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Arr Ess Vee Pee


Now, I’m not the most etiquette savvy person I know. In many instances, I’ve had to actually consult Miss Manners (dot) com to find out what people are supposed to do in the matters of weddings that were supposed to be weddings but weren’t actually weddings because no one got married for real, and then they broke up and didn’t give back the gifts and now are getting remarried to different people, do I send a gift?

And when I, myself, am planning some bigger event for myself or others, I often take a sneak peek into Etiquette Hell to see how people react to things done in poor taste. Sometimes, I’m shocked by the audacity of the bride and groom (for example) and other times, I’m completely taken aback that someone would take the time to be offended by such things as “not having a receiving line” at the wedding reception (I didn’t have one and I’m not sorry. I hate those things).

It’s safe to say that without having thrown a baby shower, but after throwing most any other kind of party that you’d send invitations to, I have learned a fair bit about the whole situation.

Namely, how people don’t bother fucking RSVP-ing like proper guests.

(in the interest of full disclosure, I feel that I must tell you that I have been The Bad Guy and not properly RSVP-ed to a wedding or two. But eventually, I always RSVP. Typically when things in my life are so incredibly chaotic that I can barely function to put on a clean shirt, let alone remember to send back that wee little card like a proper guest. It happens, and I do allow for some of that.)

I’ll never forget when I had my own wedding, I got back at least 4 or 5 cards telling me that “They” weren’t coming. Who is this elusive “They,” you ask? I HAVE NO CLUE. I got back some BLANK RSVP cards. Never did figure out who “They” were.


Since Ben was a baby, I’ve thrown him parties for his birthday. We’ve had the White Trash cook-out/kegger, we’ve done proper parties without the beer, and up until last year, I only invited adults. I don’t have a ton of friends with kids (understatement of the year) so I just invite my friends. Works out well.

But when Ben was turning 6, he decided that what he REALLY wanted was a party with his school friends. Something that I’d been avoiding because I don’t really know WHAT I’d do with a roomful of screamy 6 year olds. It actually sounds like something out of my worst nightmares. So I did the next best thing: I rented out a room at a kid’s museum and had the party there.

Scratched cornea be dammed, I filled out each and every one of those stupid invitations by hand, carefully writing down all the instructions so that there would be no confusion (mental note: have the computer do the work next time). I invited all the kids in Ben’s class (all 19 of them), I did it a month in advance, and I waited.

Of the 19 or so kids (plus about 3 that he knew from outside of school), I heard back from perhaps 6-7 of them. Assuming that some may show even without properly RSVP-ing, I went to that party with the best of intentions. The result? All of the other kids whose parent’s hadn’t called didn’t show.


This year, we had Ben’s birthday a full month after his actual birthday since August 20 falls right on the cusp of when kids are going back to school, and how annoying is THAT as a parent to have a party 2 days before school starts? TOTALLY ANNOYING. I expected that many more kids would be able to at least INFORM me that they wouldn’t be coming.


I’m only annoyed on principle, since the place that Ben’s party is being held (moon bounce, people. How cool is that?) was a package UP to 15 kids, so it’s not a head count kind of place. I’m annoyed on principle, yet I’m still annoyed. It’s not like these parents KNEW that it didn’t really matter if they RSVP-ed or not, they just chose to ignore the invite completely. Which, having dragged my son to all of their kids’ parties, I know that they know EXPLICITLY how annoying this can be.

So, who is in for eating this damn ugly cupcake-cake thing I bought for more than double the kids that will be coming? YOU KNOW YOU WANT TO.

40 Comments to

“Arr Ess Vee Pee”

  1. On September 26th, 2008 at 11:45 am Ms. Moon Says:

    Good manners are nothing more than treating our neighbors as we would like to be treated. It would be a better world if we all used good manners, from the president on down to the parents of your children’s friends.
    That’s what I think.

  2. On September 26th, 2008 at 12:00 pm Rachel Says:

    I hate it when people don’t follow through on pretty much anything, so not RSVP-ing is a pretty heinous crime in my book. I’d be tempted to send out a ‘thanks a lot, asshole’ card to those who never bothered to let you know one way or the other if they were coming or not. But that’s just me…

  3. On September 26th, 2008 at 12:04 pm Deb Says:

    mmmmmm…, damn ugly cupcake-cake things are my favorite!! I’ll take 3!

