You sent out invitations and your closest friends have responded, but the rest? Zilch. The party's just a week away and you need to buy your supplies, so you e-mail a reminder. A couple more responses come in and then once again, silence. What's going on? It happens a lot these days. Parents who don't RSVP. Or parents who don't RSVP and then show up with a couple of younger siblings! How are you supposed to plan for that without being left with too much or worse, being short on cupcakes for the number of uninvited sibs who show up? First off, try not to get upset or stressed out. "People have so much going on, it's become sort of understood that RSVPs get passed over" says Linda Lang, author of The Party Planner." Yuck. That's just down right rude, right? But it's so true. Lang says to take matters into your own hands with a few clever strategies. And whatever you do, if you're sending invitations, make sure you have all of the contact info you need so you can follow up when you don't hear back.

Other things you can do:

• Have the birthday child HAND DELIVER invites to her friends so the friends will tell your child if they are coming or not. • Get the cell phone numbers to your child's friends' parents so you can call to follow up when you don't hear back from them on time. • If mailing invites, reach out with a little note to make the invite more personal. If you write, "John's excited to have Sam join us!," the parent just may feel more connected and inclined to respond. • For evites, nudge parents with an email: "Please RSVP so I know I'll have enough cupcakes!" • Take invite measures a bit further since plenty of kids are busy on weekends with sporting events. Lang says to send out invitations four weeks before your party date, but know that you need to have a few back-up invites for when declines come in. • For auto-reminders, make the "RSVP by" date earlier than you need to so you'll still have time to get a party of kids together in the event no body has RSVP'd. • Have a plan for those extra siblings that show up! If the party's at a venue, ask if they can accommodate more (so you know what to say when you're surprised), but DON'T pay for extra siblings. That should go to the parent who has brought them. Point them in the direction of the front desk. • If the party's at your home, be ready with extra cupcakes! • Remember ... DON'T STRESS!