Daily Archives: June 3, 2007

Birthday Party Pet Peeves: Répondez S’il Vous Plaît?

Malia pictureI’ve blogged before (at the old place) about how much I loathe using the phone. Calling a parent about an RSVP is pure torture for me but only when I don’t know the parent very well or at all. And this past year with JBelle entering a new school, I knew only one parent in her class.

Once school started, it wasn’t long before the birthday invitations came rolling in. And the worst part was that the RSVP line would contain only a phone number; no name, no “let us know you are/are not coming” instruction, just a phone number. The no name thing really bit me in the butt last fall. JBelle had an invitation to a “pumped up bouncing” party for a boy in her class. The invitation listed only a phone number and I did not know the boy’s parent’s names. Turns out, his parents are divorced and he lives with his mother who has remarried. But I didn’t know then when I called, so I said, “Is this the Jones residence?” Only, the last name wasn’t Jones it was something much harder to pronounce and I butchered it (apparently). The woman on the other end got a little huffy with me and informed that it most certainly was not! Dismayed and confused and really ticked off, I tried again. Thankfully, she let the phone go to voicemail and I left a message. (Yes, I dialed the right number the first time!) What I didn’t understand was that if you’ve sent out invitations to your child’s birthday party with his name on them but not your name, how can you not expect to get some mix-ups like in my case? Wouldn’t it have been easier to just say, “This is Soandso’s mom, are you calling about the party?”, instead of acting like I’ve committed the ultimate social faux pas?

When I was working on the invitations for JBelle’s birthday party, I instructed that the RSVP be to “me” for regrets only. Which I later regretted. After the invites were finished it occurred to me that I should have done two things: include my e-mail address and not say “regrets only”. I asked for “regrets only” because I figured that would cut down on the number of phone calls I’d have to field and that it gave specific instruction to the invitee about how to RSVP – no need to call if you’re planning on coming! However, I realized that replying “regrets only” could possibly put someone in an awkward situation. What if their kid just didn’t want to come? What if they already had another party that day (entirely possible since another classmate of JBelle’s was having a party that afternoon – which JBelle also attended) and they needed to choose between hers and the other? All entirely possible and understandable. And then there’s the whole phenomenon of RSVP’s being a crapshoot anyways. We sent out 18 invitations, got three regretful responses and had seven girls show up!

Do you répondez s’il vous plaît? Is there a more acceptable way of asking people to respond?


Filed under by Malia, parenting