Last minute birthday party cancellations. Opinions please!

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mungomuffit
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Last minute birthday party cancellations. Opinions please!

Postby mungomuffit » Wed Jul 16, 2014 4:35 pm

Just wondering what others think about this...

I sent out invitations a month ago for my child’s small birthday party. So, having got all the yes-es and no-s back, last weekend I paid the not inconsiderable sum of £25 per child, non-refundable, to the lady who is coming to put on the show. Now just days away I have had a couple of cancellations and for pretty lame reasons from people who said they could come. So that currently stands at £50 down the toilet.

Obviously, I must bite my tongue, smile politely and understand that sh*t happens, but what do others think about it? I think it is really, really rude and casual.
kiwimummy
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Re: Last minute birthday party cancellations. Opinions pleas

Postby kiwimummy » Wed Jul 16, 2014 5:09 pm

I agree with you, but I seem to be in a minority on this point. I'm trying to chill out about it from now on and just accept there will be some last minute cancellations. It is very annoying when quite a large amount of cost is involved.

Can you fill the spots with some last minute guests? We invited friends of siblings in a similar situation, but may not be appropriate for this party.
mungomuffit
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Re: Last minute birthday party cancellations. Opinions pleas

Postby mungomuffit » Wed Jul 16, 2014 5:32 pm

hi Kiwi - can you give me a link to the thread you mentioned? I am amazed that you found yourself in the minority about this!
supergirl
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Re: Last minute birthday party cancellations. Opinions pleas

Postby supergirl » Wed Jul 16, 2014 8:03 pm

I agree with you this is very annoying but sadly thats what some people do. For my daughters party a few weeks ago we had one last minute drop and two children whose parents hadnt confirmed they were coming - so i had assume he wasnt.
I have stopped counting per children s head since my eldest was 4 to save me from being annoyed. This year i booked 2 entertainers and counted in budget ie. what is the overall budget i am happy to spend regardless of numbers of kids incl. hall, entertainement, food and those ^#*^%% (bip) party bags that i loath. I also always have 1 or 2 extras.

I really feel for you, have fun and make sure you hsve a glass of wine after ;)
supergirl
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Re: Last minute birthday party cancellations. Opinions pleas

Postby supergirl » Wed Jul 16, 2014 8:03 pm

Sorry for typos.
Esille
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Re: Last minute birthday party cancellations. Opinions pleas

Postby Esille » Wed Jul 16, 2014 8:53 pm

it's rude and annoying, no doubt, but with kids and families, plans seem to change last minute all the time.

I used to throw the per-person-birthday parties, and now I don't for that reason.These days it's a children's entertainer, who charges the same for 25 kids as they do for 5!

Don't let it get to you, it's just London-life
Allgood
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Re: Last minute birthday party cancellations. Opinions pleas

Postby Allgood » Thu Jul 17, 2014 10:36 am

I totally agree, it absolutely makes my blood boil. For my sons party a few months ago, having immediately had 16 rsvps yes a month before, we had 6 cancellations in just the last few days before the party, all for lame reasons, and most upsettingly, all with very very casual non caring way of telling us, no big apology. I was utterly stunned by some of the incredibly casual e-mails I received telling me. And 16 down to 10 threw off the games we were playing, made it a different party, although of course my son still loved it and the friends who came. But it was a house party and I had gone to major effort and had made things for each child - so that was about 18 things I spent my time making that was a total waste of time (my choice to have used my time in the first place I know) - and we had also spent a fair amount of money on each child, and we are not wealthy, we do need to count the pennies, so that bit of it hurt. So it was so infuriating and really upset me. But - of course the classic thing, what do you do? You contain your anger, you don't actually confront people with their bad behaviour - and it is bad behaviour. I slightly blasted out one Mum and she was quite surprised, but immediately then understood that actually it's not a casual thing and there is time, effort and expense involved for the hosts and she was very apologetic. We missed a b-day party last week because my son had chickenpox, there really was nothing any one could do about that, but I still felt so bad for the Mum that it was a last minute cancellation for her efforts. But, and I don't mean this dramatically, I've clocked up who won't get invites again and who I'll invite to other things but will be prepared for them not turning up on the day. Although my daughter's party a couple of wks ago worked out totally perfectly, those who couldn't come gave immediate rsvps to that effect and no one dropped out or turned up last minute. Who knows! It is London life I think, so on one level I think we have to accept it and make allowances and preparation for it, but on the other hand, maybe we need to start being braver and actually pull people up on their behaviour. I was very close to sending out an e-mail to all the invitees telling them how upsetting and rude it was, but I thought for the sake of good relations at the school gate not to. But isn't that exactly why people just keep getting away with bad behaviour? and we suffer in silence? I don't know what the answer is.
petal
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Re: Last minute birthday party cancellations. Opinions pleas

Postby petal » Thu Jul 17, 2014 12:22 pm

At least you got RSVPs
I am missing several and it's so rude!
I have paid money upfront as it is so if children can't come I'd like to invite others
I also don't want the party to be half empty.
It's rude to not even acknowledge an invite

Of course a party is an optional invite and totally voluntary. However one does have the moral obligation I think to appreciate that even if its just a other party to them it's a big deal for the little child and the parents who organise it.
mungomuffit
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Re: Last minute birthday party cancellations. Opinions pleas

Postby mungomuffit » Thu Jul 17, 2014 12:50 pm

Totally agree Petal and allgood! I had to chase up a couple of replies, but that's nothing compared to pulling out at the last minute. I also have hired enough chairs and tables for the number that said they were coming and that's not been cheap either. It is the first time I've actually given her a proper party too - normally we just go out for lunch as a family because her birthday is during the hols. So she is beyond excitement and now I've had to tell her some of her friends aren't coming.

