In today’s fast-paced society where everyone is trying to get ahead in work and life, have we underestimated the power of the invitation?
In a recent podcast of the Splendid Table, guest Bill Golderer, founder of Broad Street Ministry in Philadelphia, USA shared about the power of the invitation. He recounted the transformative power of extending and receiving invitations in both his personal and professional life. Hosting what is now known as ‘Philadelphia’s most dangerous dinner parties’ for the homeless, he experienced how these unexpected acts of extending an invitation actually transformed peoples’ lives in the most unexpected ways.
As event planners, we are inundated with events to organise for our clients and business partners. In most of these events, we need to be strategic about who we invite. Event success is usually determined by guest turnout. It may be timely for us to be reminded that we should not forget the power of the invitation and the need to do it with intent.
In a business setting, it is essential to consider the business potential of each guest and what they bring to the table. You may also be pleasantly surprised that the least expected guests, touched by this gracious act of hospitality, might bring about the most unexpected connections and outcomes. As you begin your event planning for 2019, consider extending an invitation to these unexpected guests! It may just yield some surprising results.
Here are 4 things to remind yourself when putting together an event invitation:
More ways than one
Today, there are many ways to send an invitation. The choice depends on the type of event you are hosting and also signals the tone of the event. While it may be acceptable to send a Facebook event invitation for a casual gathering or a class reunion, a more formal business dinner may require a handwritten (and perhaps even a hand delivered) invitation. In less formal business settings like a product launch or networking event, sending an email or creating an e-invite is efficient and economical as it allows you to keep track of who is planning to attend. You are also able to infuse your own style and creativity into the design of the invitation.
It’s in the details
Beyond general information of the venue, address, time and location, you should also include in your invitation hints of the level of the meal expected (if it’s a cocktail party with hors d’oeuvres, a casual standing buffet dinner or a more formal seated dinner). This allows the guest to have the right expectation for the event. Always include an RSVP respond by date and request dietary preferences. Leaving your contact information is essential so your guests can contact you if they have clarifications. It is also useful to indicate the dress code for the event, allowing your guests to prepare accordingly. Including these elements will save you the hassle of responding to emails and phone calls.
Time it well
Invitations should be sent at least two weeks in advance to give sufficient time for your guests to respond and clear their schedules accordingly. An email or phone call reminder is always welcomed if your guests have not responded. It is common for invitation emails to end up in spam folders or your guests may have simply missed your request for an RSVP. Last minute invitations are highly discouraged and should not be practiced. They come across as insincere and speak of poor planning.
Every invitation should be personalised no matter the size of your event. It may seem like a hassle and unnecessary step but each guest should be treated with respect and addressed individually. It sends a sincere message that you put thought into extending an invitation and you want your guest’s presence at your event. A “dear all” is not acceptable, ever.
Host Great Events and book unique dining and cocktail experiences with TAB. Use complimentary event tools to send personalised e-invitations, track guests’ RSVPs and dietary preferences.