March 9, 2009 by Kailani  
Filed under random thoughts

Remember the dilemma I was having in regards to Girlie Girl’s upcoming birthday party? Well, I decided to follow your advice and had her invite only her closet friends. I agree that it would be more personal and fun to keep the party to just a limited group of good friends.

We sent out the invitations to 12 of her closest friends with the deadline to RSVP being March 7th. I gave them the option to call, text, or email me. Do you know how many responses I received? THREE! The rest never even bothered to let me know one way or the other.

With all the parties and showers I’ve planned over the years, I’ve noticed that this happens a lot. Why is it so hard for some people to just respond yes or no? Don’t they realize all the work that goes into planning a special event? There’s head counts, down payments, goody bags, favors, centerpieces, etc.

And because this is Girlie Girl’s school friends, I do not have phone numbers or emails to contact these families to see if they’re planning on attending. Should I just write little reminders and have Girlie Girl pass them out at school or should I just count on just the three attending?


About the author:
Owner and founder of An Island Life. Sharing my life as a mother to 3 wonderful daughters, working as a flight attendant, and living a blessed life in Hawaii.


44 Responses to “RSVP”
  1. Pamela says:

    How unfortunate (and rude, too)

    I have no idea what to do.

  2. Cat @ 3 Kids and Us says:

    You should definitely ask your daughter to remind them about RSVPing, or send a little note for their parents. You shouldn’t have to waste money over-preparing just in case.

  3. Roz says:

    I’ve also had the same experience for my daughter’s parties. I usually assume that they are not coming, if I’ve not heard from them by the RSVP deadline but I ask my daughter to ask the child just to make sure.

  4. Eryn says:

    This happened at our wedding, on my husband’s side. I sent out 50 invites on his side, and got 2 RSVPs. I think about 40 of the groups showed up.

    I even got the invites with the pre-addressed RSVP cards and stamped them for them! All they had to do was write down a number and pop it back in the mail! Arg!

    On my side, my mom could call and check in on (nag) people, so they all RSVPed lol

    If you are able, I think the safe bet is to plan for everyone that was invited to attend. Then you don’t end up with a girl you have no treats for. It’s okay to say “Well you should have RSVPed!” to an adult, but a kid’s not going to get it.

  5. AmyG says:

    In my experience, when it comes to inviting friends from school, those that respond will be the only ones that show. We had the same thing happen to us. It’s pretty annoying. I did have Em go back & just verbally ask the other kids, if they were coming (they weren’t), I wouldn’t waste more paper sending out reminders.

    I don’t know how many you were planning, but 3 is plenty. It will make it more intimate & less of a hassle. ;)

  6. Grace @ Sandier Pastures says:

    Can you believe this happened to my wedding party, with a slight difference. 80 people “promised” to come but only 50 showed up. Boy, we had lots of leftovers that day!!

    You should definitely follow up.

  7. pamela says:

    I would have her ask or send out reminders, they are her closest friends you said, if you don’t get a response only plan on who RSVP’d
    is there anyway she can get their phone numbers to who she reminds and they say they are coming but the parent didn’t RSVP? Just a thought, and if only 3 come have fun….

  8. Tonya says:

    We experienced something similar with the same amount of girls invited to a costly party….I sent reminders and/or called the parents directly. I hated to but we had to know who was coming or not coming and at least that way we could invite someone else who might really want to come.

    So, I would send little reminders.

    Lu’s party is coming up and we are going to the nail salon and to eat with a limited number of girls as well this year. We’ve only let her invite 7, knowing a few may not be able to go.

  9. Autumn @ My MoonBean says:

    I would definitely say Girlie Girl could ask them…chances are they know if they are coming. If you don’t have any luck there then I would send a note.

    How old is she going to be?? We have a bday party for a 7 year old this weekend and I amclueless as to what to get her! Any thoughts??

  10. Jennifer Clark says:

    The same thing happened to my son last month. We sent out 13 invites and only got 4 calls. Two saying they’d be there, and two couldn’t attend-very irritating especially since we did the party at the house. I made all the favors and games myself. On the upside, there were a few kids who brought him a birthday card or small gift the Friday before his party so he still felt ‘the love’. I would send a reminder note-I wished I did-maybe a few more kids would have attended. Silver lining? The three boys had a great time, maybe better than if the whole bunch had shown! Either way, don’t stress over it. I planned for 8 with provisions if more attended. I’m an inclusive person. I didn’t know if siblings would show up or if parents would stick around so I over-planned a bit but it all turned out okay! We played with the left over favors for another week after the party! Good Luck

  11. maria says:

    i swear, this is the main reason I am glad to be done with birthday parties. It has been my experience, no matter how many reminders, and phone calls you may or may not make, the result will be the same. Most of the time the parents will say “Tell so and so you will/ won’t be there ” and the message never gets to you. I usually planned on half the kids who didn’t RSVP to show up.

