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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

A Lesson on Invitation Etiquette

I'd like to do a post that's a little bit different, if you don't mind. But I think that what I'll be discussing is a topic that doesn't get addressed nearly enough, and will serve as important knowledge for planning your future lolita gatherings and parties - invitation etiquette.

From Make-Your-Own-Invitations.com

Before I begin, I'd like to point out that I'm not writing this blog with the intent of putting anyone off or making people feel guilty. In fact, I'm mainly writing this while keeping a personal situation of my own in mind - one in which myself (the hostess) and the other party could have handled the situation more eloquently. Learning from my own mistakes I seek to only educate others and prevent misunderstandings from occuring in your lives!

Now, let's say you want to host a party. This party could be anything, from a birthday party, to a more intimate lolita gathering among close friends. You are the host or hostess and you have a few things to consider when figuring out who to invite to your event:

1. How many people can you have in your party?
2. Are the people you're planning to invite a good mix (aka will everyone get along? Does everyone know at least one other person attending?)
3. Where are you going and what will you be doing? (For example: going to a bar, only invite 21+ friends and fewer of them)

Once you've considered all of those factors and have a solid idea of who you'd like to have attend your gathering, the next step is invitations!

From weddingliasion.com

Many of you are quite aware that the age of paper, snail-mail invitations has been virtually dead since Facebook allowed us to "create an event", and in this day and age our entire lives are basically wired through social networkings sites. Obviously this has its ups and downs. Creating an event online is often the easiest and fastest way to get invitations out, as well as receive RSVPs, and you don't have to worry about anyone's card getting lost in the mail (in the case of weddings and other "milestone" events, a written invitation is still the more appropriate way to go). However, because we are so "wired" to the Internet, the downside of being able to create events online is that those who are not invited will find out one way or another. Facebook tries its best to counteract this by giving us the options of making "private" or "secret" events, however you have to take into consideration there will be friends of the invited party members who don't receive invitations, and photos will inevitably pop up after the event takes place.

In short, no matter what you do or which route you take with your invitations, someone's feelings will be hurt at some point. Most of us knows what it feels like to be that kid who didn't get an invitation to a birthday party or was "left out" at some point in life - it sucks, to put it bluntly. As the host or hostess, do you know how you're going to deal with those who's feelings are hurt? If you're the one who's been left out, how are you going to handle the situation? Here's my advice for both sides:

To the host/hostess:
1. Be prepared to explain your reasoning, but be kind about it. If there was a cap, explain that.
2. If someone was uninvited because of issues with someone who was invited, tread around that very carefully. In some cases the uninvited will be understanding, in other cases not so much. It depends on the person.
3. Reassure the person who wasn't invited that it's nothing personal, and when you plan your next event make sure they are included.

To the uninvited (I realize that's such a cruel sounding word but I can't think of a better one at this time >_<):
1. Take a deep breath before blowing up. If you allow yourself to blow up you will most likely say something you regret.
2. If you're concerned, talk to the host/hostess privately. Do not attack him/her, but rather ask them to explain. Most likely there will be a sound reason and no offense was meant.
3. Again, keep your cool, and try your best not to sweat it. Everything will most likely work itself out :)

Now, a word on the situation I was in, so that you can learn from my mistakes: I hosted a party recently and could only invite so many people. I tried to make sure that the people I invited would be a good mix and that there would be a few from each group of friends. I made an event on Facebook and set it as private so that it wouldn't show up publicly on anyone's page. There was one friend I did not invite because this friend lived in a different area, had a young child, and would be leaving for the military soon (or would already be gone by the time the part rolled around - I wasn't sure at the time, and hadn't talked to him in quite a while). Well, while a mutual friend who had been invited was hanging out with this friend, he found out about the party, and wondered if he was invited. When I explained that he wasn't, he got quite upset, and made a bit of a rage post on Facebook.

Now, I was in the wrong in a few ways for this. I should have allowed this person to come seeing as he happened to be in town - the handling wasn't exactly golden on my end. However, on the other side, my reasons were never asked, and if they had been this would have been a much calmer situation that would have easily been resolved. Instead of coming to me and talking to me about it, all communication was done through a third party, and angry posts were made on the Internet by this person (which then involves others who had nothing to do with the situation).

Both parties could have handled things better. I have definitely learned from my mistakes and will only improve from this point on in how I handle my own events and invitations!
Hopefully this little post has provided you with a bit of education on invitations and events as well! Good luck with your future party-plannings! :)


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