Just hoping that what comes around goes around.

Glad that I am not in the minority about this, like Kiwi was. How can it be ok? I just find it gob-smackingly rude, London or not, especially since I've known these Mums for a few years now and consider them friends (of the chat-to-after-school variety, not BFF variety!). I'm tempted to give them an invoice ... 8-). And the forecast is for rain!!!

That's a good idea Esille (if I ever do it again!) to have an entertainer that doesn't charge per child. Ahh, you live and learn.

Supergirl - at this stage I feel like I might be having a glass before, during AND after ;) .



.
NYE31
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Re: Last minute birthday party cancellations. Opinions pleas

Postby NYE31 » Thu Jul 17, 2014 3:00 pm

I would invite friends or older siblings etc.

Just to make you feel better, last weekend, we hosted our party for our DS's 3rd birthday at home.

I gave 2 months notice & two people didn't even RSVP despite having mobile, email or the option to reply through nursery.

We then had someone turn up with uninvited much older cousin who then trashed our DS pop up tent in the garden & didn't even say sorry. I had to patch it up with duct tape.

I was warned that this is standard practice, so next year I am outsourcing it all off site & paying for someone else to worry about who is there, have they replied or not, how many to cater for, his & hers party bags, clear up etc.

We didn't have any no shows but DS was at a party a few weeks before where a 1/3 of the children didn't turn up or pulled out on the day or the day before & all via TEXT.
pie81
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Re: Last minute birthday party cancellations. Opinions pleas

Postby pie81 » Thu Jul 17, 2014 3:30 pm

Wow, I'm surprised this is so common (my daughter is not yet at party age so we have this joy to come). I think it's really rude to pull out for anything other than illness/family crisis of some kind. I guess in a few cases a lame excuse could be covering for a family crisis that they don't want to reveal - but there can't be that many crises!

I wonder if it would make any difference if you said in the invitation something like "I have to pay the entertainers by X date so if you think you may not be able to make it after all please let me know before then"? Just to make it clear that you will be out of pocket for no shows? or does that sound rude?
Herculesmum
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Re: Last minute birthday party cancellations. Opinions pleas

Postby Herculesmum » Fri Jul 18, 2014 1:39 pm

It really is so incredibly inconsiderate.

Sadly this isn't just a "children's parties" phenomenon. We had last minute cancellations for our wedding, and as a frequent party organiser I've developed my own "formula" for deciding how many places to pay for/food & drink to cater when planning a party as I just know that some people will do this.

I think first and foremost, the suggestion of the above poster is spot on. Be upfront with the invitations if you are paying per head, or need to know cancellations by a certain date. If you have told people that you are paying per head and they still cancel last minute, you could ask for reimbursement (obviously use your discretion) or at least feel perfectly justified in giving them a gentle reprimand.

As for the party to come, just put it behind you and make the most of it. If you have extra supplies then just be more generous with them on the day. Fortunately the little ones will never notice!
kiwimummy
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Re: Last minute birthday party cancellations. Opinions pleas

Postby kiwimummy » Fri Jul 18, 2014 2:18 pm

hi mungomuffit

sorry just saw your message! no, it wasn't on a thread, it's some other local mums who told me that these days it's inevitable so best to get used to it.

we now only do parties that aren't per head (might get harder as they get older), and i always have a few extra party bags for siblings etc as that often happens too. personally, i never mind extras - the more the merrier and i usually make sure I've catered for it.

to my shame, we once rsvped for a party and forgot to put it in the calendar so did not show up. mortifying.... we now have a new family record keeping system to make sure it never happens again. i felt terrible.
Bubs
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Re: Last minute birthday party cancellations. Opinions pleas

Postby Bubs » Mon Jul 21, 2014 9:59 am

I think the thing to do would be to send a group email round, if posisble, a week or so before the payment deadline saying that you need to pay by xyz date so please confirm or otherwise. People surely must understand that, and then if they do decide to cancel at short notice, they should at the very least do so with better grace knowing that you've paid money for their child to attend.

In fact, I've actually offered to pay the £15 when my DD couldn't attend something at late notice, I was so embarrassed.
mungomuffit
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Re: Last minute birthday party cancellations. Opinions pleas

Postby mungomuffit » Mon Jul 21, 2014 10:09 am

Loads of really good advice here for when (if!!) I do it again. Thanks everyone.

Just to report that, despite the rudeness of last minute cancellations, the party was a roaring success and a great time was had by all :D , especially by the birthday girl which is, after all, the most important thing.