In May 2023, Stuff by Kelsie BartonLeave a Comment

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We asked six Raleigh socialites to weigh in on the dying art of the RSVP.

Modern etiquette has been a buzzy topic lately, thanks in part to the debate-sparking article recently published in The Cut, entitled, “Do You Know How to Behave?” As we all consider the do’s and don’ts of navigating polite society today [cue Carrie Bradshaw voice], we couldn’t help but wonder: What has become of the RSVP? 

While the traditional courtesy of respondez s’il vous plait seems to have fallen out of fashion with the younger gen, many would argue that, in our digital world, it has not only become easier to confirm your attendance, but more important than ever before. So why is it so hard for invited guests to reply Y or N? Are people rude, lazy or simply too busy to respond? Here, we poll Raleigh insiders across the event, entertainment and F&B sectors to find out: Is the RSVP a dying art?

“I took three years of cotillion. … My generation was constantly told proper etiquette was very important—especially the written thank-you note and timely RSVP. Professionally and personally, I’ve watched as the RSVP has died a slow death! I think baby boomers still RSVP promptly, but younger generations have a tendency not to RSVP until right before the event—if at all. … The world is such a busy place, and we all tend to put more on our plates. Honestly, I think many people just forget!”

 —Blair Smallman, development manager, The Foundation of Hope,

“Yes, but it shouldn’t be. It’s only dying because people have become poor communicators in general. Letting a host know if you will be attending their event is respectful and courteous—and that never goes out of style.”

—Felicia Trujillo, founder/CEO, Food Seen,

“Yes! The RSVP is a dying art! In this digital age, people are inundated with events and engagements, and I think that has caused people to become less diligent with responses. It’s incredibly hard to put together a successful, curated and thoughtful event without a good idea of how many people to expect!”

Chris Powers, co-owner, Trophy Brewing Co.,

“Just the opposite, actually. RSVP practice has become even easier to send—and receive—thanks to email and the proliferation of online event management services. For my wedding, I didn’t even depend on the mishap nature (and expense and environmental footprint) of snail mail. We exclusively used a website and email invitations to invite guests and keep track of guest status. … As guests, why leave our hosts worrying if we’ll be in attendance or not? I encourage everyone to confirm their participation by replying Y.”

—Lisa Jeffries Nobling, founder/principal, Raleighwood Media Group + Raleighwood Event Group,

”I would say it’s a dying art that shouldn’t be dying. So much is at our fingertips now that I have found a lot of people (from different generations, mind you) hold off on RSVPing so they can ‘see where their schedule lands’—yet, often, their replies make it in the week of the event. Last-minute RSVPs aren’t fun—both because you feel like an afterthought and because you now need to plan for additional people. Circumstances exist where people do need time, and giving a specific reason for your delay in replying is completely acceptable because it shows your interest and intent to attend. Ironically, without directly RSVPing, people are RSVPing.”

Catrina Vienrich, creative lead and founder, Vine Rich Events & Experiences,

”I’m all tickets, I’m all I need to know everything and where everybody’s coming from, so I’m very pro-RSVP. I don’t really like surprises. I don’t like people just showing up, like 10 more people to feed and you had no idea. That’s where I stand on it—and that’s how I’ve always been able to run a successful restaurant. I don’t want a blind date.”

—Eric Rivera, chef/owner, Forknife private dining club,

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