Inviting People to Dinner Without Invitations
July 11, 2011 9:50 AM   Subscribe

Do you have ideas for an online RSVP system for a standing weekly dinner?

I went through other threads and didn't see anything that fit my specific situation. I am creating a weekly Sunday dinner that any of my friends (up to 6 or 8) can attend. Different people will likely attend each week. I'm not sending out invitations, just letting people know via Facebook and e-mail that it's there and letting them RSVP online. I want to focus on the cooking and not on people flip-flopping about whether they're coming over and having to guess whether there's room for someone last-minute. Here's what I need it to do:

-Let people RSVP without having received an invite
-Let me know who's attending, not just numbers
-Let someone RSVP-ing know if there is room
-Be freestanding (I don't have a website)
-Ideally, there would be a spot on the form/page/whatever where I could let people know what's for dinner.
posted by *s to Computers & Internet (15 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
posted by gregglind at 9:54 AM on July 11, 2011

Evite is pretty good.
posted by TheBones at 9:55 AM on July 11, 2011

my friends and I have a yahoogroup set up for a weekly movie night. Every week, we set up a poll for the movie and everyone can log in and either vote for one of three movie choices or indicate that they're abstaining.

For your model, you can just post a weekly poll indicating what you're planning on making for dinner and let the poll choices be, "I'm showing up." "I'm thinking about it" and "Won't make it this week."

The creation of the poll can spam all members of the group to remind them of the event. Poll results can be set to be publically viewable so everyone can see who's showing up and if there's space at the table. If one of your friends is eager to join in, they can just setup an account and join the group.
posted by bl1nk at 10:05 AM on July 11, 2011

I think a Doodle poll would work for this. It's more intended for like scheduling where you're asking "which of these 8 times could you make", but there's no reason you couldn't set it up with only one date and all the info at the top. You can either make the names public to everyone or set it up as an admin so only you can see the names, but still make the responses public, and as people respond they get added to the bottom, not alphabetically or anything, so you can see what order people RSVP'd in in case someone messes up and RSVPs yes after it's full or whatever.
posted by brainmouse at 10:06 AM on July 11, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks for the answers so far. It may just be that I need to suck it up and get a website, because I don't want to pester the 100 or so potential attendees with weekly invites.
posted by *s at 10:11 AM on July 11, 2011

You could probably get a site setup pretty quick with Tumblr.
posted by backwards guitar at 10:13 AM on July 11, 2011

A shared google calendar or google doc?
posted by mattbucher at 10:17 AM on July 11, 2011

Check out the stuff at zoho. I haven't fiddled around with too much other than the document editing and sharing apps, but the free offerings are pretty robust. Maybe a discussion board would work?
posted by crush-onastick at 10:25 AM on July 11, 2011

You have to pay for it, but you could do a private group on Meetup, set up a recurring event, and set the group not to send out reminders / invitations to people.

You'd have to get them all to sign up for, though.
posted by jacquilynne at 10:51 AM on July 11, 2011

I love interacting with the members of the group I run on there.
posted by zombieApoc at 10:54 AM on July 11, 2011

I'd second the Doodle Invite. You'd just need to put a link to the current Doodle on your facebook or email message and people could sign up. We do that with our van pool and it works out pretty well.
posted by advicepig at 2:14 PM on July 11, 2011

I've used meetup for this. There used to be a "thing" where if you start up a group, doing everything but actually paying for the membership fee, and cancel it out... you'd get an e-mail the following day or so inviting you to go ahead and try it out for half of the regular price. It you go that route, it'll cost you as much as 48hrs but it will save you some actual cash.

P. S. Are you doing this like an underground restaurant? You might want to look up Casa Saltshaker and view the groups listed on their site, to see what other groups are doing. ;-)
posted by ChefJoAnna at 2:57 PM on July 11, 2011

Best answer: What about the facebook notice itself? If you let people know (tell them in real life and/or via your emails) this is how we're going to do it:
Facebook notice will go up on X day of week and will say what's for dinner.
If they want to attend, they should RSVP as a comment to the facebook notice.
Once 8 people have replied, then the event is "full".

If people know the expectations, then the actual method does not have to be specifically coded to be an RSVP system.
posted by CathyG at 3:48 PM on July 11, 2011

I haven't had any experience with it, but MealShare looks interesting.
posted by vespabelle at 9:19 PM on July 11, 2011

Response by poster: I wound up putting together a separate Facebook page as though it were a business and asked my friends who said they were interested to 'like' the page so they'd get updates (which they can opt out of or mute from their FB stream). I was hesitant to make people sign up for a new service, pay money myself, or flood their personal e-mail inboxes, which made this the least-painful, yet still imperfect option. (Some of your other lovely suggestions would work if my friends were a little more tech-savvy, but I've got all levels.) I'm going to put up a status update every week with the menu and people can RSVP in the comments. It won't count RSVPs, but I think people can figure it out when we're full.
posted by *s at 6:54 PM on August 1, 2011

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