Ideas for Hosting an Olympic Viewing Party! posted in: Entertainment, Events, Food and Beverage, How Tos

The heat is on, the torch has been passed and the streets of London are filling up – the 2012 Summer Olympics are officially here!  If you won’t be making the jaunt across the pond to London to view the games up close and personal, the next best thing is to host a party.  Inspired by the games, we’ve put together a viewing party worthy of a gold medal. 


To get started, you’ll want to send out invitations to your party.  Create invitations that have a traditional, non-location vibe such as the Olympic Rings, or opt for site specific stationery featuring one of London’s many touristy attractions!

There are some really festive, fun and practically done printables available online – enter your event specific deets, print and send. These printable invites feature popular host sites such as the London Towers, Buckingham Palace, and Big Ben. Click here to see our faves designed by Paper Perfection.

Need ideas for a cover greeting?  How about “Let the Games Begin”, “Join the Dream Team” or “You’re Invited to the Official Party of the 2012 Summer Olympics!”.  Get creative and have fun with it!

OK, let’s talk experience….



If you prefer hosting away from your home, sports bars and lounges offer a great atmosphere – particularly because they typically have several teles (what they call TVs across the pond) that will be broadcasting the Olympics. If you opt to host at home, consider the great outdoors!  If you have a swimming pool, that’s even better!  Consider hosting a pool party while watching the swim competitions. Either way, be sure to setup a tele or two outside. This way guests can enjoy the games…even while lounging on a float.

You’ll want to be sure to show your pride for Team U.S.A. (or your respective country) in official colours. Deck out your venue in red, white, and blue, of course! Hang a U.S. flag as a focal point in the space, affix colored hula hoops together to create the Olympic Rings, and setup a tiki torch to represent the Olympic Torch. You may also opt to represent all competing nations by displaying multiple country flags.  Another idea would be to purchase an international flag banner that you could use to accent the bar or food display.

Decoration Tip: Making your own Olympic Rings is easy.  Buy a red, yellow, green, blue, and black hoola hoop, lay the rings on the ground and arrange in the layout of the logo, tape them together using clear tape, display, and let the games begin!

Sports equipment fitting to the summer games is also great for décor.  However, the Olympics aren’t only about sports competitions. The games are also about celebrating different cultures, so keep this in mind when considering décor. Use the idea of celebrating other cultures by incorporate miniature flags from the different countries represented in the games. Another idea would be to create different centerpieces inspired by a various countries. For example, use Matryoshka Dolla (traditional nesting dolls) to represent Russia, a small branch tree with miniature Chinese paper lanterns for China or a USA flag soccer ball on a stand for team USA.

Since the Olympics are being held in London this year and most of us can’t make it across the pond to watch the games in person, consider bringing Londontown stateside! Deck your space out with large decals of the Tower of London, Big Ben, double-decker buses, and red telephone booths on your walls. Don’t forget to put out small pails of mini flags of various countries so guests can cheer for their favorite team!


Food and Drink

When many people think of eating in London, pub grub is the first thing that comes to mind – which translates perfectly for this type of event. Among the most popular item, Fish & Chips. Here’s a sample menu to consider for your Olympic Viewing Party:

Fish ‘n Chips

Hot Hounds (sausages/dogs – we like to serve up minis for easy eats)

Crispy Potato Skins
Hummus of Olympic Proportions with assorted crisps and crudités

Olympic Rings or lollipops

Gold Medal Cookies

Pair the menu with themed cocktails.  A few libations that we recommend: Go For The Gold and The Olympic. For drinks that give a nod to the English, try the London Cocktail, The BrambleBerry, or a tea cocktail. We also recommend offering apple cider, ale, stout…and even a grog if it suits your fancy. And of course stock bottled water and soft drinks (or sports drinks for a sports-appropriate twist). Another fun idea: Offer Flaming shots at a specific point in the evening (we recommend this only for events staffed with a professional bartender).  For a list of flaming shots recipes, click here.

What to wear:

There are several great options for party attire. You can encourage guests to dress to suit the particular event you will be watching, costumed as though they are competing, such as a swimsuit for swimming, or running shorts and sneakers for the running races (you get the idea).  You can ask guests to come as their favorite athlete, to wear team colors, etc. For an extra special Team USA touch, you yourself (the host) can even dress in the official Team USA opening ceremony uniform by Ralph Lauren available at Bloomingdales!


Once you’ve put together your look and taste of the Olympics, now you need the sound for the finishing touch. You can put together your own soundtrack, or better yet, use the official playlist for the Olympics’ opening ceremony leaked (although officials won’t confirm its accuracy), and your ready to go.

To view the unofficial official playlist, click  here!

