by: Valarie Roberts
A successful party begins with a proper invitation. It's your choice whether to send a written or verbal invitation to friends and family when you are planning to entertain.
Some people opt to telephone their invitations for ease of acceptance or regrets. When you telephone your invitation you should state clearly who your are, the type of party you are giving, the date, hour, and place.
Anything other than formal requires more detail as to how to dress. Your definition of casual may not be the same as your guests. The best way to address this is to let them know what you will be wearing.
About five days before your party, send a reminder. Include directions, if needed, and your phone number. However, a written invitation is a great idea if you are celebrating a special occasion or having a pot luck.
If you go this route, send the invitations out two to four weeks in advance. This will give your guests plenty of time to prepare for what they will bring to your gathering.
Whether you is sue a written or verbal invitation, don't forget to include a R.S.V.P. date along with your contact information. Otherwise you don't know who or how many people are coming, and your guests won't know by which date the need to respond to your invitation. Which brings me to my next point. I hear more and more often, and have found in my personal experience, that hosts often do not receive R.S.V.P.'s back from their invited guests.
I certainly will not assume that rudeness is the growing trend in our community, but rather, people no longer understand what the term means or the importance of it. The term R.S.V.P. is a French expression. The meaning is "respond é z s ´ il vous plait" translated to " please respond". If R.S.V.P. is written in the invitation it means the invited guest must tell the host if they are coming or if they are not coming to the party. It does not mean to respond only if you are coming, or only if you are not coming (the term "regrets only" is reserved for that instance).
The host will need a definite head count for parties and they need it by a certain date. If they do not have this it could cause numerous problems for the host including difficulty in food quantities, uncertainty over party favors and difficulty in planning appropriate seating arrangements.
Another step to a successful party is having "good guests". Being a "good guest" means not only responding correctly to the invitation, but also by arriving on time, never early. Your host will need every minute available to prepare for the party and doesn't need to entertain you while preparing.