So, you’re throwing a party?!
We all know the feeling. It sets in after you’ve planned a spectacular party. Once you’ve picked a theme, set a date, and sent out the invites, the feeling of dread washes over you. What if more people come than expected and you run out of food?! What if you make too much food?
Or, worse yet, what if no one shows up at all!!!
We’ve all been there whether it’s your kid’s birthday party, your yearly Superbowl get-together, or simply a girls’ night out on the town. It’s not a fun feeling—and parties should be fun! So, here are my best tips for ensuring that people not only RSVP for your shindig, but they actually show up and have a great time!
DAY and DATE
Give the invited person both the DAY and DATE deadline when you expect them to RSVP. We all have a lot going on in our lives and the person is more likely to remember to call you “by Friday” than she is to remember to call you “by the 5th”.
On the invitation, give them at least two ways to contact you. Some people hate talking on the phone, but others still do like an old-fashioned phone call! Let’s face it, if you don’t know the person well, a phone call can be a bit awkward. A quick note in the RSVP section will let them know what is an acceptable form of communication and you both will be comfortable with the exchange.
Tell Them WHY!
Tell them why you need their response! This is especially important if you are throwing a kid’s party. Nothing scares a mommy more than thinking her kid may be the only one without a favor bag or cupcake! So, gently remind the person “Hey, I am providing food, so it would be nice to know how much to have on hand!” or “Little Sally will be devastated if she’s the only one without a candy bag, so let me know if she’s coming or not!” or “I have a clown coming that will only paint 10 faces for the price we paid, so I need to know if I need to have more cash on hand for extra children.” (Well, maybe word it a bit more gently than that, but you get the idea! HaHa)
BONUS TIP: If you expect your guests to contribute to the party in some way, use the RSVP as an opportunity to convey that message.
YES or NO
In the invitation, make it clear that you expect a reply whether they are attending the event or if they have to decline the offer. Some people literally do not know what RSVP means. (Répondez s’il vous plait = Respond, please!) Some think you only have to reply if you are, in fact, attending the event. So, for those unfortunate souls who know no better, make it very clear that you need a response either way.
“With your RSVP, let me know what dish you will be making!”
(Or how many guests you’re bringing, dietary restrictions etc.)
When planning your party timeline, make sure to give people plenty of time to RSVP…. but not too much time. Sounds like a lose/lose situation, right? Well, it’s true, it is a fine balance between too much time to RSVP (people will simply put it off and forget about it) and too little time (people may not know whether they are able to attend right away). So, I usually send the invitations out about a month before the event, but I set the RSVP date two weeks before the event. This gives people two weeks to check their schedules and get back to you about it.
Now, I must throw some tough love at you! Ultimately, it is YOUR responsibility to get as many RSVPs as possible. It is never going to work out perfectly, but following these tips will ensure you get more RSVPs than ever before! If it gets to your RSVP date and you still have a handful of people you haven’t heard from, pick up the phone and give them a call! It is possible that the party just slipped their mind and they need your gentle reminder to be polite and RSVP. If you see someone you invited in real life, say “Hey, girl! How are you? Are y’all able to come to our cookout Saturday?!” Don’t be afraid to speak up about it! (It never hurts to also let them know what a fabulous party it’s going to be, and what they’d be missing if they didn’t show up!)
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