  4. On September 26th, 2008 at 12:16 pm Badass Geek Says:

    Sign me UP.

  5. On September 26th, 2008 at 12:23 pm Marie Says:

    Are they chocolate??? I need em if they are.

  6. On September 26th, 2008 at 12:39 pm erin Says:

    i always RSVP, like you it might be right before the event but at least i let people know one way or the other…..the only thing that drives me more crazy then people who don’t RSVP are the peeps that say “yes, i am coming can’t wait, wahoo count me in” so i do then they just don’t show up, no phone call, no warning, just choose not to show up… i am not sure if they forgot, got busy, better offer, died but it doesn’t really make you want to invite them to anything ever again!! not that i am bitter, i am just tyring it on for size 🙂

  7. On September 26th, 2008 at 12:50 pm Andy (echaos) Says:

    And why don’t people think about the kids? We went to a birthday party last week for a 10 year old girl. Not one of her classmates showed up. She was devistated. I can only imaging how awful it had to be to go back to school on Monday and face them.


  8. On September 26th, 2008 at 12:50 pm Em Says:

    Seriously, we live parallel lives. My son’s 6-year birthday party is this Sunday (at Bounce World – those places so rock) and I have heard from 1/3 of the parents – and that is counting the family. I even requested that they RSVP to my e-mail so they would have an easy out.

    Frustration. I sit here wondering if I should bother making another dozen cupcakes, or just let the little dears whose parents didn’t RSVP learn their lesson the hard way.

    “Sorry Timmy, mommy didn’t RSVP. Now just sit and watch the other kids eat their cupcakes. Don’t they look yummy?”

    Good luck – and you’re eating for two, so I wouldn’t dare steal a piece – enjoy!


  9. On September 26th, 2008 at 12:53 pm melanie Says:

    OK I HATE the whole you must RSVP for every little party these days, I do my best to be the picture of manners and respond, but it DRIVES ME CRAZY…. when I throw baby or brials showers I dont want 25 calls telling me if you are coming or not, I will still probably make too darn much food (and freeze it for later) so I could care less who shows and who doesnt. As for b-day parties for my kids I dont do them (well not big ones), they get too much from family as it is and I dont need my house to look like the flipping toys r us, do I schelp my kids to other kids parties, sure I do, if I am invited I try to go, but I dont do that for my kids…so since its only immediate family invited to the party, no need for RSVPing either. Even for my wedding I didnt ask for RSVP’s I just made sure I had food for everyone I invited and it worked out amazingly well.

    One thing I will suggest if you need a count, have you considered using the EVITE website, obviously it doesnt work if you dont have email addy’s but its fun if you do and people seem a lot more willing to tell you if they are coming or not (I have been invited to several things by evite and i find it SUPER simple to respond). As an added bonus you can attach driving directions, some registry information etc.

  10. On September 26th, 2008 at 12:56 pm Daddy Files Says:

    I’d like to RSVP for two cupcakes please.

    But seriously, I hate etiquette in general. The only time I ever followed it was for my wedding and that’s because my wife is Miss Manners. Otherwise I buy a keg and say “whoever wants to come, come. Everyone else can go f#ck themselves!”

  11. On September 26th, 2008 at 12:57 pm Maria Says:

    I can’t talk about etiquette cause I’m throwing my own baby sprinkle. This seems hopelessly tacky to me.

    But we’re furnishing the liquor?

  12. On September 26th, 2008 at 1:02 pm honeywine Says:

    Yay cupcakes! I never had a birthday party so I don’t guess I’d know how all that worked.

  13. On September 26th, 2008 at 1:05 pm Brooke Says:

    Yum…I’ll have some ugly cupcake thing! That sounds tasty!

    I’m always checking out what Miss Manners has to say, and trying to abide by it. People who don’t RSVP drive me crazy. More and more as I plan more events. I don’t really care if you come or not, just let me know. Email me, call me, text me. Hell, I don’t care if you ask someone else to tell me. JUST LET ME KNOW!

  14. On September 26th, 2008 at 1:17 pm SciFi Dad Says:

    Yeah, we had to email/call a few people a few days before a party to get an RSVP (my wife doesn’t believe in them ignoring it… you get the invite, you respond, or she will HUNT YOU DOWN!)

