Party Etiquette Tips and Tricks

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Whether attending or hosting a party there are some points of etiquette to keep in mind. This is a page about party etiquette tips and tricks.


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This isn't a tip but a reminder. When you receive an invitation to a function, and it reads to RSVP or any other type of a request to respond, please reply accordingly.

In the past six months, I have been involved in organizing two large parties with over 50 people. My main responsibility was to help cook for the party. In order for anyone to make any food you must know how many people will be there so you can buy and cook/prepare what is needed. Not only the food but plates, flatware, drinks, etc. must be known so people can plan. Planning a party can be quite expensive. Some people work within a budget.

I was very disappointed that more than half of the people who were invited did not respond in any way. I do not understand it. In order to get a head count, we had to make phone calls. The host/hostess make the effort to print and mail out invitations, so the guests should have the courtesy to reply. In was time consuming and frustrating to make the calls.


At one of the parties, party favors were involved. There were quite pricey but it was a party for a special person. Even though there were extras, some who were courteous enough to reply, did not get one because unknown to us, a few people were bringing their own guests, so that left us short. It would have been polite for the uninvited guest to refuse but of course they didn't.

It has been years since I was involved in organizing a party and I was not happy with the guests who did not reply to the sent out invitations. Now, no one minds calling Aunt Theresa who is elderly and forgets at times, that is something quite different. And it is understandable that people sometimes do forget but this was over half of the invited guests.

If you want to bring any extra people, please let the hostess/host know. These two parties for the most part did not have the same guests. If we would have known current e-mail addresses that may have helped the situation but it was impossible to know all of them.


So this is just a reminder to be polite and courteous and don't forget to reply to a party. You were special enough to receive an invitation so please be kind to the hostess/host of the party and respond as requested. It will make it so much easier and less stressful for them so they can enjoy the party, too.

By it' from NE PA

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When preparing for a party - either for a large group or just some friends over for dinner - it is sometimes hard to remember what beverages people enjoy, especially with the huge variety of soft drinks now available.

To keep things straight, we have an index card in our recipe card file that lists people's names and their beverage preference - such as Caffeine Free Diet Pepsi, or decaf coffee, or white wine but not red. That way we are sure all of our guests are looked after and not confused with other family members or friends.


This is also a good place to keep track of any food allergies your friends or family may have, or dietary restrictions.

Source: own idea

By Regina from Rochester, NY

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Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

I am talking about a jewelry party or any kind of party where you offer food and stuff to buy. What kind of food did you serve? How did the party go? Thanks.


April 28, 20150 found this helpful
Best Answer

I had a Mary Kay cosmetics party, and it was fairly successful. It was hot summer weather, so I served a cold fruit and dip tray, cookies and lemonade/wine coolers for those who wanted them.


This was in the evening after dinner.

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December 6, 2009

I have an etiquette question. If you are invited to a party where the host is selling things (you know like Tupperware, Lia Sophia, Pampered Chef) are you expected to bring something? Normally I would bring a bottle of wine or a snack with me to a party, but I am assuming that instead I should expect to buy something and the host will provide drinks and snacks.

Am I right?

By Pam from Boston


December 6, 20090 found this helpful

You are correct. If you know beyond a shadow of a doubt it is a "sellers' party/gathering you don't need to take anything and shouldn't e expected to either. Now if it's a party for some other reason, baby, birthday, bridal, bachelor- you should probably take something. Unless it's a surprise party for you.


Then sit back and enjoy. :)

But back to the "sellers" party, go with an intention to be open minded. There may be something you are impressed with for yourself or for a friend. If so go ahead and buy it but don't feel obligated to buy something to help you friend out if it's not something you ever have a reason to purchase. The hard road of sales is just as important as the easy one.

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December 9, 20090 found this helpful

Ditto with Suntydt!

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December 10, 20090 found this helpful

Even if it's a baby, birthday, etc., there is no need to take food - only a gift if it's a shower. If it's a sales party like tupperware, jewelry, etc., you do not take anything - it's the hostess' responsibility to provide refreshments (and they're generally light). She is wanting to sell you something. As the previous poster wrote, do not feel obligated to buy if you're not interested. I've been to parties where I've bought and not bought. I've had parties that were great and parties that flopped - it's just the way the ball bounces.

