Strategies for Managing RSVP Stress (That Don’t Involve Wine…)

September 06, 2017

bee box parties strategies for managing rsvp stress blog

Its just on the horizon. The day you’ve been looking forward to slash dreading for months. In a mere 3 days an army of sugar crazed mini despots will descend on your home, shower your child with gifts and suddenly disappear leaving a silence filled with the knowledge that clean up is coming.

Planning is in full swing. You’re elbow deep theme development - why did we decide on a Pokemon versus Mermaid Princess Death Battle theme again? - and in hot glue gunning Ariel and Pikachu craft decorations while simultaneously searching Pinterest for an aquatic themed cage fight cake that accurately captures Ariel’s coconut bra without gender stereotyping.

At the back of your mind there’s a nagging question: can you really can entertain 13 sugar filled 5 year olds for 3 hours? You’re also making a mental checklist of the wine and chocolate stash you’ll need for your recovery, but that’s a completely different post. This is all on top of struggling with the deeply held fear that no party host is brave enough to mention.

RSVP stress.

It’s real.

Its the rechecking of invitation lists to make sure no little darling has been forgotten and every Braeydyn and Cydnee is spelled correctly. Its the hours spent wondering if anyone will actually show up, (5 year olds can behave in a similar way to politicians at question time, and there’s always the chance that Tara and Ashely will be totally not BFF’s anymore). Then there’s the mental energy devoted to ensuring that you avoid the ultimate in party shame - have you got enough party favours?

We can’t take all the anxiety away from planning your kids’ perfect celebration, there are strategies that can help you deal with common RSVP stress challenges.


Invitation Misinterpretation

Kids parties are like that first precious snowfall: every one is unique and you forget how much work is involved in the clean up afterwards. Some parties may not need  an RSVP list at all. If that’s you, congratulations! You’ve hit the kids’ party jackpot. You will average one less wrinkle and three less grey hairs than your fellow hosts at the end of party season!! If you’re not sure, here are a few checks to consider:

  • Venue. Obviously, in the great outdoors there is less of a need to know exact numbers. If you have a smaller space, or are planning an indoor soiree at a venue that charges per person then its best to ask for an RSVP.
  • Catering. If you’re planning on a BBQ and are happy to try every leftover sausage meal known to Google for a week, an RSVP may not be required. On the other hand if you’re planning on taking advantage of the convenience that is Bento Boxes (for example) you will need to know how many meals to prepare and boxes to purchase. Bear in mind, you may also want to cater for adults dropping off (or hanging around) depending on the age of the child and the clinginess of the adult.
  • Activities. If you are hiring an entertainer they may require numbers and may have different pricing options depending on the size of your group.

The best tip to avoid misinterpretation is to be specific. Give details of how and when you would like guests to RSVP and give more than one mode of contact.


Sibling Scenarios

If your numbers are limited by catering or venue restrictions, you may decide to be prescriptive about siblings. In some instances numbers are bound to be restricted, and in this case its best to be upfront on the invitation to avoid misunderstandings. A simple *please note, siblings cannot be accommodated at this venue* will suffice. And yeah, most parents will roll their eyes and give themselves an internal ‘duh, who would do that?’ But there’s always one.

Just to be on the safe side, always prepare two or three extra party favours and catered meals. Just in case. Because there is always one. (And if you’re like me, you might forget someone).

Etiquette Note: On the other hand, if your child is invited to a party and you cannot organise care arrangements for siblings, be forthright about it. Etiquette dictates that you can take one of any number of actions: organise a friend to take your child to the party, offer to pay for the sibling if the party is at a venue that charges per person, or at worst tell the host your child won’t be able to attend. With plenty of notice, a host may be more flexible, and may even be able to accommodate an extra child.

The Non Response

We all have busy lives and truth be told most of us have probably let an RSVP slip through the cracks before (guilty). Not surprisingly, little Jamella turning 4 isn’t necessarily the highest of priorities compared with mundane everyday issues like school lunches, work deadlines and the Suits marathon. Its just that when it happens to us it’s an extra thing to worry about. You know, aside from running background police checks on fairy entertainers and creating and colour coding your run sheet for the day.

If you haven’t received an RSVP by the due date, a friendly SMS or email reminder may be in order. For example, Hi Judy. I dont think Ive received an RSVP from Tarquin for Charltonellas birthday. I was just checking in to see if you are able to come? Wed love to see you there. Carol.

Most people will immediately respond to a gentle reminder, but its best to do it early on to allow for laggers. Life is, after all, insanely busy for most of us.

Remember, kids’ parties can be a joyful experience for parents too! For more party tips and styling notes, or to check out Bee Box Partie’s stress free party solutions, visit us here.

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