In this guide, we share how to RSVP to a birthday party invitation, and give sample wording you can use to confidently respond to any event invite.
RSVP might sound like a fancy word, but it is easy to respond to once you understand how to do it and have the right wording.
Here are the most common ways you will be asked to respond as an RSVP, some important information to look for, and then we will share examples for how to respond appropriately to either accept or decline an invite (and what to do if there are special circumstances).
Looking for invite inspiration? Check out these ideas on what to write on an invite or sample birthday invitation wording or holiday related ideas such as our guide to Thanksgiving Invitation Wording Samples.
Table of Contents
- 1 What does RSVP mean?
- 2 How do you respond to a birthday Invitation RSVP
- 3 Why you should always RSVP
- 4 How to RSVP to a Party Invitation- Rsvp Wording Examples
- 4.1 What exactly to say when responding in an RSVP
- 4.2 How to respond to RSVP confirmation by text
- 4.3 Sample Wording for Responding YES to an invitation
- 4.4 How to say no to an invite to a party
- 4.5 What to do if you are unsure if you can be there
- 4.6 How to reply to RSVP confirmation: Other special circumstances
- 4.7 What to do if you forgot to RSVP by the deadline
- 4.8 What to do if you are unable to attend after RSVPing yes
- 4.9 What to do if you are suddenly able to attend after responding NO
What does RSVP mean?
A request for an RSVP simply means the host of the party wants to know if you are able to attend or not.
R.S.V.P is an abbreviation of the French term “Répondez s’il vous plaît” and translates to Please respond (or please reply), or if read literally word for word is Respond, if you please.
TIP: People might think the use of a French terms equals fancy, but just because an invitation has a RSVP section or card, it does not mean the party will be.
In fact, it is so common to do an RSVP that is why just those few letters are used. It saves people from having to spell out “Please let us know if you can come” or something similar.
Other common ways it shows up on invitations include: Please RSVP, R.S.V.P or in lowercase letters (rsvp or r.s.v.p).
RSVPs help the host of the party know how many people they can expect to join in on the fun in order to prepare for the event.
How do you respond to a birthday Invitation RSVP
First, let’s go over the different ways you might need to reply to an invite. Each one presents a different scenario, and might require slightly different wording or tasks.
Responding to a party invitation is an important part of party etiquette—what to do or not do at a party.
Ways RSVPs are often requested
- Name + Number Listed—this typically means you can call, or also text if it is a mobile number.
- Call– this often looks like Please RSVP (or call) to (Name) at 555-555-555 (number)
- Text- Though it may seem casual, many people prefer to receive rsvp’s via text so they can keep track of who has responded, and keep important information handy. They also might forget if they receive phone call in the middle of doing something, or miss the call completely.
- Email– You might see an invitation that requests that you “RSVP via email to (email address). Again, this is helpful to keep track of guests.
- Evite-An evite is an electronic invitation that you may receive via text or through email. It will usually have you click a link to view the full invitation, and then ask you to respond by clicking YES/NO buttons.
- Social Media invites– It is becoming increasingly popular to send invites out to friends both as evites and over social media. Some might even create a Facebook event or group for the party. Be sure to check to see if it is a virtual party or in person before you respond!
- Respond in Person- If someone personally invites you to a party and asks you to let them know, you will likely respond by talking to them in person at a later date unless you have their contact information.
- Regrets Only- The Regrets Only meaning is that the party host only wants to know if you are not planning on showing up. This type of RSVP is easier for party planners sometimes if they do not need to know a set number of guests, or if they are assuming everyone can make it except those who tell them otherwise. It is important to respond if you are unable to go to the event in case they are paying per person, for example.
- No response needed—Sometimes invitations will not have RSVP information, or might clearly say No RSVP needed. In this case, you do not need to respond. They might still include contact information in case you have any questions or requests, however!
TIP: It is important to note that sometimes the RSVP name (the person you are giving your answer to) is different from the person who invited you or who is being celebrated.
This happens frequently for baby or bridal showers, as they are often hosted by family or friends rather than the person of honor.
Why you should always RSVP
It is not only polite and proper party etiquette to respond to an invitation with an RSVP, but it is essential for other reasons as well.
- Having an accurate headcount of who is attending makes a difference when it comes to preparing enough food, drinks, activity supplies, favors, and other items for the party to be successful.
- Many children’s birthday parties are held in locations where the host will be paying for each child to participate in the themed activities, or there might be a limit—or in some cases, a minimum—as to how many can take part.
- Some venues also charge per person, so having a finalized guest list is critical. This is especially true for weddings.
Why RSVPing to kids’ birthday parties is especially important—even though it might not seem like it
Numerous articles have been published in national media outlets that provide a great glimpse into why RSVPs matter so much to parents hosting parties and the importance of an RSVP.
Family members (often Moms) have stressed the fact that people have a tendency to not RSVP even after being asked.
