Do Not RSVP?

Dear Mrs. McVeigh,
I am throwing a birthday party for my husband at our home. It is a daytime open house, and we have asked for RSVSs. The party is this week, and I have several people who have not responded to the invitation. I really need to know how many to expect for the food and drink count. Should I text them? Call them? Just figure they aren’t coming? What is the etiquette in this type of situation?  

Thank you!
Nancy L.

Dear Nancy L.,
This is a tricky situation because you obviously do not want anyone to feel like you are calling them out for having bad manners. To make it a more comfortable situation, I would call or text and say, ”Hi. How are you? Did you get our invitation for “Chuck’s” birthday on XYZ date? If not please let me know. And so sorry if you did not receive it.” They probably did get the invitation, but then instead of looking like you are calling them out for being rude, you sound concerned and apologetic that they may have not received it. Then they will apologize for not responding and give you their answer. 

A lot of people think you only respond to a party invitation that says “RSVP” if it’s a no. Others may have a conflict but they cannot give you an answer until the last minute, but they never communicate this to you. Others will respond one way or the other, and then do the opposite of their response without following back up with you. RSVPs seem to be really tough for people these days, so just know that your count will never be accurate. All you can do is get a good guesstimate.

As a rule, people should give a response within a few days of receiving an invitation. If they are unsure if they are able to make the party, then they should ask the latest time that you need an answer. If they cannot give it to you by then, they should decline the invitation.