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December 10, 20090 found this helpful

No need to bring anything, but don't feel like you have to buy something either if there is nothing that appeals to you. These days are about being thrifty, not spending money on something you didn't want or need anyway. A good host knows this as well.

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December 11, 20090 found this helpful

The others are right. No need to take a host/hostess gift to a sales party. Instead of bringing anything, you'll be asked to either buy something or host a like party yourself. As previously stated, though, don't feel obligated. If there's nothing that strongly appeals to you (especially if you can't realistically afford it,) and if hosting a like party wouldn't work for you, don't. I couldn't host a sales party if I wanted - I'm disabled and live in a small house with a hermit hubby and three large dogs.

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May 22, 2013

I have been organizing a surprise party for my mom. It's been a lot of work finding the emails for her many friends and emailing them all, many of whom I don't know. I have invited roughly 60 people. I gave people about a week to rsvp. I wanted to send invites out early (about a month and a half before the party) so I will have time to plan. The rsvp date is this Friday, and so far fewer than half of the invitees have bothered responding.

My question is, should I re-send an invitation to the other people who haven't got back to me? And if so, would Saturday be a good re-send date?


By n/a


May 24, 20130 found this helpful

I've gotten invitations to events, block parties, and more, from E-vite. This lets you click Join-Maybe-decline, sends reminders at intervals. I'm sure there are other applications for this, as well. This will make it much easier on you.

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May 24, 20130 found this helpful

Does sending an E-vite require you to have all the email addresses of the invited guests?

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May 24, 20130 found this helpful

Some people might not recognize your email address and not have opened the email. In the subject line I would put surprise party for "Mom's name"...also Sat. is not too soon to send out another email. They may have been waiting to make sure nothing clashes with your event. Good luck.

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May 24, 20130 found this helpful

People are notorious for not responding on time. Sat would be a good day to send out another reminder. You will likely get a few more by then. And then a flurry of replies right after you send out the reminder. If there are some close friends who you think would want to come who are not responding, perhaps you could give them a phonecall. Sometimes, especially if these are older people, they need to be phoned to get them to pay attention to things.

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December 8, 2013

When one hosts a home sales party, the products that everyone purchased are delivered to the hostess. Is it proper etiquette for the hostess to deliver the items to her guests, or should the guests expect to go to the hostesses house to pick them up?



December 8, 20130 found this helpful

Any time I have been to a party where you are expected to buy stuff, the hostess has delivered the items to the guests. That being said it seems like I have heard that some of the selling parties, the merchandise is shipped directly to each guest. Thank heavens I no longer know anybody that has that type of party.

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ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

September 11, 2009

Don't people RSVP to invitations anymore? I have yet to hear from 13 people that I sent invitations to (out of 19 sent). Should I get on the phone and track them down? I think they are being very rude, and I'm kind of afraid of telling them off. I'm also sad for my son, since the party is for him.

Sandy from WI


Don't people RSVP to invitations anymore?

It doesn't seem that people take the time to RSVP anymore. I too find it rude, especially when it's requested on an invite. I always RSVP if it's requested, either in writing, or by phone.

I would do a follow up call myself, saying that the party is coming up and with food to buy and planning to do, you need to know if they are coming or not. It's possible that they simply got sidetracked and forgot about replying. Though that's not an excuse, people tend to run themselves ragged these days and neglect a lot of simple things they should take the time to do. (05/18/2007)

By Carole

Don't people RSVP to invitations anymore?

I too find it awful rude. But I also have been guilty of NOT RSVP'ing myself. But I've tried to be much better for several reasons.

#1 It's hard to plan

#2 It's embarassing to have someone call and say "I didn't see your RSVP, are you coming?"

#3 It's hard for the kids (if it's a party for them) not knowing who is coming.

I had a surprise party for my son this last weekend, I invited 50 in total, only 5 RSVP'd! So with their family, it came to about 37 or so people (about 15 total RSVP's) that I didn't know were coming or not. Some I talked to in passing, some never replied, some I e-mailed. UGH! It was frustrating! But, God had the people that needed to be there, there so...


