Are people really that rude that they think it’s fine to not reply to children’s birthday party invitations? Or that they don’t respond but then turn up anyway….possibly with extra siblings in tow who weren’t invited?
We’re in the planning stages for N’s joint birthday party. But invitations (in general not just children’s birthday parties) and the lack of etiquette around them is a real bugbear of mine.
My first experience of inconsiderate replying to invitations was my wedding.
Admittedly we’re talking 12 years ago, so fewer people had mobile phones, but there’s really no excuse when there’s a phone, email or letter option. With our invites, we even included a labelled postcard for replying, so all they had to do was tick a box to say yes or no, stick a stamp on and post it. Even then we had to chase some people.
Impoliteness in my view:
- Not replying at all
- Not replying then turning up (with or without people who weren’t named on the invite)
- Replying to say yes then not contacting the host to say you’re no longer coming.
My view is that if people don’t reply, they’re not coming, I don’t cater for them, and I can invite other people in your place. If you then turn up, it’s extra cost, hassle, and embarrassment – and you’d probably be oblivious to that if you don’t care about replying in the first place.
With children’s birthday parties, just because it’s a kids party doesn’t mean you don’t rsvp. Especially in this day and age, where everyone has mobiles, email and many use social media. There’s really no excuse (unless of course you’re on a 2 month sabbatical, don’t get the invite thanks to the dog or child chewing it up, you’re in hospital, or have major life issues going on where you’ve no contact with anyone who could pass on a message).
I think I’ve been lucky up until now. Last year’s ‘non-birthday’ party, we only had 2 non-responses, neither of whom turned up. So I’m assuming that the one of those people being invited this year, won’t reply or come again. But at least we’ll have a better guess on the outcome. I’ve also not had people turning up with siblings so far. Well, 2 people who asked because of last minute childcare, and it turned out to be fine for their toddlers to come along, with them just being casual at home/outdoors parties.
But the experiences of other mums have disgusted me. Stories of 20+ kids being invited but only 7 or 8 responses. The worst was nearly 30 invites given out, 7/8 responses but then 15 turning up. You can’t manage that much difference to the number you think are coming
After hearing such horror stories and more about rsvp issues that friends have experienced, I’m wondering if our party invitees will be any politer. I’d like to think so.
I think the odds are weighed in our favour. Assuming everyone gets the invites, even if we don’t see the parents at school drop off or pick up, we’re able to follow up by text or email because of the year class list the school provides for these purposes. There’s also 2 mums to hassle, as well as N’s friend’s dad who does a lot of the school runs.
My reasons why you should reply
1. It’s rude
2. It’ll annoy the parents, potentially upset the birthday child, and potentially mean people will stop inviting you in future
3. It’s inconvenient. Parties take planning, many are paid for and organised on the basis of a set number. If extras turn up they might not be catered for in the activity, space or food.
4. It’s hard to plan…for food, costs, space and activity provision
5. It can mean more waste. If parents always have to presume more may turn up than have responded, they may over cater food just in case and end up with lots going spare.
We’ve also had debates in the past about mentioning siblings or not. I’m of the view that people aren’t stupid and should be aware that if there’s one name on the invite, then that’s the person who’s invited. Not like in the case of our wedding where one couple didn’t reply, but then turned up with a school age child in tow…to an evening reception. Rude and not appropriate. If this was a children’s party and there’s age specific activities, there could end up being one very upset sibling at not being able to join in or parents being charged an additional cost for an extra child.
You could state it on the invite, but it’s really hard to write so it doesn’t sound rude. Yes, sometimes there’s childcare issues if only one child is invited to a party where the age means parents would likely stay to chaperone, but the not replying doesn’t help try and find a solution. Obviously I would expect that any babes in arms would be brought along if the parent was staying during the party.
Just one of my party etiquette bugbears. I’m just hoping we get a clean sweep of rsvps, and all will be calm.
Until of course I despair at the number of boys charging round a room fuelled on party exuberance.
If you’re not sure how to do things the right way, then do check out my post on how to accept, decline or send birthday party invitations.
What’s your experience of getting party rsvps back? Have you had any embarrassing moments with surprise attendees? Or are you a non-replier?
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