Here are some reasons why it is useful to always RSVP to a child’s birthday party:
- Invitations can get lost without the host or the invitee knowing about it. This is especially possible if invites are just put in children’s backpacks without parents knowing to look for them. If they don’t hear back, the birthday child’s parents can then try to make sure they know they were invited another way.
- There might end up being no one who shows up at a party.It is entirely possible that for some reason no children are able to attend a friend’s party.
- Perhaps another party is occurring the same day, or there are time constraints for each invited guest (especially if only a few are invited). If everyone does not RSVP, then a child could end up tragically alone at their birthday party. Think about how that child might feel. It is better to have to reschedule to a date that does work than to have that happen!
- Some children benefit from being given a heads up about guests before a party. For children with anxiety, those with Autism, or other kids who benefit from talking about things before they happen, knowing what to expect is an important part of ensuring a successful event.
- If a child knows their good friend won’t be there, they can process it ahead of time rather than when they realize they are not there.
RSVP By Date (what that means) and why it matters
If an invitation says to RSVP by (Date), this means the person inviting you would like to know if you are planning on attending the birthday party or are unable to by the date they put on the invite.
If it says by March 1st, then be sure to let them know before—or on—March 1st.
However, if you lost an invitation, (maybe it was lost in the shuffle of paperwork from school) and found it after the date, still reach out to let them know— check out the wording down below for how to handle that situation!
How to RSVP to a Party Invitation- Rsvp Wording Examples
Here are some specific examples of how to accept or decline—feel free to copy these as is or to adjust them to fit your unique situation!
What exactly to say when responding in an RSVP
The basic format for accepting an invitation to a birthday party or other event is:
Greeting–Introduction (if needed)–Thank Them–Politely Accept or Decline–Additional Information or Questions–Closing
Of course it will vary depending on the type of RSVP, how well you know the person, and how formal the event is. How to rvsp to a birthday party by text will be different than if you were in person, but this gives a good basic outline to get your answer across in an appropriate way.
Start with a pleasant and simple greeting. This might simply be a Hi (first name) or Hello, or a short sentence like Hi (Name) I hope you are doing well.
If it is for a kid’s party, the other parent might not know you by name. Here is where you can introduce yourself.
Suggestions: This is (your name). | I’m (your name)… | This is/I’m (your name), (your child’s name) mom/dad/etc.
Thank Them/ Say Something Kind: Thank you for inviting (child’s name) to (their’s child’s name)’s birthday party.
- It was so nice of you to invite (your child’s name) to (their child’s name)’s party.
- It was so nice of (their child’s name) to invite (your child’s name) to his/her birthday.
- (Your child’s name) was so excited to get the invitation to (their child’s name)’s party. Thank you for inviting (us/him/her).
- The birthday party looks like so much fun.
Politely Accept or Decline
Insert one of the responses to invitations below based on your situation.
Additional Information or Questions
Add in other things you would want them to know, especially if you are going to be accepting and have special restrictions.
If you have questions about the party theme (such as if it is a holiday party theme that you are not familiar with or unsure of how to dress or what to bring) ask those questions as well.
Here is where you will end your text, email or voicemail. You can keep it short and sweet! Some ideas include:
- Thank you so much.
- Thanks again!
- We look forward to coming to the birthday party!
- We are sorry to miss out on the fun.
- Even though we can’t come, I hope (their child’s name) has lots of fun with his/her friends.
- I hope you get a good response from everyone else!
How to respond to RSVP confirmation by text
If we put all the parts above together, but want to keep it short and sweet for text messages, it might look something like this:
How to RSVP by text sample:
“Hi Kathy! Thanks for inviting Sean to Brian’s birthday. He is excited and can’t wait to attend. See you then!”
Sample Wording for Responding YES to an invitation
If you are able to go to the birthday or other event, say yes by using one of these ideas below, or come up with your own, and tell them how much you are looking forward to it.
Don’t stress about what to say, however—the great news is that you will be there, so they will be excited for that even if the message is short and to the point.
TIP: Make sure to note how many people or who is coming if it was asked.
Easy ways to accept a party invitation on a RSVP
- Yes, we are able to attend.
- (We/Child’s name) would love to attend.
- (Your child’s name) is so happy to be able to come.
- We are free that day, and can’t wait.
- We would be delighted to come to the party.
- (Your child’s name) is really looking forward to going.
How to say no to an invite to a party
One of the most awkward things can be trying to figure out how to decline an invitation politely. It can feel disappointing if you or your family can’t make it, however, the host will more than likely be very understanding and is prepared for some people to say no when invited.
Here are a few ways to graciously turn down a party invitation:
Sample text: How to decline a party invitation
- Unfortunately, we are not able to attend.
- The party looks like it will be wonderful, however, we will not be able to be there.
- We are sad that we are not available that day and won’t be able to join you.
- I/We appreciate you thinking of us, but we are busy at that time.
- We have a prior commitment and won’t be able to make it to the party.
- We wish we could be there as guests to celebrate with you—but unfortunately, we cannot.
