Prime Parents Club            Did we mention that it's FREE?

Do’s and Don’ts of Birthday Party Invitations

 

When my oldest daughter turned three, we had her first birthday party inviting “her” “friends.” I put both words in quotes because for once these were not my friends, but hers; and the word “friends” to a 3-year-old is really more like “two short people who don’t hit each other, much.”

That was six years ago, before Evite, before texting, and when people still did cutesy written invitations by – get this – mail!

For the most part, guests (really parents of guests as we’re talking 9 years old and younger, so I really can’t blame the kiddos) we’ve invited to our parties over the years have RSVP’d, attended, and enjoyed themselves. I’m no Abby – or Martha – But there have been a few instances that made me sit up and wonder if I’m the only one that still mails (eek!) invitations, and still  picks up the phone (double eek!) to call in an RSVP (when a phone number is given).

When you receive a birthday party invitation from a friend:

Do:

RSVP with more than 30 minutes notice. Please. And, thank you. Right after you get it would be fabulous! Don’t be afraid that RSVP-ing as soon as the mailman drives off means you’re desperate for little Suzy to make friends and you need her out of the house for two hours. Not only does the host need an accurate count for food to purchase ahead of time, but poor little Betty Birthday Girl wants to feel loved on by her friends, and the more, the merrier!

Don’t:

Not RSVP.

Do:

Put the invitation (if it was mailed) on your refrigerator, bulletin board, cabinet front, or other visual place so you remember to RSVP, and so you remember to attend.

Don’t:

Lay the invitation down on a surface that will be loaded up with papers your 4-year-old colored just “For you, Mama!” coupons, magazines, paper airplanes, batteries that may or may not still work, and random crumbs.

Do:

Show up.

Don’t:

Call 5 minutes before the party arrives unless it’s to ask for directions. The host is running around like a crazy person with last-minute to-do’s and trying to keep little sis from sliding her finger through the “Mmmm, FROSTING!!”.

When you send out birthday party invitations:

Do:

Ask your child ahead of time if they have gift suggestions, should any of the folks that actually do RSVP ask what your child would enjoy.  And it would be super swell if you are asked, that you respond swiftly (unlike I did recently, sad to say).

Don’t:

Include a list of stores from which the invitee may shop at to choose the birthday child’s gift. (Yes, this actually happened).

Do:

Send paper invitations – it’s really ok and not archaic in the least. Sure it may not be the hip, “green”, uber-tech thing to do, but kids enjoy getting “fun mail” as we call it, and unless your child has an email address, they’re really not the ones receiving the invitation, you are. It won’t be in front of you as a reminder. At least for me, out of sight = out of mind.

Don’t:

Text your invitation. (Yeah, that happened to us too).

Do:

Keep track of who has RSVP’d, and send a friendly “Hey did you get Bobby’s invitation to Mary’s party? Hope he can make it!” text or email (Love how I use names from 1974? Just protecting the offenders).

Don’t:

Assume that just because someone didn’t RSVP means they won’t show up. It’s entirely possible they will, so prepare yourself with enough party favors and place settings just in case!

So what’s your take-away from this?

  1. Spend the money to mail invitations. It is NOT old-fashioned.
  2. RSVP. That means réspondez s’il vous plaît, but I’d like to make it RSVPP which means pretty-please, or  puh-lease, people!
  3. Show up.

Party on, friends!

 

Image: Stuart Miles

After a career in advertising and marketing, Ann-Marie is now a WAHM of three fun-loving children. Always a deal seeker, she slowly took her basic couponing skills to the next level and began sharing tips with her friends. She started Chaos Is Bliss in 2010, where she blogs about money-saving deals to help families save not only on groceries, but all around the house. You can find me @ChaosIsBliss10 on Twitter, or join Chaos Is Bliss on Facebook.