When it comes to entertaining, there is no better way to kick off the festivities than a personal invitation. When sending an invitation you need to first figure out why you are sending it. Now this may come sooner rather than later for most, but I tend to wait until the pope is coming to feel that an invitation is “sponge” worthy. An invitation is the first point of contact between you and your guest and it formally announces the upcoming event. It introduces your guest to your special event, and it shows them that, ” this is important! I have fancy handwriting on envelopes to prove it!” Even more important is that you have chosen them to partake in the festivities, and let’s face it, we all have a primal desire to belong with the “cool kids!” (Entertaining at it’s finest!)

Typically formal invitations should be engraved or handwritten by a calligrapher. (You can also opt for paperless post, but when hosting a formal event choose real paper) I choose to hand write mine. I feel that my sloppy chicken-scratch is profoundly simple, and personal. No it isn’t legible, and has a tendency to resemble a 5 year olds rendition of letters to Santa, but I have come to grips that I will never write like my father did. Who wants to be like their father anyways…..forever cool, a marlboro fix-it man who knew everything……but I digress, as my friend Beverly would say.

Back to the festivities, and being one of the cool kids. Invitations should make your guests feel like they are going to miss out on something mind-blowing if they don’t come. Who cares if the main entertainment is Bozo the clown,…. they don’t need to know that, just that it’s going to be amazing, and they will miss fireworks, a parade and Angelina Jolie if they don’t show. ( it’s always bigger and greater than it was if they weren’t there!)

1) Theme

We’re moving

The invitation should express the theme or idea behind the party. For example, last year I received an invitation in a plastic round container holding a tube sock. The party? It was introducing my new business neighbors who are the biggest sock manufacturers in the southeast. Clever and fun. Even more enticing, if I came to the party I received the other sock! Brilliant! People LOVE to get stuff. We are an incentive, what’s in it for me, society. Who cares that I can buy a pair of socks, rather a pack of socks from Costco, for less than the time and energy of going to a sock party. But dammit, I wanted my other sock because it was FREE!

2) The 4W-H club

The 4-1-1 on who, what, where, why and how come. The invitation needs to include the time, date, location, purpose and host. Unless the theme of the party is The Game, clue the folks in on what is going on. People like to be told what to do, otherwise it causes unneccesary anxiety and drinking!

4W-H club

3) RSVP dammit

It is always courteous to let people know what you are doing. In the age of the emotionally ill-equipped teenager (a-hem, my nephew)  that only speaks text messaging and html, your host is not a mind reader, nor do they assume you aren’t coming. Either RSVP as the instructions imply, or pick up the telephone (yes it has voice capabilities and numbers that reach humans verbally)  and let your host know your intentions..

Regardless of how inundated you are with information on a daily basis, an RSVP is a basic social task that only requirea a “yes” or a “no,” which is often achieved with the simple click of a mouse.  But, for whatever reason, the RSVP seems to rub against the grain of contemporary life. It seems that, by asking someone to commit to a plan in the distant future, you are demanding an action that Americans no longer practice.  We like to remain flexible, solidifying plans incrementally as the date approaches.  Phrases like, “Let’s talk tomorrow,” “I’ll call you from the road,” seem to just roll off our tongues. When you don’t RSVP, you are telling your hostess that you don’t care that she had to clean her house from top-to-bottom, get and arrange flowers, shop at least two different stores for groceries, go to another store to make wine selections, not to mention prepare the food {whether it’s the full menu or just h’ors d oeuvres} take a moment, open your calendar and honestly assess if you are able to attend, then click the “yes,” “maybe” or “no” button.  It’s the polite thing to do.~ Design Babylon

4) Count the invitations needed, not the number of guests coming

I have seen many of my friends and clients do this. They create a roster of 121 guests, and order 121 invitations….not realizing that 60 of those guests are married.

Invitation counting

5) Two weeks notice

Give your guests plenty of time to arrange a reason why they will or won’t make it. Remember, Angelina Jolie will be there, you don’t want to miss it! Entertaining is an art, and should always be planned properly.

At least 10 days

Next Monday I sit down with Coryanne Ettiene from, Housewife Bliss to discuss the proper ettiquette of sending and receiving invitations. Here are just a few things Coryanne and I will cover:

1) Is it socially acceptable to send out paper invites?

2) Where are some of the best places to buy invitations?

3) When should an invitation be sent?

Tune in Monday to find out the best do’s and don’ts of party

images: ashley brooke, hypernueral, design babylon, a fixer upper, fun and frugal

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