To Email or Not to Email?

Dear Sensible Midwesterner,

My husband and I are hosting a cocktail party for about 16. We are planning to do appetizers and cocktails, no dinner. Some people offered to bring something. My husband wants to send an email out to all saying: “Some of you offered to bring an app.  If you’re interested in bringing something, here’s what we have so far so we don’t duplicate.” I feel that would put people on the spot to bring something. Maybe they just wanted to bring a bottle of wine and not make anything.

Would love some advice on this. Thanks.

To Email or Not to Email?

Dear To Email or Not to Email,

First, I beg you to make it as crystal clear as possible when inviting people that this is a cocktail party, with defined hours that do not include dinner. I’ve never understood vaguely worded invitations, and the only thing worse than eating before what one thinks is a late drinks party only to find a full buffet laid out, is to arrive at what one thinks is a dinner party to find only nuts and nibbles for sustenance.

That was not your question, just my call out to anyone hosting a holiday gathering: let people know what kind of gathering it is! It’s easy! Cocktails and snacks from 5-7 pm. Dinner at 8. Dinner and board games at 6. Whatever it is, state it and give a time.

Should your husband send a mass email? Nope. Not unless he just wants to amend the invitation to make it a potluck. Do you want people bringing anything at all? A cocktail party menu can be a delicate balance, and perhaps you’d rather oversee the whole thing yourself, in which case simply tell people, “That’s so generous of you, but we have the whole menu planned, just bring your lovely selves to enjoy it!”

If you wouldn’t mind some random canapés at your soirée, respond with, “That’s so kind of you! We’d love to have you bring something. Just so you know, we’re serving [a couple key dishes or the overall theme of the menu goes here]. See you [day of the party]!” If they want more info or direction, they’ll ask for it.

Write these individually, not in some giant cc’ed mess. Copy-and-paste is a friend to us all, as long as we remember to change the names throughout.

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