Should One Always Send Invitations Or Can You Call A Guest And Invite Them?

Should one always send invitations or can you call a guest and invite them? It's up to you. If it's a formal dinner party, I think the invitations are proper. Whether or not you send invitations to your...

Whether or not you send invitations to your dinner parties and special events is a matter of how formal the even is, your own personal taste, and how much time and effort you are putting into your event.


Brian Hay, a chef and culinary instructor at Austin Community College and a sommelier who also teaches for the International Sommelier Guild, says, "It's up to you. If it's a formal dinner party, I think invitations are proper. I think it adds a little note of elegance to it. But if you are just having people show up at your house for barbecue and it's a laid back affair, you can call them or e-mail them. It's really up to you and how you want to run it. But for a formal engagement, I think you should get a formal invitation."


For formal events it is normally expected to not only send an invitation, but to include a RSVP card with a self addressed stamped envelope. Formal invitations should be mailed 4 - 6 weeks before the actual event with the RSVP reply-by date anywhere from 1- 3 weeks before the date. If you are holding a formal dinner at a place where you need an exact plate count - you will need to find out from them when they need the number and then have your reply-by date about a week before then. This gives the mail a chance to arrive for people who waited til the last minute to send back their reply cards.

Any party that is going to require you to spend a significant amount of time planning deserves to have invitations sent. You can also give your guests a call in addition to an invitation. Either call them ahead of time and let them know it's on the way, or if you haven't heard back from them and had asked for a RSVP, go ahead and give them a call. Chances are they either forgot to RSVP, or it is possible the invitation got lost in the mail.

Invitations for Christmas parties, weddings, and other holiday events should be sent out in plenty of time for your guests to reserve the date, at least 30 days in advance.

Formal events should, of course, have formal invitations, but for more informal get togethers, you can have a lot of fun with invitations. Desktop publishing programs have become extremely easy to use, and you can make great invitations on your own computer for a lot less than it would cost to go to a professional. Email invitations can have different colors, fonts, pictures, and even music. You can even make a Power Point presentation invitation and email it out, or send it to people on a disc. If you're holding a murder mystery party, sending out an invitation on disc marked "Top Secret" is a fun way to get the party started. Specialized and fun invitations can get your guests in the mood long before they ever arrive.

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