P.S. Don't even get me started on thank you notes for gifts and parties.(05/18/2007)

By Michawn

Don't people RSVP to invitations anymore?

I would definitely call them. (05/18/2007)

By Sadie

Don't people RSVP to invitations anymore?

People are to lazy, I am planning a couple s shower for this weekend and not one person RSVP to me, I sent out 20 invites. I will just wait and see. I am planning on at least 30 people for food. If they don't show I will have food to eat for a week. I am a person that always sends back a RSVP. I also always write thanks you's too. (05/18/2007)

By tracy

Don't people RSVP to invitations anymore?

Yes, Sandy, I would phone them and track them down. Just tell them you need to order/prepare the food and you need an accurate head count and you need a yes or no answer now!

Rude, ungrateful people are really high on my pet peeve list these days! The last four weddings we attended (and sent generous gifts!) netted us ZERO thank you notes!! There was no way the gifts became separated from our cards. I have a good relationship with tape, and lots of it! I hate to be this way but, for future invitations, I'm just about ready to start sending a nice card, congratulating the couple on their marriage, and nothing more! The four couples on my "list" had my address to mail me the invitation! There is no excuse for not knowing where to send a thank you!

I have seriously toyed with the idea of mailing future "offenders" a packet of "Thank You" cards (anonymously) when they fail to acknowledge my gift. I guess I won't because that lowers me to their level, but I get some pleasure from imagining their reactions! (05/18/2007)

By Marge Mayhew

Don't people RSVP to invitations anymore?

It's me again. I do agree that people are busy, but sheesh, it's so rude not to make a simple phone call, or send back a note. Many of these people have seen me since the invites went out. I have gotten two maybes now, how can I plan for maybes?

Last year, I wanted to have a party for my son, but I didn't tell him. I'm glad I didn't because NO ONE rsvp'ed or CAME! I cried, but I didn't tell him. He is such a sweet kid, too, and a nice boy. I also hate the no "Thank You's" crowd, how rude and ungrateful. (05/19/2007)

By Sandy from WI

Don't people RSVP to invitations anymore?

I have tried to plan and pay for 3 weddings and it is sooo rude not to RSVP. We rented a hall to hold all that would be invited and only half showed up. We could have gone with smaller and closer to home. The poor last child may have to do it all herself cause I am burned out trying to guess who cares and who doesn't. Even relatives are rude about not letting one know. I have had kids parties where only two came, very sad. I have been to wedding receptions where they ran out of food due to this problem. When people don't say thank you, you feel like not bothering next time. (05/21/2007)

By Claudia

Don't people RSVP to invitations anymore?

People have gotten lazy and rude in this country. No one thinks they need to use manners any more. I hope you still hear from them. No, I wouldn't go to the trouble of phoning them.

I get very mad at those who send no thank you's. It's a small thing to do, doesn't take much time or effort (or expense) but means a lot to the gift-giver.

Manners have just gone out the window here, sad but true! (05/21/2007)

By Debbie Dzurilla

Don't people RSVP to invitations anymore?

No, people don't RSVP much anymore. I have 3 daughters and I've found from kids parties I've both hosted and attended. If you invite the whole class, you'll get about 3 or 4 kids to show up. If people you invite are close friends or relatives, sure, call them up and ask if they're coming.

I've found that it's easier to do a "reverse RSVP". On the invitation, ask people to call if they plan on coming. I don't think people like to call and decline but if they're definitely coming, they usually call to confirm or ask specifics about the party. Also, don't send the invitation out too far in advance or people will forget, lose the invitation, etc. (05/21/2007)

By Nancy

Don't people RSVP to invitations anymore?

I don't invite back a two time Non-rsvper! If you can't tell me you can/can't come, what kind of friend are you? I feel sorry for your son's friends. They will not know to teach their children when they are adults, my kids always RSVP and write thank you notes (before they are allowed to play or wear a gift!) Manners are a thing of the past. And don' get me started on e-mail thank yous. I should e-mail that person a photo of the gift I was going to get them! haha

By Diana

Don't people RSVP to invitations anymore?