  15. On September 26th, 2008 at 1:29 pm Vered - MomGrind Says:

    I agree!

    It’s just plain rude.

    I think you should give Evite a try next time. I think RSVP rates are higher there.

    Also (warning self promotion), the start-up I work at, UpToUs, which offers free software for managing classrooms and sports teams, has an invitation manager.

  16. On September 26th, 2008 at 1:32 pm swirl girl Says:

    What is wrong with asking people to respond to an invitation? I don’t understand what the hard part of actually having the courtesy of responding to a request is.

    If someone likes you (or your kids, husband etc..) enough to invite you to a party (wedding, whatever event) then just say whether or not you can come.

    I think the tacit lack of response tells the invitor that the invitee is waiting for something better to come along….and that is just plain rude.

  17. On September 26th, 2008 at 1:36 pm baseballmom Says:

    That just pisses me the hell off when people do that. Coach’s family was FAMOUS for that…I used to make him call them to see if they were coming! Oh, and ugly cupcakes? Send ’em on over!

  18. On September 26th, 2008 at 1:41 pm lindz Says:

    aww man that sucks.

    maybe, next year you should do the right before school thing..

    the kids can have one last birthday before starting school.

    pss..I don’t ARES-V-PEE either.

  19. On September 26th, 2008 at 2:26 pm mumma boo Says:

    Drives me bonkers when people don’t RSVP at all. Even if it’s last minute, tell me that you’re not coming so I don’t think you died on the way to the event. Yeesh. Oh, and I’ll take two cupcakes please. yum!

  20. On September 26th, 2008 at 2:34 pm BB Says:

    I absolutely hate it when people don’t RSVP, especially when you are haveing a kids party where they need to know the head count. I had a similar party deal at Jump’n Jiminy last year, and I actually got a decent number of RSVPs, but what surprised me was the number of kids that showed up without RSVPing. Usually if there is no response the kids won’t show up. I almost ran out of cupcakes and goody bags, because I just assumed they would not be coming. I am ready to just give up on the big parties.

  21. On September 26th, 2008 at 2:41 pm Tina Roggenkamp Says:

    Ugh, that sucks. I did a mommy lunch months ago and was expecting 13 or so people. Guess how many showed up? 1. I was PISSED, especially when I asked WTF happened and heard all the excuses. So rudeness goes both ways, it seems. I think some people just don’t deserve to be invited to events.

    These cupcakes… I would like 2 please!

  22. On September 26th, 2008 at 2:47 pm heather Says:

    Despite the odd similarities, I’m not married to SciFi Dad; that said, we totally hunt people down, too. Don’t want to RSVP? Okay, we’ll just call you until you agree to come. Welllll. My lovely husband (who is shameless) actually does the calling. And it works.

    Little snot parents. They should be ashamed.

    And you can send me a cupcake, too. 😉

  23. On September 26th, 2008 at 2:57 pm LAS Says:

    I’m in!

  24. On September 26th, 2008 at 3:43 pm Ginger Magnolia Says:

    This is why my kids don’t have big parties. Too much hoopla! Usually we have a small family birthday dinner/cake and presents.

    But I am RSVPing yes on the cupcakes!

  25. On September 26th, 2008 at 3:46 pm stacey k Says:

    Okay I’ll admit it….
    I’m a hypocrite…..
    I HATE when people don’t rsvp to my invites…but I am the worst person as responding to them.

    Can I still have a cupcake?

  26. On September 26th, 2008 at 3:52 pm Madame Yu See Says:

    Next time – number the invitations on the back. Keep a list of who was sent what number. That way you’ll know who is or isn’t coming, if they send them back without their names on them.
    To be fair – if the invitations were passed out at school, a lot of the kids who were invited could have lost them before they got home, or the invitations could still be sitting in desks, lockers or book bags.

  27. On September 26th, 2008 at 5:00 pm kate Says:

    i am hereby submitting my RSVP for any party you ever have to which i might be invited. yes, please.

  28. On September 26th, 2008 at 5:16 pm Melissa Says:

    I go through the same thing every year with mine too… send out 12 invites… get 4 RSVP (and I give them phone & e-mail options) and then 4 show up. Of course I have bags and food for about 10, just in case. Asshole parents that can’t be bothered.

    As for the cupcake thing… {shudder} no thanks…they scare me!


