There is an exciting event coming up… and you are planning a party!
You took to Pinterest and saved dozens of lovely photos, decoration DIYs, and tasty menu ideas. You then spent hours perfecting your menu, crafting those photo worthy decorations, and preparing the house like it was to be featured in a magazine.
You sent out the invitations, and heard back from twenty people who seemed excited to attend! You bought enough food and beverages for thirty people because, of course, your guests deserve the best and should want for nothing! Everything is perfect and you’re sure that your guests will have a great time.
You’re proud of your accomplishments, excited to entertain, and cannot wait for everyone to show up!
But here’s the thing: only half of the people you were expecting actually do show up.
It’s still a great party. Your hard work is still admired. You loved having those ten people who did show up there to celebrate with you. You laughed, you ate, you had a great time.
But, not so deep down, you are also a little hurt. Not only because you spent your hard earned money on food for people who didn’t bother to show up, but because it just stings a little when your friends say that they’ll join you for a fun evening, but then change their mind without so much as a word.
Why would your friends do that?
You can probably tell by reading this that I’m telling this story from first hand experience. My husband and I threw a party much like this one. I decorated and cleaned, we bought enough food for a small army, and we were really looking forward to entertaining our friends. Unfortunately though, not everything went as perfectly as I had hoped. Only half of the people who RSVP’d showed up.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not bitter or angry. I’m not wallowing in self pity about why people didn’t come to our party. I don’t hate the people who didn’t come; I’m sure they had legitimate reasons (at least in their mind). I’m pretty much over it. But it doesn’t change the fact that we found it hurtful and, quite frankly, just impolite.
So, to turn this situation into a more positive one, I decided to make it a learning experience. I thought I’d write some reasons, a little refresher in basic etiquette if you will, why it is so important to not only respond to invitations, but to follow through with that response. Call me Jennifer Post 😉
Rule #1: If you are given an invitation, please respond
This seems like common sense, right? If someone is kind enough to send you an invitation, then you should be kind enough to respond. This applies to responses of both “gladly, yes” and “regretfully, no”. When I sent out our wedding invitations, I was shocked at the number of people who didn’t respond. That makes it very difficult to do any type of planning. Besides, don’t you think it’s a bit harsh to just ignore someone’s invitation?
Rule #2: Don’t think that electronic invitation necessarily equates to loose invitation
Am I the only who’s noticed the “I RSVP’d on Facebook, but that response is only tentative and doesn’t really matter” mentality that some people have? You know, the ones who respond “yes” to everything but never actually show up? Y’all, electronic invitations, like those on Facebook, are the exact same as traditional invitations! True, they are less formal, but they serve exactly the same purpose: hosts need to know if they should plan on you coming or not! I even dislike the “maybe” button on Facebook invitations. Just make a decision and inform the host of your plans.
Rule #3: Do not reply “yes” loosely either
The purpose of RSVPs is to inform hosts if you are in fact attending, not what your intentions of attending are. When you are sent an electronic invitation especially, it is easy to push the “yes” button without putting much thought into it. You respond with “yes” because it sounds like a fun party and you would like to attend, but the date isn’t marked in pen on your calendar yet. That’s not how RSVPing is supposed to work.
Again, the purpose of RSVPs is to let the host know if they should plan on your attendance or not. The purpose is not for you to say “yes” if you maybe think you might want to come because it sounds kind of cool, or if you’ll try to come if you aren’t too tired from shopping, or if you’ll stop by if your boyfriend doesn’t ask you out for that night. No! They need to know a solid “yes, I will be there” or “no, I have other plans”. The number of people who respond “yes” on invitations (of any kind) is the number that hosts go off of when, say, buying food for guests. If you are not serious about attending, then don’t respond with “yes”. Simple as that. Your hosts will appreciate it.
Rule #4: Don’t be a flip-flopper… and definitely don’t be a no-show
When you respond with either “yes” or “no” to an invitation, that is the response that you should stick with. Of course, there are instances when you have to change your response, such as illness or unavoidable conflicts that come up. But you shouldn’t flip flop your response just because you feel like it.
When you inform your hosts that you will be attending an event, then please, please follow through. Otherwise you’ll be the cause of a hurt woman’s blog post (just kidding!). But seriously, the story that I started this blog post off with illustrates this point pretty well. People put a lot of effort and resources into planning parties, and it is impolite and hurtful when the guests are a no-show. Don’t be that guest.
Rule #4.5: If you are unsure of your availability, communicate that
If you think there is the possibility of you flip-flopping, then let your host know. Maybe your mom is thinking about coming to visit that weekend, but you are not sure. That situation is something you and the host can work out together. Communication will go a long way, both in understanding and planning, and also in avoiding unnecessary ill-feelings.
Rule #5: If your plans do change, inform the hosts immediately
Plans change. That’s life, and it’s unavoidable; I’m not naive enough to think otherwise. As a host, I would never be upset if something came up and you had to change your plans. What would hurt, however, is you not informing me. Then you’re no better than the uncommunicative flip-floppers from Rule #4.
Quite simply, celebrations are intended to be joyous events! But there is a lot that goes into the planning and execution of those events, and that’s why guest etiquette is so important. If you’re invited to a celebration, you can be sure that the host is doing everything they can to make your experience enjoyable. Please make theirs enjoyable in return.