I wouldn't hesitate for a moment to call and find out if they had received the invitation and were coming. Call and just ask if they received the invitation. Postage keeps going up and folks don't always get their mail. Call them. I would. Connie (05/21/2007)

By Connie

Don't people RSVP to invitations anymore?

Perhaps if you cut the invitation in half, with instructions, for them to mail their half back to you to match up to their other half of their invitation, will get their attention, and also, the RSVP that is on their half. If they act like rude children, and play games, treat them as such. I would not call the invited guest back. To me, that is desperate for their attendance.

By Diane

Don't people RSVP to invitations anymore?

I planned a surprise party for my husband when he turned 30 last December and set up a special email address for people to send an email to in order to RSVP without my husband knowing. I invited about 30 people and nearly everyone let us know one way or another. About 25 people showed up, and all of them had let me know they were coming. I really didn't have any trouble with people not RSVPing. I think email made it easy for them to do so at their convenience and there was no phone tag involved or things to remember to put a stamp on and put in the mail.

It sounds like several people are having the same problem over and over... I have to wonder if their guests are just not nice people, why do they keep inviting them back? And if they do seem to be nice people, is there something the host or hostess is doing that is making them avoid the host or hostess over and over? (05/21/2007)

By Allison

Don't people RSVP to invitations anymore?

I always had better luck with evites/email. Sorry. It's the state of society. (05/21/2007)

By Robin

Don't people RSVP to invitations anymore?

I would like that question answered too. We recently sent out 75 invitations to our sons High school graduation. I was thinking of 150 or so people. I have received about 8 replies. We will have approx. 25 people. If the other people show up, I'm not sure what we will do. We have homeschooled our son and I feel bad for my son. He says he doesn't mind. The most important people to my son are coming. I guess that's all that matters. This still makes it difficult to provide the food for this shindig. (05/21/2007)

By Susie from Buckhead, GA.

Don't people RSVP to invitations anymore?

Yes, people are RUDE! When our youngest daughter got married 4 years ago, there were about 10 couples (20 people) that did not R.S.V.P.. We were having a sit down dinner. Well, you guessed it, they showed up. I politely told them that I didn't receive their reply and I hadn't planned on them coming, so I had no seating for them. (Place cards had already been made out) Yes, they were embarrassed to no end, I was glad! I know I sound awful to say this but I was tired of people not showing up when invited. (05/21/2007)

By Sherri

Don't people RSVP to invitations anymore?

Not responding to an invitation is just plain RUDE! Do not invite them again. Sherri, good for you! You go Girl! (05/21/2007)

By Carol Churchill

Don't people RSVP to invitations anymore?

Did you ask them to RSVP? I don't respond unless asked to RSVP. (05/22/2007)

By timmel

Don't people RSVP to invitations anymore?

People forget, the mail doesn't get delivered. Be nice and give 'em a call. Take the high road. Your biggest worry is all the rsvp's being in, you prepare for 20 people and only 1 shows up. We attended a birthday party years ago and my little son was the only one that came. Possibly if you send out reminder emails, it would help those with short memories. (05/22/2007)

By Holly

Don't people RSVP to invitations anymore?

The no RSVP and NO Thank You gets under my skin as well. We were taught at home and 4th grade English/Writing class, guess they figure it is not important anymore. I am going to a class reunion in June. The man responsible sent out the initial paper work in plenty time and had everyone RSVP by a certain date. He said he does not know how many to plan for. I called some on his list and one lady which lives in the area said she got the info and threw it in the trash. I was shocked. I ask her if she was going to respond and she said no. She has no ill feelings with any of the class mates and she was my best friend in school. So I guess, after all these years, I will not see her when I travel 350 miles to go to the reunion. I will not spend my time looking her up. I could go on and on but you all would get tired of reading. A simple Thank You lets you know the gift was received whether it was liked or not. Enough said. (05/22/2007)

By Rasta

Don't people RSVP to invitations anymore?

