Okay. So I know I’m new to this blog thing, and I don’t want to appear to be negative or anything, but after 16 years of doing parties I have a serious bone to pick with San Francisco…

SFers don't RSVP!

As a party planter this drives me cuh-ray-zee! I mean, seriously! Please think about this: how am I supposed to know how many fairy wings I’m supposed to order if you don’t let the host know you are coming?!

And this doesn’t just happen for small birthday parties. This happens at large events, like Bar and Bat Mitzvahs! I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve had to figure out how to add two more people to a “10-top!”

So listen, if you are one of those folks, please, I’m begging you – STOP IT! Look at your calendar, pick up the phone, and make the call (or in the case of an e-vite, just click the button!). Then do me another favor by marking it in your calendar so you don’t forget. If it turns out that you are going to have to bag on the party, please be kind enough to call ahead of time. The parent is going to need to prep the child if someone isn’t coming. Believe it or not, most kids eagerly anticipate the arrival of their guests, so if someone doesn’t show -- especially if it’s someone they thought was coming – they get sad.

What you may not realize is that there is a great deal of planning that goes into a party, even a simple kids’ birthday party. There’s food, place settings, goodies…

In my early years, before I learned that I needed to have at least four extra of everything at every party, I had one mom at a party actually walk up to me to square off. She demanded to know why her second daughter (who wasn’t invited, by the way – I’ll get to THAT in a minute!) didn’t get a goodie bag. When I tried to explain that we only had enough goodies for the guests because so many people had forgotten to RSVP, she took my centerpieces! (Which happened to be these hand-decorated treasure boxes… Sigh…)

Now I know, I know. Everyone has really busy schedules, and often you don’t know about your kids’ sports schedules, or if out of town guests are coming, or your childrens’ homework, whatever it is… But please – you’re killin’ me here!

Here are some of the scenarios I see daily at my events:

1. People don’t RSVP, but show up anyway
2. People do RSVP, but they show up with siblings in tow
3. People do the combo: they don’t RSVP AND they show up with extra kids! Then they’re ticked off that you don’t have a name tag for Johnny, his brother Leo, and their cousin Frederico who’s visiting from Italy and doesn’t speak English but he loves swords and oh look, he has one that he brought with him!... Fun.

As I said, after having done this for 16 years I pretty much know now to ask the client how many kids they are inviting and prepare for four more than that. Yes, sometimes I end up eating product and cost, but hey, better to be over prepared than have the guests in tears and the mothers glaring!