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Three smart methods to encourage your guests to RSVP

Counsel Quick - Army Counseling Software

Don’t you hate it when you have to take the little bit of free time you have, usually late at night when everyone else in the house is asleep, to prepare 60 invitations to the coffee that it is your turn to host?  It can be quite the process to write the invitations, address them, stamp them, and apply the return address stickers.

But that is not the part you hate. You enjoy the ladies (and sometimes gentlemen) who come to your home to spend time together, share stories of how they are coping without–or sometimes with!–their spouses, and learn the latest information. Many was the time I came home from a coffee to tell my husband information I had learned from another spouse, only to hear him say,”that is classified!”

You may even enjoy the cooking and preparation that goes into getting your home ready to show the other spouses what you have collected on your many PCS tours, and how you made those curtains fit yet another set of windows in your fifth house in five years.

No, the part you hate is looking forward to the coffee and all that it entails, but having to wait for the RSVP’s.

The problem

You send 60 invitations to the coffee group and get 4 RSVP’s. Do you plan for 60? Do you plan for 4? Do you call everyone who has not RSVP’d?

The first time this happened to me, I had 12 show up. I had prepared for 25, just in case. Nothing like leftover seafood salad on soggy Triscuit crackers for your husband’s dinner.

The second time I decided to call everyone who had not RSVP’d. I explained how it makes a hostesses job so much easier when she knows how many to prepare for. Forty guests said they would attend. 20 showed up. This time it was soggy cheese queso on chips for my husband’s dinner.

Name tag envy

"Hello, my name is Rude"

Oh... "Rude" is it? How nice it is to see you again!

The third time I got a bit creative, and perhaps wicked. I made decorative name tags with beautiful calligraphy for those who had RSVP’d. Those who showed up but had not RSVP’d got a fat, black magic marker to write on their Hello My Name Is name tag. When the subject of the difference in name tags came up, I explained why.

Uncomfortable encounter

I have to share one of the most surprising methods of curing those who don’t RSVP, not done by me, but by an acquaintance. It definitely got the importance of good manners across to all that night! The coffee was to be at the commander’s house, but all who called to say they would or would not come were told of a location change, a few houses down the street. Those who had not called in, but who had just showed up, were met by the commander in full mess dress, medals and all. He said to each of them, “I assume you didn’t RSVP or you would have gotten the message that the location has been changed.”

The power of the internet

Another way to invite people is use the Evite online. You type in all the information about the event, type in the email addresses to which you want them sent, and Evite keeps track of the yes, no, and maybe responses for you. Evite will even remind them to contact you if they fail to respond. Just go to and follow the easy directions.

Eventually we worked a plan where those who never planned to attend a coffee let me know and I crossed them off my list. That eliminated a few. I then started asking pairs of spouses to sign up to host the coffees each month. THAT was one of my better ideas! Let others see the lack of response to their invitations and see how important it is to say nay or yea.

Please remember to call the host or hostess whether or not you can attend any event to which you have been invited. If you have had to prepare an unknown amount of food for an unknown number of people, you know how important it is. Don’t you just hate it when others don’t?

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Becky Pillsbury has 37 years of expe­ri­ence as a mil­i­tary spouse. She has served in sev­eral key posi­tions influ­enc­ing spouse and ser­vice mem­ber issues. She has 26 years as a teacher with spe­cific expe­ri­ence in preschool, ele­men­tary edu­ca­tion, mid­dle school, hear­ing impaired, learn­ing dis­abled in 3 coun­tries and 11 dif­fer­ent school sys­tems. She is active in com­mu­nity orga­ni­za­tions that include: Vice President – Still Serving Veterans, Board mem­ber– Association of Retarded Citizens (ARC) of Madison County, and numer­ous other com­mit­tees.

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