01 February, 2011

To RSVP or not RSVP

In the past five years of children's entertaining I have been asked many many questions. By far the most popular questions my clients ask me are about invitation etiquette. What to write, how to address the sibling issue and of course what the heck does RSVP mean anyway?

So here's my advice for all the things you may think of for writing out invitations for children's parties.

Personalised Invitations
 The invitation

The invitation can prove to be a minefield of individual ideas and perceptions of invitation etiquette, particularly when it comes to RSVP's (I will come back to that later!).

All invitations should have the following information:

Type of event and the name of birthday guest of honor: 
RSVP details: (Your name and telephone number).

For instance:

Jodie's 6th birthday party
on Sunday 6th February, 2011
From 3pm-5pm
at Chorley Village Hall
RSVP Angela 01625 838102

If you are holding the party in a public venue such as a park or play barn you might like to consider adding information about your location eg:

Venue: Alderley Edge Park, meet at the bandstand


R.S.V.P is a french phrase, répondez s'il vous plaît. This means 'respond please'.

There are lots of variations available (just to confuse matters). Some people think that RSVP means 'respond if you please' or 'respond only if you can attend' when it actually means 'respond either way'.

RSVP regrets only

This means 'respond with regrets only please' eg 'I regret that I cannot attend your party'. This removes the need for people to get in touch as if you don't hear otherwise you can assume they will attend.

When you need to know the number of guests at your party

Occasionally you might need to let the venue know how many guests will be attending in advance so they can provide food etc so you may wish to add a date with your RSVP for example: RSVP by 3rd February, 2011

This also means that if you don't hear back from anyone after this date you can reliably assume they wont be able to attend.

The Sibling Issue

Some venues and entertainment providers will charge per child attending so a polite way of mentioning this might be to have wording on the invitation something like 'Jodie invites Claire to her 6th Birthday party' instead of 'no siblings please'.

Alternatively, if your party is in a soft play centre ask the centre if they have any special offers for siblings of children attending parties. Some offer a play and eat offer which includes admission and a kids meal at a reduced price. If they have a special offer and you are expecting lots of uninvited siblings you could add words to the effect of eg 'You are welcome to stay at The Play Barn during the party. They have a special siblings meal offer for £5.99 which includes admission'.

Allergies and dietary requirements

Parents of children with severe allergies, of very fussy eaters and those with religious observances will tell you when they RSVP if they have any concerns about the food served at the party so there is no need to ask about dietary requirements on invites.

After they have been handed out

Have a list of names ready to tick off the child's name as their parents RSVP. Also make sure you get a name and contact number for the parent just in case something happens and there is a change in venue with little notice. This list can also be used at the party to keep track of the guests as they arrive and call any parents who have RSVP but may be lost or their child has been sick at the last minute.
You may also want to follow this up with a text to the parents mobile phones if you have the numbers. Or try to be early to drop off or collect your child from school and ask outright if they got the invite and if they can attend. Some people are busy and may have been meaning to get around to RSVP and will probably be quite grateful of being asked!

Find out more about our party entertainment services for parties in Cheshire and Manchester at www.myfunkyparty.com.
For personalised invites, party wares toys and gifts visit us at www.funkypartysupplies.co.uk.

Thanks for reading, please comment if you have any further invitation questions.

Have a funky party :)

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