You’re now ready to compete in the best summer party Olympics!  And stay tuned! We’ll be sharing some of our fave recipes that we will be serving at our own viewing party.

Go Team!

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National Strawberry Rhubarb Pie Day! posted in: Entertainment, Food and Beverage, Recipes

There’s just something about fresh, homemade pie that’s comforting, and well….homey. Being that today is National Strawberry Rhubarb Pie Day (and I’m enjoying a weekend , it’s the perfect day to try out a new living well recipe that I have added to my collection.

This sweet and tangy treat was first made popular during the early 1800’s. Did you know that rhubarb is actually a vegetable? well, it is. This fact makes strawberry rhubarb pie one of the rare (tasty) pies that combines fruits and vegetables into one delicious delight. In my book,any dessert that compliments  strawbabies (one of my fave fruits) and gets us to eat our veggies, deserves its own day! And with strawberry season starting, what better way to celebrate this summertime favorite than to bake one yourself. Yum!

I enjoy making individual “indi” desserts, so this  mini pie “tart” if perfect, and will create a lovely dessert presentation.  If you feel like having a Betty Crocker moment today, here’s the recipe to try:

Strawberry Rhubarb Tarts



  • 1/2 c butter (or butter substitute), softened
  • 1/2 c confectioners sugar
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 1/2 c whole-wheat flour
  • 1/2 c all-purpose flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 c nonfat milk
  • 5 rhubarb stalk, cleaned
  • 1/2 c water
  • 1/2 c agave (love this stuff!)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 10 strawberries, hulled and sliced


Tart Shells:

1. Mix (or blend in blender) butter, sugar, almond extract, and flour until the mixture looks like course crumb

2. Add milk. Blend until the mixture becomes dough

3. Flour the dough and roll out on a lightly floured counter or board to a 1/4″ thickness.

4. Using a 4″ round cookie cutter, cut 12 circles

5. Place a cutouts in cupcake pan to form tart shells


1. Preheat oven to 350F

2. In medium sauce pot, cook rhubarb, cinnamon and agave with water and lemon juice for approx. 5 minutes over medium heat. Allow the mixture to cool.

3. Pour filling contents into blender pitcher. Secure lid and pulse the mixture 2-3 times.

4. In medium bowl, mix the strawberries with the rhubarb mixture.

5. Divide filling evenly into each tart shell, filling each shell 2/3 full

6. Bake for 10-15min or until golden

Using this health conscious recipe, each tart has only 140 cal, 2.5g of fat and 17g sugar.

These tarts make a great summertime dessert. And if you’re life me, I like to prepare mini indi versions of great dessert when entertaining.

Wish you a Sweet Saturday!

recipe and photo courtesy of living well

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Tie One On – Festive Napkin Folds posted in: Entertainment, Events, How Tos

Need a last minute way to add some festivity to your Memorial Day Celebration tables? Look no further. Try one of these cute napkin folds to jazz up your luncheon or picnic.

Pinwheel Napkin Ring

What you’ll need to create this look:

  • Linen Napkin (pressed)
  • Satin Ribbon
  • Pinwheel

How to:

  1. 1. Lay napkin flat, seams facing up.
  2. 2. Fold the top and bottom edge in (bottom up approx. 2 inches, top down approx 1 inch)
  3. 3. Insert flatware inside the bottom fold (begin approx 2 inches in from the right edge)
  4. 4. Fold the right edge over the  inserted flatware and roll to the left edge
  5. 5. Place the seam facing down and wrap the roll with ribbon and tie
  6. 6. Secure pinwheel to the front (using ribbon to tie or with a hot glue gun)
  7. 7. Voila!

If you have opted to use disposable wares for your picnic, the tie below is a fast, easy and inexpensive (all supplies total less than $5) option……it also makes for a fun craft with the wee tots.

Baby You're a Firework!

What you’ll need:

  • Disposable dinner napkins
  • 1-2 packages of gift shred (one package will make several napkin accents. However, you may opt for two to create as I did for more color)
  • twist ties

How to:

  1. 1. Gather several strands of shred (number will depend on how full you want your “firework” to be – for the look in the photos use 15-20 piece bundles)
  2. 2. Hold shred end to end and fold in half
  3. 3. Secure with a twist tie in the center of the length of the folded bundle
  4. 4. Use scissors to cut the lopped end of the bundle to create the frayed look
  5. 5. Repeat steps 1-4 to create a second bundle
  6. 6. Roll flatware inside of the napkin
  7. 7. Next, take two firework bundles – secure the first perpendicular to the napkin roll and secure to the front with a twist tie. Place the second firework bundle atop the first running       the length of the napkin roll and affix with a twist tie
  8. 8. All done!

