Party Manners: The Problem of RSVPs

For every party, there are parents who don’t respond to your invitation and then don’t attend the party, or who don’t respond and then do show up. Either scenario presents a planning problem.

Here’s a story from the trenches: one of my friends was hosting a 6th birthday party for her daughter. Grandparents arrived with their twin granddaughters (not mine, I promise). Grandma mentioned that Twin A had been throwing up that morning but she hated for her to miss the party. Eew! Cheers for my friend who very nicely told the grandparents that they couldn’t stay and pass their germs to all the other guests. And no, this family had not RSVPed.

My rule is: if the party is four days away and I haven’t heard from someone, I call. My excuse (not that I need one) is that “I’m trying to finalize goody bags and I’m hoping little Susie Q will be able to make it to the party.”

If I still can’t get a confirmation, I plan for invitees to arrive anyway. I’d much rather over plan and spend a little extra than have to scramble at the last minute. (This is just one more reason I like at-home parties: if you pay for extras at a facility, you’ll spend much more than you would at a home-based party.)

I wish I had a solution that would guarantee all invitees would RSVP. Do you think “Please Reply by DATE” would be more effective than “RSVP”? Is it too demanding sounding? I’d love to hear your ideas on this Party Manners topic.

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