Birthday Party Etiquette - Worcester,MA

Updated on May 24, 2012
L.S. asks from Worcester, MA
13 answers

I seem to have issues with birthday party do's and don'ts.
Is 5 too early to suggest drop offs are ok? How do you word it appropriately? I don't care either way, but don't want a child to not come because a mom or dad doesn't want to hang out.
Also is it ok to write on invite 'younger siblings only". I know a few preschool kids who have younger siblings (few babies, few toddlers).
Also do you call people if they don't rsvp or do you just assume they are a no?

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answers from Denver on

I wouldn't mention anything about siblings- people who otherwise wouldn't have thought of it will suddenly treat it as an opportunity to have someone else watch their kids (whether they stay there or not). Most people will ask if it's ok to bring a sibling.

I used to write something like "feel free to stay if you'd like, but drop offs are fine". Some moms aren't ready to leave their kiddos, so you're giving them permission to stay, but letting others know it's fine to drop off.

And either way on the rsvps. I really hate it when people don't do this. I think it is SO rude. If there's just a couple, I usually count them as a no because I know I would have enough food or whatever. Maybe have a couple of extra goodie bags ready in case. If it's a thing where you are going somewhere and paying per child, or there are a bunch that didn't rsvp, I would call or e-mail. Remember- THEY were rude, not you!

3 moms found this helpful

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answers from Naples on

Oh boy....don't get me started on this one! I have really elaborate parties for my daughter....and am constantly knocking heads with people over issues like this.....well not really, but biting my tongue and keeping my mouth shut while I feel my head will explode! I like the one post "if you don't RSVP then I will assume that you can not make it",........going to use that one for sure! I've had a magician party at a pizza parlor where seating was limited, and had people get annoyed that I didn't have a place for non rsvp'd siblings, I've had a fairy party when my daughter was in pre-k, had a mom ask me point blank in front of the kid if I could let the older sister I didn't even know existed until they showed up..could also get her face painted, have a tutu, wings, halo and bag of fairy dust, good luck tokens and chocolates....only to have them then leave early,(because said older sibling was not feeling well) and I found the older girl's costume in the dress up area at pre-k on Momday. According to the director of pre-k "isn't it beautiful? They donated it because the older sister outgrew it"......really? Since Saturday? When she ASKED for it? I then had to race to whip up another head piece and tutu and buy another pair of wings for a little girl that had rsvp'd and then couldn't make it because she was vomitting the day of, but brought a lovely gift to school for my daughter on Monday! This year I had an Easter egg hunt, when the kids arrived they painted suncatchers to dry while we partied, had lunch, and then held the egg hunt, I had adorable little vintage inspired metal buckets with card stock tags on them for each kid, (of course I was short because of 2 siblings I didn't expect). After the egg hunt, I was passing out these really cool bubble blowers that I made all of the kids and they were blowing bubbles and having fun when one kid (younger sibling that had been dropped off) walked up to me and said "can you hurry up and give me a goodie bag, my mom is here and we have to go now". I couldn't believe my ears! Mom was standing there smiling.....I said "there are no goody bags, you have a suncatcher, a bucket full of filled eggs, and a bubble blower, bye bye"! People really are clueless!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

I only invite friends to birthday parties, not strangers who may or may not show up. If they are friends then they don't even need an invitation because they are in the planning and helping part of it all. This way you also know all the kids that might want to come too. Your friends will want to stay and participate.

I think parties are just way too over done these days.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

At 5 years old, parents like to stay. Some do not.

In your invitation, you need to state if this is a "drop off party" or "parents are welcomed to stay."

On the invitation, (since you are okay to invite younger siblings), you say: "younger siblings are welcomed, with their parent."

If you do not want a lot of tag-alongs to the party, then you state: "Johnny and 1 parent is invited to celebrate Eric's 5th Birthday party."
That way, you are politely limiting, the amount of potential tag-alongs to the party.
Some people, if you don't say it in the invitation, will bring their entire family. And expect, that the entire family, can have food/goody bags etc. Too.

Per the RSVP, you state in the invitation: "RSVP by June 1st, to Jane at ###-###-####, or email at: (and give your e-mail address). Also state that if you do not receive an RSVP, you will assume they cannot attend.

This is what me and all my friends do. Per party invitations.

IF a child, is dropped off to the party, with no parent... then you MUST... get the phone contact number of the parent in case you need to reach them, and know of any food allergies the child may have.

AND of course, on the invitation, you need to state the TIME of the party... when it starts and when it ends. Otherwise, you may have the party go on and on, and the parent will be "late" in picking up their child.

