When planning your tea event, the first thing you need to decide is what type of tea you want to host--tea in the parlor for 1-3 friends, tea at the dining table for 3-7 friends, or a buffet-style tea for a larger group. Then you will need to choose a date and time, figure out how much you want to spend, and write up the guest list. Today, I will address the invitations.
An invitation to Afternoon Tea--who wouldn't love to receive a lovely invitation to afternoon tea in the mail? When planning your next tea--whether it's a tea in your parlor for a few friends or tea served from a formal tea table for a large group of friends--remember that a beautiful invitation will set the tone for your event.
Monogrammed notes, formal letter sheets, correspondence cards, and informals are all appropriate to use as tea invitations. You may also want to create your own invitations by choosing stationery that will complement the theme of your event and match the formality of the occasion. These may be engraved or you can print them on your computer at home. Whatever style of invitation you choose, be sure to include all the necessary information that your guests will need to know:
Name of hostess
Name of honoree
Day and Date
"R.s.v.p." (as it is properly written) on the left side and "Attire" on the right side of the invitation.
~Invitations should be mailed two weeks in advance and longer for a formal event.
~Invitations should be phrased in the third person.
~Punctuation is not used at the end of the lines.
~Do not abbreviate anything except "Mr.", "Mrs.", "Sr.", or "Dr.".
~It is not proper etiquette to mention gifts or donations to a charity on an invitation.
To be perfectly proper, you would reply to a formal invitation by handwriting your reply on a formal letter. You may reply to an informal invitation by using informals, message cards, monogrammed notes, or calling cards. For a very casual event, your reply may be given by telephone. Never e-mail your reply to an invitation.
If you do not R.s.v.p., you are committing a huge etiquette faux pas and will surely be taken off the hostess' party list!
Thank you for visiting with me today and please stop by tomorrow--I will address steps you might take to prepare for your tea event.