RSVP: The Forgotten Common Courtesy

RSVP comes from the French phrase, “répondez, s’il vous plaît,” which means “please reply.” When it comes to event planning, the host would like the guests to reply and tell them whether or not they will attend.

In this day and age, with the exception of weddings, most people don’t see the value of a timely reply. Not only does it help the host prepare the party space and amount of food, replying is really common courtesy.

Other times, people reply with a “yes” and do not write the event onto a calendar. At the very last moment, there happens to be a scheduling conflict, and someone loses out. I completely understand since I too have a busy schedule, and I also fall prey to wanting to please everyone by saying “yes” to all the social events I am invited to. In reality, we have to say “no” to something! Please don’t say you’ll go out of guilt, when you know you really cannot. This will do more harm than good.

Here are a few tips that have helped me in recent years as far as keeping track of events and also what to do when you cannot attend, but are still feeling guilty.

1. Write events on more than one calendar. For me, this means placing on my mobile phone calendar and then also syncing it with my email calendar. For really important events, I also set two alerts, with one being a day or two on advance.

2. Reply by the deadline, not when you know for sure. If by the deadline you do not know, the answer is “no”.

3. Don’t reply with a “yes” to be nice. Reply because you actually plan to (and want to) go.

4. Don’t feel badly about what you cannot afford. Weddings, for instance can cost a lot to attend with hotels, flights, attire, and a gift. If this is out of budget, be honest and express your regrets. Save yourself hundreds or even thousands by staying home– but splurge a little on a very nice gift and a heartfelt card. I would rather spend $200 I can afford on a nice gift, than $1500 I cannot afford and will regret later!

5. Communicate. Maybe you could go before and things have changed. Even if this means ten minutes before the event, let the host know!

6. Ask if it is okay to bring additional guests. This one may be obvious to some, but let me add this: my home is my private and personal space. Uninvited guests shouldn’t be there by surprise. I would like to know in advance so I can decide if it is appropriate for additional people to be at my home (this really applies to any event, however).

7. Be on time, or warn the host you will be late.

I hope these tips can help you whether you’re in the position of being the guest or the host. You would be surprised and how positively a little courtesy can effect your relationships– personal, or business.

Xoxo,
Fifi

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A Housewarming Party Made Easy (and inexpensive)

Note: Maybe you did not just move in, but maybe you want to have a nice dinner party and enjoy the summer weather. If so, this post is for you!

Follow the link below to watch the video that goes along with this post:

House warming parties are so fun and cozy whether you are just moving to a new apartment on the other side of town, or you have just purchased your first home. Often times because of the stress of the move, time it takes to unpack, and a limited budget, housewarming parties do not happen until months or even a year after moving in. Yet, all the while you find yourself wanting to do it– and wishing you could have one sooner. I’d like to share some easy tips for putting together an inexpensive housewarming party within the first 90 days of moving in.

Hopefully, you’ve unpacked. Let’s assume you’re one of those organized packers, so you had all the boxes neatly marked with labels like “Kitchen Utensils” and “Linen Closet” and such. If you set aside working hours for yourself to unpack each day, you’ll be done in no time.

Now, for the food and decor.

1. Remember that your guests, who presumably are friends and family– are not expecting to walk into a Crate & Barrel showroom. They are expecting to come into something nice and cozy, and congratulate you on your move. Don’t feel like your home decor has to be perfect. One good idea is to concentrate traffic in the areas of your home that do happen to be complete. Kitchen, living room, dining, room– these are places people can hang out. There is no need for them to peek at the bedrooms–especially if they aren’t ready yet. If you need to, place cute little signs on the outside of the off limits rooms so that your super nosy guests keep out. Something like “Under Construction” will be funny and unimposing.

2. Don’t feel like you have to provide a full meal for your guests, who will only be dropping by your house for short moments of time. If the invite says “Drop by from 11am to 4pm” guests will already have the idea that they are just casually coming by to show their love and congratulations.

Food can really get pricey. Instead of buying those very convenient party trays, buy the dips (or make those too), but cut up the vegetables and fruits, and buy the crackers yourself. This really ensures you get the freshest produce, since you picked it yourself. I love cutting the carrots, zucchini, and broccoli myself so that I can choose the right sized pieces and ensure that none of the veggies or fruit will be too old or dry looking.

3. It is tempting to buy frozen wings or pick up wings from a local restaurant to serve. This cost can add up– and often times the food runs out quickly. Instead, I recommend adding meat to another dish like pasta, rice, or salad. It goes a longer way, and is very easy to make. Try buying a roasted chicken from the grocery store and cutting it into pieces, or adding shrimp to a nice pasta salad.

4. Bake something! There’s nothing more inviting than walking into a home where fresh brownies, cookies, or muffins have been baked. If you lack time or the skill to bake, you can buy pre-made dough, and just pop them into the oven 30 minutes before your guests are to arrive. They can check out your new abode with a sweet treat in hand! I even created a sample menu for you!

5. Check our your local party supply store for utensils. Paper and plasticware have come a long way. There are wine and champagne glasses, disposable party bowls, and more. They are even in matching sets. Check and see what’s available, and see if this is a more viable option over things you must wash during and after the party.

6. Alcohol can be a huge expense, so there are a few ways you can go:

  • You can hit up your local health food market, or the well known store BevMo and grab inexpensive wines, and when they are gone, they are gone.
  • Make a party punch like Sangria– so that it goes a longer way. There are tons of recipes for things like Sangria, frozen drinks, etc.
  • Announce that is is a “Bring Your Own Wine” event. This depends on your level of comfort. It can be a nice addition, since many are unsure of what gift to bring to a housewarming.
  • Have the housewarming earlier in the day– you can serve water, iced tea, and other beverages. Skip the alcohol altogether.

Don’t forget to load your iPod with great music for the event!

Lastly, the important thing is to stay within your budget, and do it in a tasteful way. It is also important to have an event that is more fun for you than it is stressful. Check your budget first, then plan accordingly. The most important part of the event is not the decor, food or showcasing the home– it is the time spent with those you love and who love you.

Any additional questions I didn’t answer in this post? Visit my Facebook page (facebook.com/divinehostess) and send me a direct message! I hope you enjoy your parties and gatherings this summer. I know I will!