Also, send out the invitations at least 3 weeks ahead of time. SO THAT, the parents can schedule themselves, and/or get babysitters or their Husband to watch their other kids, while they go to the party with their invited child. Do not send out the invitations, less than 2 weeks ahead of time. Families are busy. They need to plan ahead.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

You can put something like "Parents are welcome to stay" and yes, if someone doesn't rsvp (grrrrrr...don't get me started) call them!

Personally, if you're inviting the younger siblings, I'd put their names on the invitations! No guesswork.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

I like the idea of "You are welcome to drop your child off or stay" regarding the parents. The sibling issue is tough. We had one mother call and ask if she could bring her younger son because of her husband's work schedule. No big deal... last year we had a number of siblings, but had included siblings in the wording of the invite.

It's not too young to suggest drop-off, but don't be surprised if most of them stay. Be prepared for extra "goodies" for siblings.

As for the RSVP... this year and last I put a "reminder" in the mailboxes at school for those we had not heard from a few days before I needed the final "head count". I also put a "reminder" in mailboxes the Friday before the party... "___ is so excited to celebrate his birthday with you on Saturday at _____. We'll see you there!"

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

I would not comment on the siblings - just be sure you only write the name of the invited child on the envelope. If you don't mind watching all the kids yourself, you could write, "no supervision necessary". I wouldn't invite all the younger siblings, you may get more than you asked for.

I usually ask them if they are coming if there is no RSVP. Unfortunately, people are very lax about their RSVP - they don't consider how rude it is to leave the party give "hanging" not knowing how many party bags to make, etc. Make sure you actually put a date of when to RSVP by.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Miami on

At 5 most parents stay. I think you should prefer they stay actually. You are going to be busy with the party and your kid to babysit anyone elses kids. I would assume if they did not rsvp they are not comming. I just went through this and I can tell you even though I had a cut off day I had parents calling a day or two before the party. I decided against calling everyone and just called one person I knew my daughter would be upset if she didnt show up. At that age you need to invite the whole class I would only call a few key kids your child really wants there. You can put Siblings welcome on the invite and when someone calls to rsvp ask if any siblings will be joining in. I would not say younger because at 5 they could have 7 year olds etc. A teenager is not going to want to join in on your 5 year old party so I wouldnt worry bout them crashing it. Also depending on your turn out I'd get your kid into other activities outside of school so when invites go out you can invite from other areas as well. You will eventually end up with a core group. Makes for a nicer party



answers from Minneapolis on

I put "You can drop your child off or stay" when my son first had a kid party in Kindergarten. Most parents dropped off but a few stayed. When they called to RSVP I asked. If no reply you can usually assume no but make sure to have extra food, treats and goodie bags just in case. I wouldn't mention anything about siblings at all. If one of my kids is invited to a party I do not assume I can bring my other child. Unless the invitation has both their names on it.



answers from Los Angeles on

My son is turning 5 this weekend, and most of his friends are 5 this year too. We haven't done drop off parties, but I know of other people who have. Why don't you say "parents are welcome to stay or pick up your child at x time"

For siblings, I would say "younger siblings welcome." Otherwise, address the invitations specifically to those invited.



answers from Birmingham on

My son started getting invitations to drop-off parties at 5. As long as I knew the kid and the parents well, I was fine with it. I'd word it along the lines of "Parents are welcome to stay or return at [end time of party]."

I wouldn't say anything about siblings one way or the other. Most parents who are concerned about it will ask. That said, be prepared for a handful of siblings to show up unannounced.

I used to assume that no RSVP meant that the person wasn't coming, which came back to bite me at my son's 4th birthday party. We had at least 10 guests I hadn't heard back from. The cake barely stretched to feed everyone! (Fortunately, I had extra favors on hand.) If it's close to the party day and there are only two or three guests who haven't responded, I don't worry about following up - if they come, we'll have enough extra goodies to cover them, and if they don't, oh well. But if half the guest list hadn't replied, then yes, I'd call or email them to confirm.

Good luck and have fun at the party!



answers from Salt Lake City on

really people bring siblings to birthday parties? Parents stay at birthday parties? Maybe I am old school but really? as for the RSVP I always do but understand there are those that don't moms are busy things get shuffled I always plan on the amount of kids invited. not really a big deal with me. I am with the other moms that think this whole party thing has gotten way out of control. I love a good birthday party- but honestly it is just a party and it is for your kid and their friends this is not a family affair.


answers from Austin on

I am one who believed in the more the merrier for my son's parties. I would cook a big pot of spaghetti or have tons of hot dogs and when it ws gone it was gone.

Now, my son is in college now and when I raised him we were in a traditional black neighborhood community (no one honored RSVPS)...

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