Two months before the event, I send out an email invitation to everyone with the basics – time, day, occasion, menu hints and a request for advance notification of attendance.
One month before the event, I send out an email reminder, mentioning again the time, day and more specifics about the menu. I also again ask for notification of attendance.
My response rate is roughly 50%. Not notifications of attendance…just flat out responses. The lack of responses I’ll address in a later blog post. For now, let’s address how I know who’s coming to dinner.
While the “nays” I receive are plain enough, the commitments are not always as strong. Some are firm “I’m coming.” Some are “I think I’m coming.” Some are “I’m probably coming.” And some are “I don’t know; I have a thing and if the thing doesn’t get in the way I’ll be there but if the thing gets in the way I won’t be there, unless the thing doesn’t happen and then I’ll be there.”
All of which could be annoying if I didn’t always just cook as much food as I cook regardless of who says they’re coming. Worst case, I have lots to store in the freezer and can avoid cooking for the next few weeks. Best case, everyone pigs out and I have a nice clean refrigerator and freezer, with no temptations to overeat.
When it comes to knowing who’s coming for dinner, this is one case where your guess is likely as good as mine.