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EnviroBecca 06-17-2012 07:37 PM

My son was born on Christmas Eve, so we have his party for his half-birthday. This was explained on the invitations, which were mailed 8 days ago, except for the one kid who has no info listed in the school directory; my son gave hers to her in the morning before school 6 days ago. Invitations said RSVP and gave both phone number and email address. The party is coming up this Saturday.

We have not heard from even one of the 8 kids, either yes or no. School is over, so my son can't ask them at school.

What do I do?

I am inclined to wait until maybe Tuesday and then email the parents saying something like, "We have not heard from any of you whether or not your children will be coming to Nicholas's party on Saturday. [Time and location] We would like to know whether to cancel the party. PLEASE get back to us by Thursday!" I feel very weird about doing this, though, mainly because I am freaked out by it even being necessary. Last year, everybody RSVP'd except one kid, who didn't come and then his mom emailed me weeks later saying they had misplaced the invitation.

We are really hoping to avoid having our son get all excited about his party and all of us work to get ready for it, and then having nobody show up!!

But if we cancel the party, we have no way of getting that information to two of the invited guests: the girl above with no info in the directory, and another whose mailing address is still good as far as we know, but her grandma never had email and her phone number had been switched to another person last time my son tried to invite the girl over to play. This girl lives with her grandma at the farthest point of the school's attendance area, so to come over here they have to take two buses, and I hate to have them make that trip only to find out we canceled the party--but what else can I do, if they don't reply to the invitation??

We would continue with the party plans for even one guest; they can still eat cake and play. But 2 people eating at a table set for 9 can't help feeling let down, you know?

One_Girl 06-17-2012 07:54 PM

I would send a reminder email but a gentler one using a free birthday invitation site online. That is what I did for my dd's birthday, it said reminder then gave the day, time, place, and rsvp information again.

tropicana 06-17-2012 09:26 PM

it's summer and people are busy. 


i would CALL and talk personally with each parent, starting with the ones you really hope can come. take the time to do this. it is better than an email BIG TIME. 


i would not necessarily point out that you are considering cancelling the party. see if you can get at least three or four people coming. if it is viewed as a great time, more people will want to come, right?

LitMom 06-17-2012 10:13 PM

I would call and ensure at least a few are coming. I wouldn't comment on no one RSVPing in a snarky way. If you call them up, they know it's because they didn't RSVP. As long as they are, I would just set the table for the number of people you know are coming and add place settings as needed. Kids usually want to run around for a while first anyway.

Linda on the move 06-17-2012 11:04 PM

I agree about calling, making it really personal, and not talking about other people RSVPing (or not).


People tend to RSVP late -- like the day before and the day of.

Youngfrankenstein 06-18-2012 05:52 AM

Originally Posted by tropicana View Post

it's summer and people are busy. 


i would CALL and talk personally with each parent, starting with the ones you really hope can come. take the time to do this. it is better than an email BIG TIME. 


i would not necessarily point out that you are considering cancelling the party. see if you can get at least three or four people coming. if it is viewed as a great time, more people will want to come, right?

This exactly!  My DS2 has a Jan 1st birthday.  We tried a party on his birthday one year and no one came at all.  Reflecting on the timing, which we knew was iffy, I should have called everyone.  Those invitations went home just before holiday break and the kids I was expecting to deliver them were 9 or ten at the time.


My neighbor called the next day to ask what time the party was.  She had just assumed it wouldn't be on the holiday!


Call!  I wish I would have.   That was such a horrible day.

Neera 06-18-2012 07:21 AM

I had similar anxiety for dd's bday this year. Looking back I am never going to do just the school kids. She has a couple of friends where we lived before, some, where we live at present. A couple of cousins. I wouldn't want to rely on just the school crowd because I didn't really know, know most of the parents. And when it is a school thing people tend to be a little lax and write like at the last minute or after the RSVP date. One kid showed up without an rsvp. And some never replied and never came. I didn't have anyone's phone # or email to follow up so I started to ask them at pick up/drop off time. Sorry, I am not much help but I agree with the pp who suggested calling. Dh said that if noone rsvped we'd cut the cake along with grandparents and go out for dinner instead.

EnviroBecca 06-18-2012 08:53 AM

Sounds like calling is the better approach for kids whose phone numbers we have, which is about half.  A lot of families have only email and/or mailing address in the school directory.  But I can see how it would be more polite to email individually the parents I can't call, rather than send a mass email chiding the group for lack of manners!


I wish I'd had better opportunities to get to know his friends' parents.  Some friends take the school bus, some walk with older siblings, a few have parents who walk or drive them to school but then leave immediately.  I was practically the only first-grade parent hanging around until the bell rang.  (My son informed me that he "needed" me to walk him to his classroom in first grade, but in second grade I can say goodbye as soon as we get to school.)  His dad does afternoon pickup.  At the school carnival I was looking for his friends hoping to exchange contact info with their parents but had no luck.


Neera, thanks for mentioning having cake anyway if nobody shows up!  We can do that.  No grandparents in town, but we could invite a few family friends.


I think next time we'll put "RSVP by [date]" on the invitations.  My friend has been doing that because her kids have venue parties with a deadline to let the venue know how many are coming.  We're having this party at our house, but still, we buy some things in advance.

