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Old 11-09-2010, 05:55 AM   #1
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Lightbulb Help with Invitation Wording

I am preparing invitations for my Mother's 60th Birthday celebration. The event is to be an open house from 1-5 pm on a Saturday. Following that my sister and I and our families are taking my mom and her husband out for dinner.

Here's the problem.

We recognize that some people are coming from out of town and may wish to visit longer than time allotted. i.e. they may not want to leave at 5pm. So, we are more than happy to have these people join us for dinner, but we want to make it clear - although not rudely - that if they join us for dinner, they are expected to pay for their own meal. We will also need to know in advance if they are planning on joining us as we will need to make a reservation.

So......how do I word the part about dinner?

"You're invited blah blah blah to an open house from 1-5pm etc etc
Following this celebration the family plans to treat Shirley and John to a celebratory dinner at the Mandarin (insert address of restaurant). If you would like to join us for the meal, please let us know ASAP so we can make the appropriate reservation."

If you received this verbage would you understand what I meant? Would you be offended by my not offering to pay your way? Is it clear enough that we are treating MOM and JOHN and not ALL of the guests?

I'd love some feedback.

Thanks.
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Old 11-09-2010, 06:38 AM   #2
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Frankly, there really is no way to word it without ruffling someone's feathers. To invite someone out to a celebratory dinner only to say they have to pay their own way is, in my opinion, tacky. To avoid this, why not hold the dinner the night before or the night after?

Keep in mind, too, that after all the preparation and hours of socializing, you, your families, and your mother and her husband may not feel up to going out for a big dinner and may have just as much fun hanging out with the stragglers eating what's left over from the open house.

Hope this helps.
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Old 11-09-2010, 07:29 AM   #3
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Sue. Thanks for responding. You make a very valid point about the timing of the dinner - perhaps we should consider changing the date of that piece of the celebration.

Anyone else want to chime in on this one?
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Old 11-09-2010, 07:35 AM   #4
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Well, I was going to post a message, but then I thought I'd better not, but since you asked.....

This is a tough one and I'm probably not going to be of much help here, but if I were invited to a dinner I would think that it would be paid for. Honestly if you are not paying for the guests to attend the dinner then I would not invite them. It could become a sticky situation for you if you do not make it clear on the invitations that you are not paying for dinner, KWIM? I'm not sure how you could word it because the way it is written at the moment I wouldn’t expect to be paying for my own dinner. Again, I'm sorry that I'm of no help here.

Another option for you may be to only invite as many as you can afford or perhaps split the bill with other family members. I don't know I'm just thinking quickly here.
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Old 11-09-2010, 07:42 AM   #5
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Could you say something about it's a "NO HOST" event?
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Old 11-09-2010, 07:50 AM   #6
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I'm going to agree that it would be a good idea to move the family dinner to a different date. Partly because of the difficulty of wording it on the invitations - and I don't think it's out of line for you to want any added guest to pay for their own dinner. You'd be talking major expense for you & your sister to pick up that tab Mainly because after the prep work for the open house, and the 4 hours of visiting and being "on" for those guests, I know I would really cherish a little down time. I don't know how old your kids are, but a special out-to-eat dinner after 4 hours of best-behavior open house is an invitation to a melt down. Even for the adults!
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Old 11-09-2010, 08:39 AM   #7
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You could do a brunch somewhere the next morning so it would give everyone a break after the open house the afternoon before but the out of towners/overnight people would have something the next morning to do more socializing. You could word it something like, "The immediate family will be meeting Mom & John at brunch on Sunday morning. If you would like to join us please contact So & So place to make your reservations" Or just use this wording for the dinner...if they are in charge of making their own reservations for dinner I would think they would know they are on the hook for paying their own way.

I guess i would think your dinner wording is kind of ambiguous and probably just ask but older folks might just assume the dinner is part of the celebration you're putting on for your mom.

Hope that helps some....
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Old 11-09-2010, 10:53 AM   #8
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Again....thanks all for responding. It is truly appreciated.

After reading all the responses, I am now fairly certain that we will move the dinner portion of the event to a different day and just not include it on the invite at all. That way there is absolutely no ambiguity. I definitely don't want to be on the hook for the entire dinner bill and I certainly don't want to offend anyone!
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Old 11-09-2010, 01:16 PM   #9
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Good decision Kristine.
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Old 11-09-2010, 01:43 PM   #10
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Sounds like a good decision.
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Old 11-09-2010, 05:24 PM   #11
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When I read the original post, I didn't read that if you hang out with the family at the restaurant afterwards that you were on your own for your meal.

How about the first part of the invite, then include a small card, business card size, to the out of town guests that says something like "The family has reservations at ______ restaurant at 6pm. If you would like to take your family out for a meal, we would be happy to increase the headcount for the reservation. Please RSVP to ________ by ________ in order for us to make those arrangements."
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Old 11-09-2010, 08:47 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mindykid View Post
How about the first part of the invite, then include a small card, business card size, to the out of town guests that says something like "The family has reservations at ______ restaurant at 6pm. If you would like to take your family out for a meal, we would be happy to increase the headcount for the reservation. Please RSVP to ________ by ________ in order for us to make those arrangements."
This would be a more tactful way of addressing the issue, but I still think you should reconsider the dinner plans altogether (which I think you have).

Here are my thoughts:

1. I guess it matters how far out of town these people are coming, and how long it has been since the family has seen them.

2. Maybe the out-of-towners ate lots of appetizers, etc., at the open house and don't want to go out for a meal, but instead want to linger at the home after the open house.

3. I don't know how many people you're inviting to this event or what you plan on serving, but as I stated before, after all the preparation and hours of socializing you may realize you don't want to go out.

Although they no longer do it, my parents hosted a Christmas open house for 20+ years on the first Sunday of December and I helped with invitations, preparations, serving, socializing, etc. (with or without my own family in attendance) all those years. They had anywhere from 60 - 75 people in and out all afternoon long. Many of the people they invited were people they only saw in person on this one occasion. It was an exhausting day! Each and every year, however, several immediate neighbors and many out-of-towners lingered long after everyone else had gone home. We'd gather up all the leftover food and sit around the kitchen table chatting, singing, telling jokes, eating and drinking. It was a time for the lingerers to catch up with my parents, ask about my siblings and my husband and kids, etc., and just hang out. It was always a lot of fun, and every year those that lingered the year before remarked how much fun it was to linger. With the exception of some of the immediate neighbors, it was usually a different crowd of lingerers each year.

I think you've already made your decision about the dinner, but I just wanted to share a little of my experience with open houses.

Good luck with the open house, and happy birthday to your mother!
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Old 11-10-2010, 08:51 AM   #13
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When we got married last year,and as we were having our wedding reception in the evening so everyone could attend,we decided we would take our Mothers out for a meal straight after the wedding. I enclosed a note in the wedding invites saying that Doug and I were taking our respective Mothers for a meal, and anyone who wished to join us would be welcome. No-one thought that we were offering to pay for their meal-so maybe it just depends on the person. I would understand what you mean, and most certainly would not be offended by paying for my own meal. You do say that 'you are treating Shirley & John to a meal'- I think that its perfectly clear and acceptable.
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