I would absolutely call them and say "since I never got a response from you and need to give a final count to the caterer (or whatever), I need to know for sure if you are attending or not." Let them know in a mild way that you don't appreciate being left in the dark. My sister sent out 80 wedding invitations with a STAMPED reply card. By the date she had put on the invitations as the reply date, only 50 had responded. Then, the postal rates went up!! The stamps she put on the responses that were not mailed back were wasted! That is the UPMOST of laziness, it already had a darn stamp on it. All they had to do is mark their response and put it in the mail. I would for sure call and put them on the spot. Good luck with your party!! (05/23/2007)

By Cindy

Don't people RSVP to invitations anymore?

I think fewer and fewer people these days even attempt to RSVP. I agree you should call them, and just pleasantly say "we need to know how much food to have prepared, we would hate to have to turn people away hungry since we didn't plan for people unless we heard from them." You absolutely should NOT have to call them, but you will drive yourself crazy if you don't. (05/26/2007)

By Becki in Indiana

Don't people RSVP to invitations anymore?

I am always surprised by the number of people who do not RSVP. I try to RSVP as soon as I get the invitation. If I really want to go, I'm of course excited and respond right away. If not too excited, I simply respond saying I can't make it. It gets it off my mind instead of hearing that little voice say "you still have to respond". By not responding, it tells me that the event is not that important, and you could really care less if you go or not. I have forgotten to RSVP in the past, and it's been to events that I'm not too excited about. When I throw a party and don't hear from people, I get the feeling like they don't care much, and they fall down the list when it comes time for another invitation.

By Rhonda

Don't people RSVP to invitations anymore?

AAAH! I am so glad that there are others out there that feel the same way I do. I am throwing a huge surprise birthday party for my sister and husband next weekend. I am having it catered, so of course, I am paying for the food per person. Since I am having a difficult time getting RSVP's I have no clue how much to order! If I order too much, I'm paying for food that is not going to be eaten. If I order too little, I look like a cheap schmuck. (07/21/2007)

By Aimee- Milwaukee

Don't people RSVP to invitations anymore?

If it is an important/pricey event - even if you send out printed invitations, put everyone on your evite list and send an evite - that way they can rsvp on line and you can keep on easily sending them multiple reminders to RSVP!(07/23/2007)

By pam munro

Don't people RSVP to invitations anymore?

WHAT is SO HARD about taking a PRE-stamped envelope and filling out whether or not you are attending an event and dropping it in the mailbox. I cannot for the life of me understand this. Wedding is coming up and RSVPs are due in like 4 days and I'm still waiting to hear from at least 30 people.

By Theresa

Don't people RSVP to invitations anymore?

It is just common courtesy to respond, one way or another, to an invitation. We made it simple by including phone number and email. Personally, if someone doesn't want to come to the party, fine, but please just respond! The hostess needs the numbers to order the proper amount of food and favors. In our case, when I tried to find out about some stragglers, the future mother-in-law got angrier than you can imagine. She doesn't understand what difference it makes to RSVP or not! I see some anger issues with her and am now very nervous about getting together in person with her at the shower. Bottom line, every family may do things a little differently, but courtesy and graciousness is something everyone should have in common. (03/26/2008)


Don't people RSVP to invitations anymore?

I think you should remind people once and state that if you don't hear from them by a certain date, that it is understood that they are not attending and will not be on the guest list. (07/21/2008)


Don't people RSVP to invitations anymore?

I find it rude also! If people don't RSVP at all, I get all up on them about it. I do not care. (08/15/2008)

By Emilee

Don't people RSVP to invitations anymore?

I am in the same boat with folks not RSVPing. I put a date to respond by, email and phone number, etc. About 1/4 still have yet to respond and a bunch waited until the day before the party to let me know. We are having the party at a restaurant so I really needed the head count. My family has said (and yes, some of my own family didn't reply) not to worry, if extras show up, they can pay for their own food/drink. But I found a tip online that I thought was interesting ... on the invite, don't list a time. If folks intend on coming, they'll call/email to find out the time and there's your RSVP. I may try that next time around. :-) (01/03/2009)

By Darlene

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