Monday, 6 September 2010

Party politics

I am the first to admit that I am no expert on etiquette. While some young ladies may have been learning deportment and how to deploy the silverware, I was more likely to be found in some low dive necking vodka, sucking on Marlboro reds and flirting with boys, but even I know that when you are invited to a party you should let the host know if you intend to turn up or not.

Well I guess there are some exceptions to this rule. Hideously drunken student revels do not require an RSVP as the more bodies necking lethal punch, snogging and vomiting in the garden the better is the best rule of thumb at those bashes. But in most other cases if someone is kind enough to invite you, or your offspring, to a party, then the least you can do is put pen to paper, or fingers to keypad, and reply, either in the positive or the negative.

But oddly, this little lifeskill seems to be one that many, many modern parents have simply skipped. Whenever I whizz out invites to my boys' birthday parties I will get some lovely parents who reply promptly, letting me know if their child can come or not. Then I get a few (who I will admit are more like me), who will let me know within a week or two of receiving the invitation. I think the latter is acceptable, as long as you give enough notice before the party.

But then there are those who simply don't say anything, leaving the hostess in a quandary as to what to do. Should I lay on food and party bags for all the non-replying guests, just in case they turn up on the day? After all I would hate for a child to go without sandwiches to chuck on the floor in favour of snorting up as many sugar-laden treats as they can lay their hands on. And I don't want to be faced with a weeping infant who is the only one not to go home with a party bag stuffed with plastic crap for them to instantly lose down the back of the car seat on their way home.

That said if their parents haven't got the common courtesy to simply let one know if their child is going to turn up or not, perhaps being left out would be a useful life lesson to learn - for the parents at the very least.

I think that perhaps one year I should employ a doorman with a list of those children whose parents haven't bothered to let me know they are coming. He could scan his clipboard and halt all the offenders at the door with a curt "You're name's not down, you're not coming in".

Sadly I suspect that such hard line tactics might lead to a slump in popularity for my poor boys. So it looks like I will just have to grin and bear it, and make sure I have a stash of spare party bags and sandwiches, just like every other year.


  1. This sounds familiar! I've often wondered how people can be so rude. So far my experience has been that those that don't reply don't actually come (maybe this is just a coincidence?), so in future I'm definitely going for the ruthless option!

  2. I read a cunning hint on how to deal with rude non-RSVPers, which was to give out invitations that don't give many details. Eg: 'we are going swimming the afternoon of the 6th September. Please ask your mummy to ring mine on XXX for details'.
    I am so upset at the idea of people not RSVPing that I have already mentally clocked this and intend to do it, even though my eldest is only 2!

  3. I had this problem for Littleboy 1's party in May. Eventually I resorted to ringing them all up and asking - this resulted in replies from most, although 2 people still never replied. I didn't provide party bags for them, though - if they had turned up I would have given them pretty short shrift.....

    I do think people are unbelievably rude though. It takes 2 minutes to reply, especially via email.

  4. Can you do a quick ring-round? "Sorry to be a nuisance, but I'm just doing numbers for X's party, and I'm wondering if Y is going to be able to be there."

    It IS very annoying when people don't reply. I like Anonymous's cunning hint.