When it comes to entertaining, there is no better way to kick off the festivities than with a personal invitation. Sending an invitation is definitely a lost art, so it’s the perfect opportunity to set your event apart from the others.

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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, and or worth while. Like a lot of people I know, I have a tendency to throw together a mass email of my upcoming party, and assume free food and booze will be enough of a reminder. But 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 your festivities, and let’s face it, it’s an honor to be invited.

Invitations should make your guests feel extremely special and like they are going to miss out on something mind-blowing if they don’t come. Who cares if the main event is Bozo the clown,…. they don’t need to know that. Point is,  it’s going to be amazing, and they will miss fireworks, a parade and bozo falling in the pool if they don’t come.

art of the Invitation

The art of the invitation for any festivity. How to send an invite, prepare with ease, and be a gracious host.


The invitation should express the theme or idea behind the party. For example, a few years ago 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 free 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, and super fun!

The 4W-H club

What the heck is that, you ask? The 4-1-1 on who, what, where, why and how. Your 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 and why they need to come. People like to be told what to do, otherwise it causes unneccesary anxiety and drinking!


It is always courteous to let people know what you are doing. In the age of the emotionally ill-equipped teenager 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, an RSVP is a basic social task that only requirea a “yes” or a “no,”.  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

Count the invitations needed, not the guests

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.

Two weeks notice

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

Take the proper steps to invite your guests and you’re guaranteed to have an awesome party. Let them know all the necessary information and always be a gracious host.