SunRise 06-18-2012 09:42 AM

Definitely don't cancel. GO forward with the party for your son. Those who show will celebrate with you. Eat cake, blow bubbles, hang out. I have noticed that birthday invites are more casual the older my son gets. Some parents call a few days before to invite us to a casual bday party / BBQ at their house. Calling to get a head count is fine.

Neera 06-18-2012 01:05 PM

You're welcome Enviro. Yeah, a mass email may not be a good idea. For the ones who reply in the affirmative, try and get their phone #s so that you can give them updates if need be. Even if it is summer and there are things going on there are going to be days that kids have nothing to do or they can move dates. Most kids don't want to miss parties so good luck.

tbone_kneegrabber 06-18-2012 01:35 PM

I think you could do a mass email (minus the snark about no one responding) as long as you BCC everyone so others don't see who was emailed and then don't get all the replies that they don't need or just copy and paste the email to each recipient.  "Hey haven't heard whether or not you'll be coming to Ds's bday party (Date/time) we just want to make sure we have enough snacks/cake/goodies for everyone, so please let me know either way if you can come or not. Look forward to seeing you...."  Its actually one of the reason I love using Evite because Evite automatically sends a reminder invitation to everyone you invited!


Then call the folks you know the numbers for.


ETA  most folks we know do evites and then very often people don't RSVP because they don't know until that day whether or not they are coming so then they show up or not depending.  However, we've mostly only gone to park/house/picnic style parties and usually everyone from school (preschool) is invited, their parents, and their siblings. 

MilkyWayMom 06-18-2012 11:51 PM

Does the directory have phone numbers? 


I would make phone calls directly to folks the day the RSVP was due by. Make it polite and make it about them. Let them know you are making goodie bags and want to make sure that their child is not left out of the treats. OR if you are not doing gooie bags, say that you are going to be doing the shopping for food and want to make sure there is plenty for all. you get the idea.... make it about you wanting to be a good hostess. 


I just did a pool party where I needed a headcount so the pool manager could have enough lifeguards on duty. So for those did not RSVP by the due date, I called them (or texted) and said that I please needed a head count for the lifeguards to ensure everyone's safety.  

purplerose 06-21-2012 02:24 PM

i can not stand when people don't rsvp. this happens every party i've had. my own mom won't rsvp. i hate tracking down every single person so i'll know how much food. it is easier as they get older, then it's more of a hanging-out thing and someone can run out for pizzas or something after it's been going awhile. my 9 year old wants a skate party this year, it'll be our first non-homemade party in my 17 years of parenting and i dread the rsvp issue.

lilyrn11 06-22-2012 01:40 AM

I am sorry. That really is so rude. I always try to rsvp right away. This is why I only do family birthday parties for the kids and then if they want they can have a playdate with one of their friends another day. I remember planning a party for my little cousin before I had kids. I spent so much money and time and planning her big day and then no one rsvpd and then no one showed up. She was so sad. I was so upset. Maybe try and call some of the parents to see if they are coming. I am sorry :(

EnviroBecca 06-25-2012 10:08 AM

We had a nice little party with the 3 kids whose parents eventually RSVP'd.  (We also heard from one mom that her kid could not come.)  I had trouble finding good times to call people because, with my partner sick AND having to go to court (he was a victim of a minor assault and is pressing charges), I had to do more parenting and cooking than usual but couldn't take any time off work due to a deadline, so most days 3-10pm I was racing around getting my kid from day camp, trying to finish my work for the day with him in my office, getting us home, trying to get everything done before his bedtime, and failing so that he ended up staying up late and being difficult to get to bed--and then it was too late to call!  But I did get emails from some of the parents 2-4 days before the party.  There were enough guests to satisfy my son, and we were basically ready for them, so it all worked out in the end.  We even happened to buy more birthday candles on a whim (thinking that the ones we had seemed pretty short on my birthday) and it's a good thing we did because when we were cleaning later that evening, we found mouse poop in our box of old candles!!!




Next year, I will try asking for RSVPs by a certain date.  It's really so much easier for me if I can do most the party planning and shopping the weekend before, because I have a full-time job and I'm the primary grocery shopper and bedtime parent in our family.  My son loves to come to the store with me and has a big fit if Daddy puts him to bed while I'm going to the store--and I'd rather shop on the weekend myself.


Thanks for the advice!  Boy, next time my kid or I get invited to something, I'm going to be super-diligent about the RSVP.

parsley 06-26-2012 05:48 AM

So glad it worked out!  And Happy Birthday to your son :)


I have also become super vigilant about rsvp-ing early.  I've started trying to do it the day we get the invite for a kids party.  I've now had a few experiences where people don't RSVP until the last minute and knowing how crazy that makes me I vowed to never do the same to another parent. 


I do wonder if some people don't understand that RSVP means "respond, please" not "respond only if you are coming".  I think I might write something like, "Please let us know that you got the invite by date!" for birthday parties next year :)

Luckiestgirl 06-27-2012 01:43 PM

This is usually an issue for us, and it  I always end up doing the follow-up calls/Facebook messages.  I usually explain that we need to know how many lanes to reserve, make sure we have enough favors, or whatever. 


I think it's very rude to make it a habit of responding the day before or not at all.  Sure, we all do this once in a while if things sneak up on us, but to make a habit of it?  It's really stressful for kids when it's the day before the party and you can't even tell them who, if anyone, is coming.

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