    Another trick is if parents pick up from school, just flat out ask them if they think they will be attneding when you see them.

  12. Michelle says:

    I just don’t understand why people can’t rsvp. It is so rude. I’d follow up.

  13. Naomi says:

    Wow, that is really lame! I would try to get phone numbers or emails from the teacher, if possible. But a reminder isn’t a bad idea, either. I’m just afraid it might not get out of the backpacks and into a parent’s hands on time.

  14. jodi @ bpr says:

    oh – that is so frustrating! I would have to confess that I recently was invited to a shower and totally missed the deadline to RSVP – it was on a Sat and I just had no idea what our plans would be that day. I felt so stupid when I got a follow-up email asking if I planned to attend!

  15. Summer says:

    I had this happen with an event recently, but with people I see at least once a week. I know they’re my friends but it’s frustrating to feel a lack of support when it comes to RSVPing.

  16. Anne says:

    I wonder if people even know what RSVP means anymore. I get the same thing, so I generally plan for the ones that actually let me know. If the other show up I make a point of saying Oh I didn’t think you were coming since you didn’t RSVP. lol

  17. Jill says:

    Ugh! I hate it when that happens! I was going to suggest using my time-honored trick of contacting people who have responded and asking if they need directions to the party location, but since you don’t have emails or phone numbers that’s tough to do. I think it’s reasonable to send a note through school to the families who haven’t responded. If there were only a couple of people who hadn’t responded I wouldn’t bother, but with that many, you could end up with a lot of unexpected guests.

  18. Deb - Mom of 3 Girls says:

    I just RSVP’d for a birthday party for Hannah yesterday – and I agree with you entirely. I rarely ever get RSVP’s for parties that we throw, and it’s so difficult to plan when you don’t know how many kids are coming! I noticed on the invitation that Hannah brought home from school, the birthday girl’s mom added a note asking everyone to please RSVP so she’ll know how many goodie bags, etc. to have – I think I’ll ask her at the party if that made any difference. :)

  19. Rach (Heart of Rachel) says:

    I think it won’t hurt if you follow up on them through notes passed on through your daughter in school.

  20. Sues2u2 says:

    Yep, count me in as one of the irritated too. I really like the suggestions to see if you can check out the parents during pick up time but also see if you could maybe send a little reminder asking if anyone needs directions.

    Good luck & please let us know how it turns out. Oh & yes, I do consider a cat who’ll walk around in bath water as it’s filling to have a special talent! lol

  21. BlapherMJ says:

    This is a real pet peeve of mine…. I cannot tell you how many times this has happened! I inevitably have several more kids show up than the ones whose parents actually rsvp’d…… Unfortunately that seems to be the way it goes… I hope it goes well!

  22. Holly Schwendiman says:

    That’s crappy. Sometimes I let that task slip on my to-do list by the requested date, but I still call or respond to let them know or ask if it’s too late. It’s not hard, even if you’re late. Grrrr.


  23. Muthering Heights says:

    That’s frustrating! RSVP-ing seems to be a forgotten courtesy anymore. Perhaps your daughter can ask the girls for their phone numbers so that you can call the parents…there’s a big difference between 3 and 12 kids!

  24. Casey Becher says:

    My twins’ teacher gave us all a contact list for the class so we can call each other directly. Could girly-girl’s teacher do that?

    Either way, I think it’s better to plan for too many kids than not enough. A child shouldn’t be penalized b/c her parent was lax in rsvping.

  25. Shelley K says:

    It really does seem that people are ruder these days, huh??? I say have Girlie Girl ask the girls if they are coming (a verbal should be ok–no sense wasting money or energy on “notes” for these people!!)

    I think as everyone else has said–plan for them to come ANYWAY (that is what I do if I don’t receive an RSVP–I just consider them coming until the very hour of the event!)

    Hang in there and I know that Girly Girl will have a wonderful party because she has the best Momma!!