- (Child’s name) is so sad that he/she is not able to go to (birthday child’s name) birthday.
- While (Partner’s name/ family member) isn’t able to go, (I/the kids and I/whoever will) are looking forward to it!
What to do if you are unsure if you can be there
The best thing to do if you are unsure about whether or not you can go to a party, is to be honest with the person who invited you while still replying to the rsvp request.
Let them know that you would like to or are planning to go to the birthday party, but that you are not certain that you can.
While you do not need to give too many details, it is nice to be able to give a short explanation, and if possible, let them know when you will know by or ask when the latest they need to know by is.
You may find out that they don’t need a definite answer, or they might be able to extend the deadline for letting them know.
Here is an example of that situation:
Hi Mike, thank you for inviting me to your birthday party. I would love to attend, however I am not sure if I am able to get off work quite yet and will need to find out. When do you need to know by?
Hi Julie, this is Ann. Connor was excited to get the invitation for Sam’s birthday. Connor’s sister has a game that day out of town, and I’m not sure if we will be able to make it. We will certainly try our best! Please let me know if you need a definite answer.
How to reply to RSVP confirmation: Other special circumstances
What to do if you want to bring someone else to a party
Never just assume you have an open invitation to bring a guest with you.
For formal events such as weddings, it will typically be addressed to you and a guest if they have invited you to bring one.
With statewide capacity restrictions in effect, many parties and events are limited to a certain number of guests, making it essential that the person planning the party knows exactly who is coming.
If it is an outdoor birthday or a more casual celebration, there may be more room for flexibility. Also ask if it is ok to bring a friend, your family, siblings (if invited to a child’s party)
Family Invite vs. Individual child invite
If you get an invitation to a child’s birthday, one additional thing to take notice of is to check if the invite is intended for just your child (a parent drop off party) or if the family (parents/siblings etc) is also welcome to take part in the festivities.
- For younger children (typically around 6-7 years and younger, it is very common to have parents stay at the party.
- Older children often host a drop off party. If it is a family affair, such as a birthday bbq, then it might mean families are also able to join, however, you will want to double-check!
Due to capacity restrictions during the past year, the number of people who make an appearance at either an indoor or outdoor gathering now matters more than ever.
It is always safer to just ask if you are not sure if you should sit in on the event with your child, or if younger siblings are able to join as well.
How to let the party host know about special diets or needs
If you or one of your family members has a special diet or activity restriction, be sure to let the host know when RSVPing, especially if there is a serious allergy.
They typically want all guests to have a great party experience, and host etiquette is to make sure they have food or activities that are ok for those with special diets as well.
Note that this might be something separate for your child if they have an allergy to a party food—it may not be the same as the others—something to prepare your child for ahead of time!
What to do if you forgot to RSVP by the deadline
If you forgot to send in your RSVP by the deadline (or didn’t see the invite come home from school by that date), it is still always a good idea to reach out to the person once you realize it.
Be sure to include an apology—and perhaps a quick note about why it is late if it feels appropriate—and ask if it is still possible to RSVP. Never assume that there is still room, as with the space constrictions it might be possible they have invited a new guest in your place.
However, more often than not, it is likely there is still an opportunity for you to attend, or the deadline might have just been created in order to give the host a little head’s up about how many are attending.
What to do if you are unable to attend after RSVPing yes
Life happens and sometimes plans change. If you are no longer able to go to the party, always let the person throwing the party know not to expect you.
For more formal parties, this might impact final counts for food, seating charts or other activities. For casual affairs, it is polite to let them know you are not coming so they are not waiting for you on the day of the party.
A short call, text, or email is fine in this situation. If close, you can offer to celebrate another time.
Here is some sample wording you can use (just change the names and information to fit your situation):
Hi Julia, I am so sorry but it turns out we are no longer able to attend the party. We had something come up that we have to leave town for, and are sad to miss all the fun. I hope you have a great time, and maybe we can get together another time to celebrate.
Others ways to rescind your acceptance include:
- I regret to inform you that we are now unable to attend... (very formal)
- We have a personal matter that we have to deal with and won’t be able to make it to the party.
- I know I said we could come, but now it seems that we can’t.
- Unfortunately, we can no longer make it to the party. I hope that doesn’t put you in a bad spot guest-wise!
What to do if you are suddenly able to attend after responding NO
As mentioned in regards to RSVPing late, if you have already RSVP’d no, if you are suddenly available don’t just assume your spot on the guest list is still there.
If another guest has been invited in your place, there may not be room. Many places have strict headcounts especially during tighten restrictions, or the host may need to pay additional to ensure the right materials.
Being a Great Guest
You can set yourself up to be a great guest right from the starting by taking the time to figure out how to RSVP to a birthday party invitation, and making sure you do it on time.
This guide covered lots of situations and provided many different wording samples for replies—remember the main goal of an RSVP is simply to know who can attend, so that everyone is prepared and ready to have fun!
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