"If you’ve sent an RSVP saying you’ll be at the event, you are obligated to go. If something better or more interesting comes along after you’ve agreed to attend the first event, too bad. Cancelling an RSVP without a good reason is bad form and rude, so if you do this, don’t expect the host to ever invite you to anything again."
Debbie Mayne, About.com Guide
Here is how to RSVP-
1- Receive RSVP in mail
2- Open and review date/time/location of event
3- Review calendar for availability
4- Respond accordingly
5- Attend event that you RSVP'd for, regardless of whether something better, different or more fun comes along.
The response time for RSVP's is 24 hours. Yes, I know that most people are shocked to hear that but yes, 24 hours. If you review the instructions above, you'll note that these task should only take about 2 minutes, so 24 hours isn't unreasonable.
We all know if we are/are not available for something by looking at a calendar and reviewing our obligations. It really is that simple. Even if the RSVP date is weeks away, you can respond sooner, I'm certain that your event host will be thrilled to hear from you sooner.
Why and where did things go so wrong with people's ability to RSVP?
Consider this- A bride is planning one of the biggest days of her life and she has thought enough to include you in this big day. Why are you uncertain about attending? Do you have an obligation? Then, immediately and politely decline. You don't have to give a reason but you certainly should give an answer.
When a bride is planning her guest list she has to consider the money she is spending and she has considered that YOU were important enough to include, to pay for and to send an invite out to. The invite alone cost anywhere from $5-$20 dollars, then she's agreed that you are important enough to pay anywhere from $50-$200 for your meal and possibly your guest. Considering how much she values your attendance, you should make this a priority.
Now that you've managed to say yes, you do have to show up. On the day of the event, the money has been spent, the seat, the arrangements and the settings are all there, ready for you. You can have no valid excuse (outside of illness, death and unexpected work obligations...read that again OBLIGATIONS) to not attend.
If you had a hair appointment scheduled, would you miss it?
If you had a golf tee time with a group of friends, would you just skip out on it to stay home?
If you had a doctors appointment, would you just ignore it as it approached?
Did you answer no to any of these questions? Well then you obviously know how to prioritize and stick to a schedule and you have no excuse for missing someone's big day.
So, go through your mail, RIGHT NOW, find any invites you have been putting off responding to and sit down with your planner and decide. If the person who has invited you isn't important enough to make a commitment to, then say no now and don't waste their time.
Let's bring back the dying art of common decency, politeness and prompt responses to request from friends and family.