  26. Mandee says:

    I have this problem a lot with any type of party….I am not sure why people do not RSVP anymore. The problem is you either buy enough things fot the RSVP guests and then extras show up and you do not have enough, or you spend money to buy enough for everyone and you have a ton of leftovers! I would send the little notes or habe Girlie Girl ask if they are coming and see what happens.

  27. Melissa says:

    I would have Girlie Girl ask the girls if they are coming. I know we had a few kids show up at Red’s party that hadn’t RSVP’d

  28. Jen E @ mommablogsalot says:

    Oh that is so aggravating! I think I’d have your daughter ask her friends personally – it shows them she really wants them to attend, and hopefully the kid will personally nag their parents to get in touch with you so they can go!

  29. Jackie says:

    How frustrating! My girls are teens now, but when they were younger, I always had them RSVP the day they got an invitation so they wouldnt forget to. My suggestion would be to have your daughter ask them in school if they are coming. Maybe when they mention it to their moms, they’ll RSVP.

  30. Christine says:

    Unfortunately people don’t care as much about Girly Girl’s party as you and GG do, so they aren’t going to put themselves out too much…if at all. It’s sad people can’t just take a second to be courteous.

    I think GG will just have to ask them in person and them hope she gets a straight answer.

  31. NerdMom says:

    I feel your pain! I have had some people think it means regrets only, some think only if they are coming and some people are rude and don’t care. I wouldn’t have Girly-Girl ask only because kids may say they are coming because they want to and not because they can. I would ask the teacher for a list of #’s and then over prepare.

    I use evites a lot and have been getting better counts.

  32. valmg says:

    I hate it when noone rsvp’s! We once had a party for one of the boys and only two boys had rsvp’d but six more showed up .

  33. Karen L says:

    This is one of pet peeves and sounds like it’s a common one for everyone. You know, I’ve had a lot of people tell them that they think RSVP means to only respond if you DON’t plan to attend…and others just ignore it all together. I’ve found that childrens birthday parties are the worst if you don’t personally know the parents. Many times the child doesn’t even bring the invitation home. I had my son invite everyone in his preschool class one year and only 1 person came. Turns out the teacher had put the invitations in the cubbies AFTER most of the kids had already gone home! Then they got buried under other stuff.

  34. Karen L says:

    Oh, another idea is to contact the ones who did RSVP and see if they have a phone number for any of the other kids. When I’ve called the ones who haven’t responded, about half of them ended up coming after all. No idea why they didn’t just RSVP to begin with!
    If the invites were passed out at school though, it’s very possible that many of them were not given to the parents.

  35. Kila says:

    Ugh, I’ve had this same problem with the parties we’ve had. I would send reminders to the parents. You’d be surprised, though, how many parents never check their kids’ schoolbags or notes, or how many divorced parents fail to mention parties to the other parent.

  36. VeRonda says:

    Hi!… I’d send a little reminder. I think thats normal. In these days when everyone’s busy, a reminder is usual because people just forget… they’re not being mean, it’s just life these days. It’ll be fine…

  37. Rosie Scribble says:

    This always happens to me too. I would assume that at least half will turn up. In my experience, parents put it in their diary – they just forget to tell you they are coming, so be prepared for extra.

  38. Melissa Markham says:

    I am so with you on this. My daughter is having a sleepover next month with an invite list of 24 people. We have received 7 responses so far and I have an RSVP date of the 20th, so I can plan appropriately. GRRR….

  39. Noreen says:

    We are dealing with this as today was the deadline to RSVP for Princess A’s party. I would have your daughter ask as that worked with one of the little girls. Luckly I have the numbers of the other 2 kids that have not RSVPed as one is the daughter of the room mother. You could also ask the room mom if she has numbers or emails but that would only work if the room mom/dad has a son or the daughter was invited. Last year 2 did not RSVP but they also did not show up,

  40. Lissete says:

    MAJOR pet peeve of mine! I would definitely send out little notes and be sure to tell them to let you kow either way. If they won’t be attending, you can invite other little girls. Geez, I can’t stand the rudies.

    Good luck with the party. I hope Girlie Girl has a good turnout.

  41. Michelle in Mx says:

    can you belive that? I’ve had a few parties lately and have been likewise dissapointed

  42. Pamela Kramer says:

    Well, what happened? lol – Did they show???

  43. jennifer says:

    I’m waiting to hear how it all turned out!


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