I am adding a new feature to my Party Fairy blog - a weekly "Reader's Query" entry in which I answer my reader's frequently asked questions. If you have a question about something party or cake-related, email it to me and I'll try to answer it on my blog.
So...to kick things off, I will go ahead and answer one of the most common questions I get from people:
"How do I keep my guest list from getting out of control?"
When planning a party, people often have trouble figuring out how to invite the guests they want without offending anyone or hurting anyone's feelings. So, they end up inviting their daughter's entire preschool class (even the kids their daughter doesn't play with), or all the neighbor kids (even the obnoxious, overly aggressive ones), or the entire swim team (even though the parents have never met some of the kids.) You get the picture.
The bottom line is that it's YOUR party, and you only have to invite the people that you really want to invite. Easier said than done, right?
Your heart may be in the right place, and it's honorable and sensitive to want to avoid hurting people's feelings. (Especially children's feelings!) But it is possible to create your ideal guest list without inviting everyone within a 2-mile radius of your house.
Here are some tips:
1. DON'T hand out invitations at school. (Or church, or soccer practice, or scout meetings, etc.) If possible, mail them to your guests, or send out an evite over email.
2. Invite only the kids that your children really enjoy playing with and are actually friends with. If you invite the whole class, and then your child doesn't play with or talk to some of the guests at the party, then you're going to end up with hurt feelings anyway. (Which is what you're trying to avoid in the first place!)
3. Ask your child not to talk about his or her party openly at places like school or church, where uninvited guests might hear about it and get upset.
4. If a parent approaches you and asks why her child wasn't invited to the party, kindly and gently give her a reason. ("I'm having the party at my townhouse and I could only invite a small number of kids" or "We did a big party last year and wanted to tone it down this year," etc.) If you handle the situation with care and respect, you can diffuse any anger or disappointment that the person may be feeling about not being invited.
Good luck! And remember to send any other questions you have to me at Rachelthepartyfairy@gmail.com. Thanks!