Thursday, April 3, 2014

Invitation Clarity: Wording is Everything

Dear event chairs, party planners and PR gurus,

Allow me to get on my soapbox for a minute. I am seeing a disturbing trend in invitation verbiage that needs to be halted - immediately. Last week, I received an invitation to a grand opening for a new store. The invitation clearly read "lunch will be served".  Upon arrival, I waved off a couple of server's with passed trays, not wanting to fill up on appetizers before we ate. An hour into the event, I figured out that the passed hor d'oeuvres were the lunch. I went through Whataburger on the way home.  Today, it happened again. I was invited to a "private brunch" at a new store. Again, I waved off server's walking round with passed trays. The store didn't appear large enough to hold a luncheon, so I asked the manager with whom I was chatting, "Where is the brunch being held?" and was informed that the servers were "passing brunch bites for our convenience". So, this wasn't a brunch. It was a shopping party with hor d'oeuvres.

Now, let me just throw my two cents in here. 1) I do not like to eat standing up. Or while I am talking. And neither do most people. It's awkward. I like to chat and mingle (preferably with a drink in hand) and then sit down at a table to eat and hear what you have to say about your charity/program/store/event. Primarily so that the focus is on you and not on me shoving food in my mouth. 2) A shopping event with passed bites does not hold the same gravity or importance as a sit-down luncheon.  Don't mislead me into thinking this is something it isn't. It doesn't bode well for you to get me back in the future.

Please don't get me wrong, there is absolutely nothing wrong with an event that serves appetizers as opposed to a meal.  Just call it what it is so I can plan accordingly.  I wouldn't have taken off from work to go over to today's event had I known that it was really just a shopping opportunity to get people over to see the store. I can see the store anytime. When you say brunch/lunch/dinner is being served, I am assuming that there is some sort of program or presentation that I wouldn't be able to hear or see any 'ole time so it's worth it to attend.  And if I know it's not a sit down meal, I will probably eat before I come.

Start saying cocktails will be served and there's no bar when I arrive... and we're going to have a real problem.