The thing I hate most about party planning – the RSVP

Throwing a party for your child can be a lot of work. I don’t mind the actual party or even the planning of my kids’ parties. In fact, I love designing their invitations. What I hate is waiting for people to RSVP.

alexa 6 invitationNowadays, so many people don’t RSVP, or they wait until the last minute. I invited 14 girls to Lexie’s birthday party at the beginning of the month. Three days before the party, I was still missing more than two-thirds of the RSVPs.

By the time of the actual RSVP deadline, I had heard from 65% of the attendees. In the past, I have ended up sending out a reminder to parents I have not heard from.

“Hi – Lexie’s birthday party is this Saturday. I know she would love (insert child’s name) to come her party. We hope you can make it.”

This typically gets me some extra responses, which are most often a “No. We can’t make it” but does garner a few “Oh. I meant to RSVP.” For Lexie’s party, I didn’t resort to sending emails as I had eight girls coming and decided not to bother with garnering responses from the others. I just sometimes don’t know why people don’t RSVP to parties or wait to the last minute. Are they waiting for something better to come up?

I only received two “No. We can’t make it” messages. I think people really don’t think they need to send a “no” reply. I admit there have been times that I don’t send my regrets when we receive an invitation. Of course, with Lexie’s party, I was a little nervous. Days after we had passed out the invitation, I saw a few of the kids walking around with the invitations at school. I began to worry that the invitations weren’t going to make it to their parents.

As it turned out, I had eight girls scheduled to come but only five of them actually showed up. One girl was sick the two days preceding the party, and I had spoken with her mom about the possibility that she might not be there. The other two were just no shows. This, in my opinion, can be as bad as people not RSVPing and showing up to a party. We had planned for those girls to be there. We had goodie bags ready for them and depending on the party place, sometimes you have to pay for those you say are coming whether they show up or not. Luckily, Chuck E Cheese gives you up to 4 no shows, so I only paid for the kids who actually attended.

For me the worst part is just waiting for those RSVPs. Because so many people do it at the last minute, I end up worrying that we won’t have a good attendance at the party. I think this fear that no one will show up is what has kept my husband and I from throwing our own parties. Of course now that we have kids, parties for them are inevitable.

I know parties aren’t supposed to be a popularity contest, but it is almost impossible for it not to be. It is hard when you go to one party, and nearly every kid invited shows up and at your party, you get only five kids.  I don’t know why there is such a difference in attendance. Maybe it has nothing to do with popularity, and some parties are just at better, more convenient times. I do know that when Jase turned 5, he had very few kids from his class come to his party. He didn’t care. He had a blast.

As for me, I just want people to respond to those RSVPs!

This is the second in a three-part birthday series. Last week was birthdays that fall during a holiday or vacation. Next week – searching for that impossible to find gift. 

5 thoughts on “The thing I hate most about party planning – the RSVP

  1. YES! Emily Post is probably turning in her grave! Why do so many people think it’s ok to just not respond?

  2. Joan Lindgren says:

    Very rude. It’s happening not with just children’s parties, but everywhere. It only takes a minute to respond so that the hostess can make appropriate plans.

  3. gapark says:

    I hear you! it’s the not knowing that is the hard part. stressful! I’m part of the A-Z challenge and am enjoying browsing and hopping around visiting bloggers!

  4. With so many families on tight budgets, planning a themed party involving decorations, favors and locations really does require early RSVPing so you can get the most for your money. Problem is now a days, everyone is so busy, that the mail is often not looked at until several days after it arrives. I find more people more concerned with their email, Facebook and smart devices. Thanks for the insightful article.

  5. Joan says:

    I actually have no issue with people who don’t respond, as it’s pretty obvious they aren’t coming. You’d have to be a complete jerk to not RSVP and still show up. I wonder how often that really happens. I get invitations to get-togethers for anything from cocktails with my last realtor to baby showers of people I barely knew in high school. I may not reply if I am one of the masses invited to something, but for smaller things I do, if I feel I was purposefully invited.

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