These easy accents will leave you plenty of time to relax and enjoy a cocktail….or three before your guests arrive. Wishing everyone a wonderful and safe holiday weekend!

Happy picnicing!

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Ice, Ice Baby! posted in: Entertaining Essentials, Entertainment, Events, Food and Beverage, Great Products

Ice, Ice Baby! Too Cool.

Alright STOP, collarborate and listen, Tanja’s back…sharing a brand new invention!

Stir up some fun with Ice Kabobs. Basically it’s…. you guessed it – ice on a stick. These kabobs  keep your drink cold and lookin’ coolwithout having ice get in the way when take a drink, AND the extended ice cubes double as swizzle sticks! And as an event planner, I love multi-purpose products…. especially ones that take a common item and give it a fresh, fun presentation

The package says “everything’s more fun on a stick”, and we do agree that ice on a stick for your drinks  is pretty fun. You can make your standard issue ice, or have fun and infuse it with flavor. The mold can also be used to create fun ice pops the kids that are sure to get rave reviews from the kiddos.

Each food-grade silicone rubber tray makes three skewers. Each tray makes 3 kabobs. Typically cost about  $7, but you can currently get them for a steal – $3 at ShockingFun.

Wanna roll down memory A1A with Vanilla, here you go: Ice, Ice Baby!


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The Official Color of 2012 posted in: Entertainment, Events, Fashion, Health & Beauty, Home, Trends, Weddings

The 2012 color of the year is Tangerine Tango (PANTONE 17 -1463), a spirited reddish orange. It’s a bit exotic, but in a very friendly, non-threatening way.


Offical Pantone Color of 2012

Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute®, describes the color as “Sophisticated but at the same time dramatic and seductive, Tangerine Tango is an orange with a lot of depth to it,” “Reminiscent of the radiant shadings of a sunset, Tangerine Tango marries the vivaciousness and adrenaline rush of red with the friendliness and warmth of yellow, to form a high-visibility, magnetic hue that emanates heat and energy.” I couldn’t agree more. My take, Tangerine Tango is an enchanting lady – she is beautiful, but also smart, a lot of fun, energizing, makes the people in her presence feel good all the while seemingly without thought, the ever sophisticated siren.

This haute hue is actually quite versatile. You can use it to create a vibrant and fun look, or dress it up glam for a sophisticated evening. Mix this tantalizing Tangerine with a sunny yellow such as Pantone Solar Power, a romantic purple like Bellflower or hot pink such as Cabaret for a bold and beautiful look. Pair Tango with a soft, warm neutral such as a natural neutral like Starfish or anchor it with Navy to show off its more sophisticated side. This Tangerine is just as comfortable at a formal evening affair as a casual afternoon luncheon – and in either setting its beauty commends attention

Expect to see provocative attention-getting Tangerine Tango as a hot hue in color stories for events and weddings in the coming year. It is high visibility, so use it to catch attention and highlight the most important elements of your design. You will also see the shade in women’s and men’s fashions, cosmetics, and home décor.

Just as comfortable at a formal evening affair as a casual afternoon luncheon, you can call on this color for most any occasion. For a vibrant and bold look, let this Tangerine tango with a sunny yellow such Solar Power, a romantic purple like Bellflower or hot pink such as Cabaret .Pair Tango with a soft, warm, natural neutral such Starfish to show off its more sophisticated side. In any setting this color commends attention.

Friends what do you think – Is this a color you will embrace in the New Year?

Have a colorful day!

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Holiday Entertaining: A Tasting Party posted in: Entertaining Essentials, Entertainment, Events

Hosting a wine (or champagne, ’tis is the season) tasting is a fun way to throw a party, and is a great option for entertaining during the holidays. Spirited conversation, flirtatious sharing of foods and lots of laughter all happen when the libations are flowing in a relaxed atmosphere. Whether you and your friends consider yourselves to be novices or oenophiles, a tasting is an ideal way to get friends and family together to learn about wine, experiment with new or unusual varietals, and may even help friends decide on the wines that they would like to serve at their own upcoming holiday parties and feasts.

Sit, sip and let those secrets slip!

Here are our top tips to help you plan your own tasting event:

  1. 1.Who, what, when and where. Party planning 101, first settle on your date and time, guest list, and location.
  2. 2. Select the type of tasting. To begin your tasting party planning, first need to decide on the type of tasting you would like to host. There are several versions of wine tastings, from horizontal and vertical (both varietal tastings), wine and cheese (or chocolate!) pairings to, price point, to name a few.
  3. 3. Determine format.Wine tastings take on many forms, from informal social gatherings to formal, multi-course dinners. For a holiday event, we recommend keeping it low-key and social. Plan a simple tasting on a basic level for more of a low-key, social event. If your friends are wine enthusiasts, host a blind comparison for an entertaining and interesting challenge.

