It’s nearly summertime, and BBQ season is upon us. There’s no better way to take in a meal than to toss some meat on the grill, sip some cool lemonade, and sit outside with your favorite people – eating and talking into the evening.
While some cookouts are impromptu, and therefore casual by nature, others involve a bit of pre-planning. But in the carefree spirit of summer, the etiquette for cookout invitations is often lost.
What’s the best way to invite your friends and family to your next cookout?
Consider the timing of your event. Are you sending the invitation one day in advance of the pool party, or two weeks in advance? If you require an immediate response, texting or telephoning a small group of intended guests may be the best course of action. However, if you have some time before you need a confirmed guest list you can email, create a Facebook event, or send an Evite.
Don’t be too creative. The tendency with online invitations is to get creative. If you’re having a pirate-themed cookout, maybe you say, “Gather pirates fer a cookout whar scurvy pirate gear be required. Brin’ grub to pass ‘n a spiced rum. Come at 4:00 p.m. ‘n brin’ ye buckos.” However, be sure that you are not so creative that the invitees have no idea what you are suggesting.
Take the time to spell it out. Invitations are not meant to be casual. When describing your event, use full words (not contractions), and make sure that you are spelling these words correctly. Your friends will take you — and your gathering — more seriously if your event is well-worded.
Only invite people who are relevant. Maybe you want to keep your best friend from high school in the loop on your summer soiree schedule, but avoid the urge to invite her to events that are not relevant to her. Inviting someone from the east coast to a west coast event, for example, makes you look careless.
Convey your regrets. Summer is a very busy time when we try to make the most out of our longer days. That said, if someone replies “no” to your perfectly worded invitation, do not take offense. Because digital responses are not able to convey emotions as accurately as an in-person conversation, a “no” may seem abrupt in the context of a digital invitation — but it is not likely meant to be. If you are the recipient of an invitation to an event that you cannot attend, try to touch base with your host personally to let her know why.
Ten years ago, invitations were primarily sent through the mail. Today, because of our increasing reliance on texting, social media, and tools such as Evite, invitation etiquette is a bit more complicated. This summer, go back to basics – eat meat, drink lemonade, talk with your favorites well into the evening – and enjoy your time together.
The invitations will keep.