Tag Archives: rsvp

On again, off again

I’m sitting here on my patio on a very nice Sunday afternoon, looking back on a hectic week, but a pleasant weekend.

As I mentioned in earlier posts, we had been planning to host a visit by the state senate higher education committee this week. Since the institute where I work is a unit of the state university system, this was a pretty big deal. Things started to unravel Monday morning, when the committee chair’s legislative assistant started calling around to make sure everyone who said they were going to come was still planning to do so. One senator backed out for medical reasons, and another, local senator started to get wishy-washy about how much of the activities he would be able to attend. This left us with just two confirmed senators, and one of those was local. We consulted with the committee chair, who wouldn’t come right out and say that we should cancel (or at least postpone) the visit, but strongly inferred it. So we spent two days calling and emailing around to make sure everyone got the word.

One concern was a low-country-boil dinner we had planned for Wednesday evening. We had invited a fairly good number of local people. We called and emailed all of those who responded to the RSVP on the invitation. I had a little concern (but not too much) for the roughly half of the invitees who couldn’t be bothered to mark a check on the pre-printed RSVP card and place it in the pre-addressed and pre-stamped return envelope to let us know if they were going to attend or not. (Sorry. That’s still a sore point with me.) We got in touch with many of them, but not all. I half-hoped someone who had not responded showed up for the dinner anyway.

“Oh, gee. Sorry, but we cancelled the dinner. We didn’t know you were coming or we would have called you. Have a nice evening.”

Snark!

Feeling powerless

Oh, my! I don’t think we want to do that again. Mrs. Poolman and I planned a “stock the bar” couples bridal shower for last Saturday evening and it came within a hair of being a disaster. As it was, it was just a nerve wracking fiasco.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, we made the mistake of indicating “regrets only” on the printed invitation, and only four people out of 67 invitees called to “regret.” We knew deep in our heart that a fair number of those remaining invitees were not planning to attend, but they either didn’t care enough to call and “regret” or were not properly trained by their mothers in proper social behavior. (A little to snarky? Well, I’m feeling it.)  However, we had no idea how many that would be. When you are planning and buying for a crowd, the difference between, let’s say 30 guests, and 63 guests is significant.

Nonetheless, on Saturday morning, Mrs. P and I got up and started preparing for the 7:30 pm party. I worked mostly outside, while Mrs. P concentrated on the food and inside cleaning. Around 3:30 pm, Mrs. P headed to the grocery store for one last run of supplies, while I finished up a few final details around the house. Then the heavens opened up and dumped around two inches of rain on our house and yard. “No problem” I said to myself. “Better to have it rain now than later in the evening.”

Down comes the rain!

And then the lights went out. Ugh.

A branch had fallen and knocked down a power line down the road. “No problem,” we think. There is plenty of time for them to repair it before the party.  By a 6 pm, prospects were looking dark, in more ways than one. Our daughter, Writer Princes (WP) offered to allow us to move the party to her house, which is about a five-minute drive away. Several members of the groom’s family (for whom we were doing the party) came down to help move coolers of beer, wine, plates of food, etc.

Just as the cars started to pull away, the lights came back on again. We unloaded everything back into the house and five minutes later, the power failed again.  At that point, we decided to just stay where we were and take our chances.

Candlelight isn’t very romantic when it is the only alternative.

The guests began arriving around 7 pm (A half hour early? What is that all about?) and continued straggling in until 8:30 pm. Most of the guests just hung around the back yard and patio. The weather was warm and humid, but at least it didn’t rain again.  The lights finally came back on around 8:45 and we were able to get the couple to open their presents and actually see what they were opening.

Finally the lights (and AC) came back on.

Despite all the angst, I think everyone seemed to have a good time. There was lots of food and lots of beer and wine. We definitely had enough to eat and drink because here is the final tally.

  • Invited – 67
  • Regrets – 4
  • Planned for – 63
  • Actually came – 29
  • No shows/no “regrets” – 34

No. We’re not doing that again.

“Répondez s’il vous plait”…What?

I am involved in planning two social events in the next two weeks and our “invitees” are making me crazy. Why won’t people let us know whether they are going to come to our party or not? This is a basic element of etiquette that seems to have gotten lost over the last decade or two. It is very annoying. RSVP. “Répondez s’il vous plait” What is so difficult about this?

I am planning a work related, casual dinner for a week and a half from now. The invitation list includes university administrators, state legislators, county commissioners and business leaders – in other words, people who should know how to behave in public. The invitations went out two weeks ago with a reply card and a stamped return envelope. All they have to do is print their name, check the appropriate box, and drop it in the mail.  We sent 124 invitations and asked for responses by today. Only about a third of the invitees have troubled themselves to respond.

Mrs. Poolman and I are hosting a couple’s bridal shower for the son of one of our good friends and his fiancé. We told the family we could handle 40 people at our house. They gave us a list of 67 invitees with the assurance that many would not be able to come. My daughter ordered the invitations and had “regrets only” rather than a full RSVP. (When I saw that, I knew we were looking at trouble.) Nonetheless, of the 67 people invited, we have had only six regrets. The party is tomorrow evening. We strongly suspect we will have around 40 people, but we need to be prepared (food and drink) for 61. Maybe that isn’t a break-down in the social system. Maybe all 61 who have not “regretted” will be there. That may overwhelm the infrastructure, especially since rain is predicted which may negate our use of the outside space.

I don’t know why I get worked up over this. I should be used to it by now. I realize not everyone has ever taken the time to read an Emily Post, Amy Vanderbilt or Miss Manners etiquette book. (Of course, I think it should be required reading, but that’s just me.) Past experience has shown us that you will have people who say they are coming, but don’t show up, and those who don’t respond and still show up. Sometimes those balance out, but not always.

For my daughter’s wedding several years ago, we invited a couple. They RSVP’d in the affirmative for themselves and also wrote-in the names of their two adult children who were not invited on the response card. We didn’t make an issue out of it. Then, in the end, none of them came.

While planning a work-related event a couple of years ago, a local business leader called to say he could not make it because his wife, son and daughter-in-law would had already invited him out to dinner for his birthday that night. Then he called back and asked if he could just bring the whole family. Reluctantly, we agreed that would be OK. On the night of the event, he didn’t come…but the rest of the family did. Huh?

I really just need to get over it.