Monday, October 14, 2013

Is the Art of Etiquette Dead? Part 1: Party Planning.

I'm going to be blogging about a short series in regards to etiquette, or manners. Lately, I feel that common practices of etiquette or even simple manners are becoming a way of the past. I truly believe that being polite and showing good manners and practicing good etiquette is a way to show sign of respect to other around you.

"Do unto others, as you would have them do unto you." Luke 6:31

Today I'd like to specifically discuss etiquette when it comes to party planning. All these may seem like common knowledge, and hopefully it very well is! However, I can't even tell you how many times I encounters instances where these simple "rules" were not followed.

Invitations: The first step in planning a party is getting out your invitations. we love getting them and we love to send them. Providing all the essentials information on a invitation is crucial; what the party is for, address, time, if food will be served, or a dress code if necessary. But there is one other important detail to remember is sending them out in a timely manner. When it comes to weddings, typically you should mail your invitations six to eight weeks before your wedding date, that should give guests plenty of time to arrange their schedules. For out of town guests, send a save the date six to eight month in advance, and follow with a formal invitation. If you are sending an invitation out for a birthday party or other occasion such as a shower, please allow three to four weeks.

On another note, there are some question as to the type of invitation you should send. In the world of "Facebook" and "Evites", people often use those as a form of invitations. There's nothing wrong with this, however, I would recommend it for informal parties or gatherings. If you are throwing a party, such as a shower, you should send out an actual invitation. "Tiny Prints" is one of my favorite websites to order invitations from. "Shutterfly", also has great invitations and they also often have great promos.

RSVP: Often, invitations will include an RSVP with a date. RSVP is the initials for a french phase, which means "respond please", meaning the host would like to know if you are going to be attending their party. An RSVP is not an optional request. I repeat, not optional! This is one of the most crucial, yet I've found overlooked part of the invitation.

It may seem like an old fashion request, but it is very important to respond as soon as you can, and always by the RSVP date. For weddings, often the carters needs to know exactly how many people they are feeding, provide for enough place settings, etc... because the host has to pay for a certain amount of guests by a certain date.  Or in the case of a party, a host if not catering, needs to know how much food and drink to buy to prepare in advance.

Typically, I provide an email as well as, a phone number to make responding easy to do. Even if send out actual invitations, a lot of websites have online RSVP available as well. "TinyPrints" provides this for your event. Many wedding websites do as well too.

I've found that people these days do not RSVP as much as you would think. This is a simple task to do. If you still don't know if you can't make an event by the RSVP date, just decline. I'm my personal opinion this is a much better option than saying you will go, and then not showing up. This is rude and disrespectful to the host. So is not giving as response at all!

Please, RSVP!

Thank you cards: Once the party is over, if there have been gifts given the host MUST send out hand written thank you cards. I know some people think that a call or a verbal "thank you" is enough. I disagree. I'm a firm believer in showing a personal written thank you note. They are much warmer and more thoughtful. Besides, why wouldn't you want to express your warmest gratitude towards someone who generously gave you a gift? If a guest was not able to make an event, such as a shower or wedding and still sent a gift, you must write them a thank you note. The typical rule of thumb for sending out thank you notes for parties is within one week. For weddings or showers, if you start to receive gifts before the event, start your thank you's then. Before the wedding, send them out within two weeks of receive a gift. After the wedding no later than a month.