As ridiculous as it sometimes feels, even children have busy weekend schedules these days. The hustle and bustle has filtered down from the parents to the children and – as much as it frustrates me – the lack of communication, thanks to the sheer overwhelm of the constant beeping and pinging from mobile devices and emails that have us too frazzled to remember to write in our diaries that we have to RSVP to Johnny’s birthday party invitation. If you’ve sent out an invitation and gotten little to no feedback, I feel you. And here’s what to do when no one responds to your party invite.
As an aside: did you know that RSVP stands for Répondez S’il Vous Plait? That’s French for ‘please respond’. I didn’t. And, I mean, we said please, so are folks still so silent?
Y’all, legit. Remind them. Just like that pinging Apple calendar reminder or that alarm they set after a 90 minute block of work, people need someone to be their calendar to remind them to RSVP. Send a reminder one week before the RSVP date on your invitation to give them enough time to 1) check their message, first of all, and 2) reply. Because they might read it and then still not reply right away. Ain’t no shame in being like, ‘yoohoo, you haven’t gotten back to me’. In a nice, and understanding manner, of course.
Give Them Space
This one is more of how to first avoid that no one responds and also links up with the reminder. Check when you sent the invitation. Was it a week before the party, or a month before? People plan their lives weeks in advance these days, and need sufficient notice, because it isn’t only their diary, but now also their child’s that they have to take into account. If you want to give them even more time, in order to also give yourself space to send one or even two reminders, 6 weeks before the party is also good. However, if it gets too long before the time, it actually increases the chance of no one responding, because they think they have plenty of time to . . . and then they forget.
Another preventative measure, and perhaps a remedy for non-response, is to send a virtual invitation instead. People have started sending digital invitations via text in order to save costs on printing hard copy invitations, even for weddings. And if folks can do it for weddings, then I think it’s pretty okay to do it for your child’s birthday party. Plus, it goes directly to the parent and when you remind them later, there’s an existing thread. If you went hard copy and had your pumpkin hand invitations out at school, it may be that the children lost them or forgot to give them to their parents. So digital is always safer. You could even do both for good measure, if you wished, so that the children also had a chance to feel special in being invited.
Offer an Incentive for the Kids
When you remind them, add a layer to your message, such as ‘please remember to respond so that there’s enough pizza for everyone.’ According to Pamela Rutledge, a media psychologist, our brains respond to scarcity – and nobody wants to be left without pizza while everyone else is munching around them!
Offer an Incentive for the Adults
If you invite the parents, prompt them with ideas of mimosas or Bloody Mary’s and adult snacks – and lots of coffee. If parents feel like they have a space at the party too, then they’ll be more likely to respond sooner. It can be easy to get tired of watching the children have all the fun and have nothing to eat other than mini hotdogs and a juice box – just be sure they aren’t grabbing it from the kids and leaving them with nothing.
Get Your Child to Remind the Kids
Kids gab. So, why not just let nature take its course and let your child talk up the party to their friends, instead of trying to get them to stay mum out of fear of seeming pushy? Your child is most likely very excited and will naturally want to talk about the upcoming event with their peers. And if their friends are looking forward to it, they’ll start nagging their parents. I mean, why not?
What do You do When You Have People Show Up Unexpectedly?
What if, for all your efforts, some people just don’t respond . . . and then show up at your door? Knowing your numbers is important for catering and goodie bag purposes. Even though it might seem like a schlep, having a few extra goodie bags on hand, or extra snacks set aside goes a long way – having extra food is a good idea regardless, in case the kids are hungrier than you expect. You can always keep the extras aside in the kitchen until the food on the table runs out – and if it’s not needed then you have party leftovers and don’t have to think about food. Or you can send the guests home with snack bags, which people always love.
Peeps may show up unexpectedly, but the opposite is also true – folks may RSVP and then just not rock up on the day. If this does happen, they can hopefully balance each other out. Try not to let it ruin the day.
It can be super frustrating when people don’t respond to your invitation. As a parent, your first thought is to protect your child from the embarrassment of having no one respond – and that feeling doesn’t change as you get older! If your child asks, soothe them with ‘they have time to respond still, they’re very busy’, letting them know that people need space, but also teaching them about the common courtesy of being communicative and the discipline of diarizing items and actually executing them. There are many lessons to be learned when dealing with groups of people and mass communication. Patience is key!
Is it rude to RSVP and not show up?
Well, yeah. But sometimes people have legit reasons and an emergency that caught them off guard. Communication is key. Life does sometimes get in the way, but if either party can have grace, that goes a long way. However, just not showing because something better came along is never appropriate.
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