Hippo Manchester
October 6, 2005


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Pinings: RSVP, Please
by Sherry Hughes

Dear Sherry,

My husband and I had a party last weekend. We invited more than 100 people and spent a lot of money on food. It was a housewarming of sorts (we’ve lived in the house since April), but mostly we just wanted to have a gathering and see people we haven’t seen over the summer. Less than half of the people we invited showed up. There was an RSVP on the invitation with an e-mail address and a phone number to call.

We were really disappointed and we had all kinds of food left over. When people ask, I tell them that I had a good time but was bummed that more people didn’t show up. My husband says I should stop moping and move on.

What do you think? I think it was rude for people to not call and not show up.

- Annoyed

Dear Annoyed,

For some reason, the RSVP doesn’t hold the weight it used to. I have long suspected that people don’t know what it means, or they don’t speak French or something.

I had a big party a couple of weeks ago and here’s what I did. On the invitation, I put “Regrets only” and my phone number. That way if someone wasn’t coming, they could call but otherwise, I assumed everyone was coming. I took the number of people I invited and made enough food to serve about 2/3rds of that number. That way, if fewer people showed up, I wouldn’t have tons of food left over. If more showed up than planned, I’d have some snacky foods to put out later in the day. Things worked out well. I had invited 100 people and about 60-70 showed up. In the last few hours of the party, I threw some sausages on the grill and put out buns and mustard.

I haven’t had that kind of big gathering in a few years because of the situation you mention. It’s very irritating to me to try and entertain when people don’t have the courtesy to tell you whether they are coming or not. Even when I invite a few people over, I often get an “I’ll let you know” response. I think we are all turning into pretty casual folks, and that’s sometimes disheartening.

I agree with your husband …you do need to move on. But I also agree with you, it’s rude to not respond to an invitation.

Sherry Hughes welcomes letters from readers. Contact her via e-mail at sah103@hotmail.com.