  29. On September 26th, 2008 at 5:50 pm Becky Says:

    OMG I so can’t stand when people don’t RSVP!!! I think it’s a part of my pet peeve of lack of communication. And what’s even worse are those that say they are coming and then oops I totally forgot that day. WTH!!! You forgot!!!
    Okay, I’m better sorry.

    But I do agree with you!!!! 🙂

  30. On September 26th, 2008 at 6:07 pm birdpress Says:

    My RSVP date for my wedding is next Wednesday, and so far we’ve been pretty lucky, but there are still a few that haven’t responded, so I guess I’ll have some calls to make soon.

    I have been lurking on Etiquette Hell myself quite a bit lately. Reading those stories is like a guilty pleasure of mine.

  31. On September 26th, 2008 at 6:32 pm Stacey Says:

    I hunt people down as well. I don’t throw that many parties and I give people at least 3 ways to RSVP me. Often I email them the invitation as well as mail them. So there is really no reason not to shoot off a reply. And if they don’t I call them.

    One paragraph into your post i had to get up and go look in my mail bin. We received an invitation to DH’s niece’s wedding a couple weeks ago & I couldn’t recall if I had mailed back the RSVP. I hadn’t, but it isn’t due until Oct 11 so I’m good. It’s going in the mail tomorrow

  32. On September 26th, 2008 at 7:46 pm Danielle Says:

    MMMM cupcakes….on my way over! I’ll bring my angles. They will have loads of fun. And we can totally ignore them and gossip..all I need is your address and a few plane tickets..doable, no?

  33. On September 26th, 2008 at 11:03 pm Collette Says:

    Mmmmm…cupcakes! I have always been under the regrets only RSVP rule. So, if we are coming, we don’t call. Unless it is family and we would be expected to bring something then we call.

    We are doing a stonefire party this year. Because the kids birthdays are 4 weeks apart, we will do a joint party and kill two birds with one stone.

  34. On September 27th, 2008 at 10:33 am Liddy Says:

    Oh RSVP woes! Someone commented about putting numbers on the back of the RSVPs, that has been my saving grace so many times.

    Here from ICLW.

  35. On September 27th, 2008 at 11:24 am chris Says:

    I’m the Arse in the RSVP thing…Thank God that I have a wife who’s actually great at doing this kinda stuff…

  36. On September 27th, 2008 at 12:08 pm Karen Says:

    I am the world’s worst RSVP-er. I need a wife or a personal assistant to help me with these sort of things.

  37. On September 27th, 2008 at 3:33 pm Sarah Says:

    Mmmm. Tasty.

    You’re a good mama. I flatly refuse to do the birthday party thing. We try to make it up to them in odd ways.

  38. On September 27th, 2008 at 5:55 pm Betty M Says:

    Definitely rsvp even if it is last minute. I confess I texted people to chase them as I was so paranoid no one would show up to L’s party. Thank you notes are essential too in my world – don’t seem to be in anyone else’s though.

  39. On September 27th, 2008 at 9:44 pm Lola Says:

    Number one, people who don’t RSVP will never be invited by me again. Thrown way too many parties with asshats that can’t be bothered to let you know one way or the other, and I’m all set.

    Two, RSVP’s for kids’ parties are important if they expect their little brat to get one of those parting gifts they’re all looking for as soon as the action stops, and every fucking mommy out there knows that. They also know how hard it is to have a kid party w/out a head count, so they totally suck ass if they don’t RSVP.

    Three, what the hell is a receiving line at a wedding? Sounds like a wake to me.

    Four, white-trash kegger cookouts are always the best parties, no matter the occasion.

    Five – ten, no more inviting a bunch of brats to parties, no matter the occasion!

  40. On October 14th, 2008 at 5:33 pm alexis Says:

    Don’t let them off the hook so easily. I expect a response, wether it be yes or no, from everyone I send an invite too. As the party gets closer (within a few days or so) I either email or call the parents and ask if they got the invite-some people being so rude still don;t respond but at least you are calling them on it! I actually had one woman tell me she was coming and how excited here daughter was and then not show up! I just sent out invites for my daughters 6th b-day and got 2 quick regrets and so far nothing else, not even from the next door neighboor! What makes me even crazier is to see the parents at school and they still don’t acknowledge the invite! So, you not alone and unfotunately the world is made up of many rude and manorless people!

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