On Entertaining: The Invite

While doing up an invite for D's birthday brunch (which in my rush, I didn't end up sending out), I cracked open a folder of old invites for a template and a little inspiration (I’ve got a ton of stuff saved in there from patterns I like to invites from friends that I thought were too darling to delete from my inbox forever) The folder sucked me in for hours (as these things tend to do), and got me thinking – in this day and age where invites are sent by email or (god forbid) whatsapps, the art of the invitation is slowly dying out.

Which makes me sad because there’s nothing I love more than receiving a beautiful invite! That little piece of card stock with its beautiful embossing has this amazing power to make the receiver feel special and wanted at the event - regardless of what that event might be.

When I received Daniel & Tania’s handwritten invitation to their wedding, which came with a shower of confetti that I later found out was hand made by the bride, I knew there was no way I was going to decline the invitation to attend the ceremony. That little card conveyed all the sincerity and warmth of the couple, and It felt really good knowing that they wanted me there on their special day.  

The invite also set the tone and captured the essence of the event. Standing there, reading it for the first time, I knew what to expect (and I even knew what to wear!) That’s the real power in a perfectly executed invite.

When it comes to entertaining, I’ve blogged about all sorts of things – the importance of the décor and the set up, the type of food and how you plate and serve it, the Dos and Don’ts of dinner parties, cooking up a storm and still getting dressed and tressed in time to receive your guests, I’ve even talked about seating arrangements! But I forgot the first thing that guests would see before the party – the invite.

So let’s get down to the very basics, think of it as the Invite 101: a few rules will do.

1. Include the PDTs: Purpose, Place, Day, Date, Time
2. A dress code, where appropriate (e.g., bring your swim trunks, and your flippy floppies… you wouldn't want some poor fool to show up unaware in formal wear)
3. How and Who to RSVP to (though these days with email and all it's pretty darn obvious)
4. And if like me you've got house rules too, you'd better lay down the law early (candy is dandy, but liquor is quicker)

In the process of doing a little more research on this topic, I stumbled upon a piece by Tatler on party etiquette. While it's a little more stringent than my own personal set of house party rules, I thought I'd share since it's good to know even if you don't follow:

1. Did you know that RSVP is the acronym for respondez, s’il vous plait? Oh you didn't? Well now you do. So please do so.
2. If there is a dress code, abide by it. It doesn’t matter where you came from or where you need to go afterwards, abide by the dress code. The only exception is perhaps if you must attend a funeral directly after the cocktail (I wouldn’t be so extreme, but please remember that whoever is hosting put a ton of effort into it so the least you could do is put on some nice clothes)
3. As a general rule, don't try to out-dress or outshine the bride at her own wedding/host at her own dinner/birthday girl at her own party (it will only come back and haunt you later)
4. For parties, a plus one is generally acceptable but don’t push it, RSVP-ing on behalf of your whole posse, unless this is asked of you, is acceptable only if you’re a rap star
5. If attending a dinner party at someone’s home, one should always bring something (people’s homes are not a soup kitchen, they’re not there to feed you for free)

For invites to formal affairs (such as weddings), it is advised that you send out your invitations a minimum of 8 weeks (I know you're flipping out at this, but it's really not that much lead time for something so important) before the big day, unless your game plan is to have as little people as possible actually attend (with the cost of weddings these days, that's not a bad strategy).

If you're uber efficient and organized like Kai (of Jo & Kai) is you'll send out those invites four months in advance.

And because no post is complete without pictures, you can click on the invites for pictures of past parties - did they set the tone and do they make you want to come party with me?