Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Perfectly Practical #198 - How to Read an Invitation Part 1



Party season is closing in fast.
Senior Parties, Showers, Weddings, etc. one's social calendar fills up rather quickly as we head into spring and summer.

Perhaps the title of this post should have been something to the effect of  "What an Invitation is Trying to Tell You."

There seems to be a lot of confusion about what information exactly is conveyed through an invitation.  The event hosts may think they are being quite clear but if either the sender or receiver doesn't know the etiquette of correspondence, then there can be confusion, and confusion often leads to embarrassment.
We don't want embarrassment.

So we've received an invitation.  Yea!  How exciting!

From the envelope we know some amount of very important information, from whom the invitation was sent and who is invited.

If an invitation is addressed to:

  • Mr. & Mrs. Engineer Moppins & Family or The Moppins Family - our whole family is invited.  The word family is the key there.
  • Mr. & Mrs. Engineer Moppins - Only Engineer and I are invited and Diva gets to have a date with her grandparents.  :)
  • Mr. Engineer Moppins - Only Engineer is invited
  • Mrs. Engineer Moppins or Ms. Pary Moppins - Only I am invited
  • Miss Diva Moppins - Only Diva is invited
The hosts have reasons for including whom they choose.  If an envelope is addressed to the adults or the children of the house, that means only the adults or children (respectively) were invited.

For example, I have sent invitations before to the adults in households only to have them bring their children or to call and ask if their children were invited.  That makes it very awkward for me as the host to have to then placate children that I wasn't planning on (I'm thinking food and entertainment here) or having to tell my guests no, their children were not invited.  Those situations could have been avoided had my guest read their invitation.

Pary, what's the big deal if people bring their children?  Don't you like their kids?
Yes, I do like my friends children just fine.
But...

1.  Other guests had to make arrangements for their children in order to attend
2.  Some guests were unable to attend because they couldn't get a babysitter for their children
3.  The party was not child-friendly
4.  Other guests may have looked forward to a kid-free event
5.  Not all guests may be comfortable around children

Equally, if your child receives an invitation to a party, you as the parent should not feel obligated to hang around.  Sometimes we parents just get in the way.  A child's party invitation should be fairly clear whether or not parents are invited to stay.  If not, you may ask the hostess if she needs help but as a good guest, we don't want to be an extra burden.  Which brings me to...

If one child is invited to a party, that does not automatically mean that their siblings are also invited.  I'm sure this has happened to all of us at sometime or another.  If you get to a party and the host asks if your other children want to stay, then that's up to you; but, you should not expect it.  The host has purchased a cake and goody bags based on the number of children that have been invited; she may not necessarily have extras.

If the invitation is to the man of the house, the lady of the house should not expect to attend and vice-versa.  That may be obvious to some, but experience leads me to write that reminder.

By knowing how to read (and write) an invitation properly, a lot of hurt feelings, embarrassing confrontations, and general chaos, can be avoided.

This is part of WFMW.

20 comments:

  1. You would think you wouldn't have to spell it out for people, but you're right, some people just don't get it. And if you're not sure, calling the host is always better than just showing up with uninvited guests.

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    1. Oh my! Yes! If there is even the slightest hint of confusion, a quick phone call to the hostess BEFORE the event is always better than just assuming anything.

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  2. Great tips! I never given this much thought, but I have seen people bring their kids to parties with just adults invited...embarrassing. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. I always feel bad for the hostess when that happens.

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  3. love this post thanks for sharing.

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    1. Thank you for coming by Ms. Emily! :)

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  4. Now can you do a post like this for playdates? Am I supposed to stay myself, just drop off, what the heck are the rules?!

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    1. I would ask the hostess. I never expected other moms to stay unless I invited them for coffee specifically and the kiddos for a playdate. It's always better to ask. :)

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  5. What a great resource! I've been wondering about some of these questions just this week as I plan my daughter's 9th birthday party. I'd prefer to have the parents drop the kids off (it's an informal, casual Rainbow Loom party where the kids will lead the activities), but I was afraid that by putting that on the invitation I would appear rude. Yet I know some parents are wary to leave their kids with someone they don't know very well. Thanks for this insight!

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    1. If I want parents to stay, I will say on the invitation "parents welcome" or when they call to RSVP, I'll mention it to them. If not, I greet the child and say something to the effect of "Enjoy some quiet time" or "How will you spend you afternoon?" to the parent in order to stave off any question of whether or not they will stay. Hopefully, the parents will ask you beforehand if they have a question.

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  6. You'd be surprised (well, maybe not YOU!) at how many folks don't know how to decipher an invitation. Great tutorial.

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    1. I've thrown enough parties and catered enough events to know there is a staggering number of folks who don't read invitations properly. That being said, it's hard to know how to do something if you are never exposed to it. So many evites and text invites now that paper invitations are becoming a thing of the past. A little sad to me since I'm a paper kinda gal.

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  7. Nothing is worse than when people assume....lol!

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    1. Yes because when one assumes they make an a.... well, you know the saying. ;)

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  8. Wow you've really opened my eyes on this topic. I never realized there were special ways you can address an invitation to invite only specific people. I've only done formal invitations to our wedding, and they were addressed to the parents/heads of household. We had to include a special note "no kids under 12" because the venue was not child-friendly. I guess I have a lot to learn when I have to deal with future kids party invitations, huh? Thanks for this post!

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    1. Properly addressing and thoroughly reading an envelope make for far less confusion. :)

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  9. This is so very important!!! I have been guilty of feeling so conflicted about what the invitation is saying that I simply RSVP my regrets and we skip out. Sometimes that's easier!

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    1. I can imagine that sometimes it is easier just to RSVP no to an event if the invitation seems confusing. :)

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Your turn! Let me know what perfectly practical comments you have.

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