Sunday, May 15, 2011

RSVP - The dying art?

I try not to write too many posts that are just straight-out whines on this blog. There is so much that is beautiful in this life, so much to celebrate, that it just seems like a waste to spend a lot of time grumping about the small stuff.

This can be considered an exception ;-)

My second-born daughter has a 6th birthday coming up very soon. As it's her first year of school, I offered her two parties - one with friends at a venue of her choice (she chose a local playcentre) and one with family & family friends at home. The invitations for both parties were distributed about 10 days ago.

The family / home party will take place in 6 days - next Saturday. I invited 23 people in all to that party; it is designed to be a small, relaxed afternoon tea. How many of those people have replied to let me know whether they're coming?


(No, I'm wrong ... 8. Just recalled that my MIL told me she's coming on Tuesday afternoon when we were over there).

I want to plan the food I'm going to make, I need to shop for it today and prepare it mostly Monday and Tuesday as the back half of the week is excrutiating already. It makes a fairly material difference to these plans to know whether I am catering for 8 guests plus our family, or 23 guests. I feel a little diffident nudging people for replies, but I'm going to have to do just that, or else risk either over- or under-catering.

As for her playcentre party, scheduled for the Saturday after, she's invited (gulp) 25 kids to that one - she wanted to include a lot of people from school, and also felt very strongly that she wanted some of her gymnastics friends there. I grant that it is still further away in time - almost 2 weeks still - and people may be planning to RSVP this week. However, 10 days after invitations went out, I have replies from 4 children, 3 of them from the same family (ie only 2 families have replied).

My past experiences with past kids' parties lead me to believe that most people who are going to reply unprompted do so within the first week. If I was a guessing person, I'd say I'll get maybe 6-8 more replies before I have to start chasing them up. In the case of a playcentre, I will need to tell the venue 5 days beforehand how many children will be there, and that is how many I'll be charged for. So inevitably I'll be spending time late this week and early next week chasing up replies from people who haven't told me their intentions yet.

Am I being ridiculous about this? Is RSVP so last century or something? Honestly, it would never occur to me not to reply one way or the other to a party invitation - it just seems common courtesy to me. Perhaps I'm out of step on this though (it wouldn't be the first time!)

Does anyone else have a problem with RSVPs? If so, how do you handle it?


  1. It's important. Especially if you need numbers. I agree though it is a dying art and even if they do RSVP half the kids either don't turn up or forget. I hope your poppet has a great birthday. You just reminded me too that we need to RSVP to a party. Thanks

  2. Oh gosh this is a pet hate of mine too. We had a similar issue with My 6yo's playcentre party in April. Luckily I got SMS rsvp's as late as 10pm the day before and I didn't have to pay until the day.

    One didn't RSVP at all, and didn't show up. It's not that hard to say sorry, we can't make it.

    That said another parent asked me if my girl had been invited to the party of a good friend of hers. I said no and was a bit surprised so I asked her if anything was going on with her and the other child. Turns out she had received an invitation and put it 'somewhere safe' then forgotten to tell me about it! Embarrassing!

  3. It is frustrating, I now include me email address, mobile number (with note it is okay to SMS an RSVP) and home phone number. On party invitations.

    For annie's birthday she wanted to go to the movies with two friends. Granted it was not a party as such, but I did send a note home to the parents advising time to meet etc. Neither got back to me, I was chasing them up the day before the movies. Had visions of standing outside the cinema with annie and neither of her friends being there.

  4. Oh, I do that too, Marita - home, mobile and email details were on the invites! So far, one Mum SMSed her acceptance and the other told me in the playground.

  5. Kate - the lost invitation. Whoooops! That's happened to us once, too. That's why my first reminder will be gentle, to allow for that possibility.

  6. Oh rats. Sorry - I'm one of the non-repliers. It *is* discourteous not to RSVP. My apologies.

  7. Hi,

    I was trying to figure out where you're located, because I was hoping that the "no RSVP" trend was more localized to the west coast over the past 5-10 years... I'm thinking not.

    I don't have kids (found you from a baking blog) but--big pet peeve of mine, and I don't consider it a "small" thing at all! Especially if the kids are young, I imagine it's disappointing to them to think that their friends might not want to come (but then again, they might show up after all). I've heard comments from adult non-RSVPers that they don't want to commit because something better might come up in lieu of my event. Yes! They've had the guts to tell me that in person.

    So, I'm grateful for a kindred spirit or two... :)

  8. Aha! You saved me from writing the post. Funny, I also found some family members would wait until the very final minute to tell me and always sensed either hedging bets or trying to come up with a good excuse. But with other family members I didn't mind bugging - that sort of relationship. With friends, esp my situation this weekend, is trickier as I don't know all the parents (is a preschool and day care so some I never see). I did get the preschool to give me email and phone numbers ystday and will send out a few polite messages tomorrow.