  4. 4. Choose wines.
    When selecting wines, keep in mind that tastes and preference are relative. Within reason, what is considered a “good wine” is one that you enjoy. Some people, however, may turn up their noses when tasting your favorite wine. And vice versa, you might profoundly dislike what the experts consider a ‘top-rated’ vino. Remember, a wine tasting party offers guests an opportunity to discover their own tastes preferences. Don’t be surprised if you find that one person’s prized Malbec may be another’s marinade.
  5. 5. Prepare a light menu. Cheese is commonly referred to as the perfect mate for wine. That being said, all cheeses (not unlike wine) are not created equal. Cheeses differ not only from selection to selection, but also from cheese-maker to cheese-maker, so although there are general pairing rules that one can follow, an aged cheddar from one producer may pair very differently to a younger cheddar from another producer.As a general rule, white, fresh cheeses partner well with a crisp wine, while rich, soft cheeses can be paired with a bolder white wine, like a Sauvignon Blanc and some mild reds. Although some believe that the harder and darker the cheese, the heavier and richer the wine, this is not always necessarily true. If you’re unsure of which selections to choose, ask a rep at your local wine store for assistance on what pairings have been successful with the wines you select. Fresh fruits, gourmet nuts and even chocolates also make for great fare.

  6. 6. Design a tasting card
    .You’ll want to provide a tasting card for everyone to rate their personal experience with each wine selection. The card specifies the type of wine, producing vineyard, vintage and a brief description of the wine (unless you’re hosting a blind tasting). While there are many variations of cards, generally, there should be space to note each wine’s appearance (color/clarity), aroma (nose), taste and body, and a scale to give the wine an overall rating. You may also include a space for guests to record food pairing observations (such as flavors or characteristics brought out when tasted with a particular food).You can customize your own, or email us at, and we’ll be provide you with a free copy of our form  – there’s one item you can “check” off your party planning to do list!

  7. 7. Atmosphere
    . Keep it simple. Fill glasses vases and bowls with corks, and top with a small arrangement of fresh seasonal flowers (but nothing too aromatic*) to place on a side board. At the tasting table, prepare a place card for each guest. One idea would be to use a simple blank place card, and use a cork to create the card holder, or for a more festive flair, try these holly leaves and attach them to mistletoe at everyone setting. Using plates and utensils that coordinate with overall look is another great and understated way to give a nod to your theme. . Light background music will top off the ambiance.*Pro Tip: Avoid decorating with heavily scented candles or flowers so as not to interfere with the wine tasting experience, which relies heavily on a person’s senses.

Go ahead, tell us what you're thinking

8. The goods. To host a perfect tasting, here’s what you’ll need:
Four to Six Wines
Wine glasses
water glasses – always nice to have available
Pitcher of water – for rinsing glasses and palates between wines
Dump bucket – for discarding wine before next pouring
Small plates
Napkins – clever-tongued designs are always an entertaining hit!
Wine bags – if you opt for a blind tasting
Coffee beans – To ‘cleanse your palate’* (olfactory).
 Ramekins or small bowls for fresh coffee beans
Tasting cards
Place cards

  1. *Pro Tip: The reason you want to smell coffee beans in between tastings is because they help to “reset” your sense of smell. When taking in several aromatics it can become difficult to discern one scent from anotherSo, there you have it, you’re ready to get started. Not sure about the type of tasting you should choose, or feel a little nervous to lead a tasting – no worries, we’ve got you covered. There’s more to come this week – a guide to tasting and a closer look into the various type of tastings you can host.


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Wedding Inspiration – City-Chic Smurf posted in: Entertainment, Events, Weddings

So it seems I got a little smurfed away with design this morning. Here’s my take on Smurfette’s wedding or super stylin’ party in the Big Apple.

For a city-chic, yet smurfin’ cool wedding or event, I see decor in white with smurftastic blue and red accents of course, individual smurfberry tarts topped with white cream caps of whipped cream, and a nod to the love of mushrooms.


Cast your vote Society…smurfin’ cool or no  smurfin’ way ?

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Wedding Inspiration – Smurfing Cool Color Combo posted in: Entertainment, Events, Weddings

Though it may be hard to believe for those of us who grew up with these three apple high creatures in the ’80s, Smurfs have never been so popular as they are now. So on this Smurftastic Saturday, I was inspired by these little blue-skinned characters in white trousers and a cap when designing inspiration boards this am for weddings (or for most any event really because this is a smurfin’ cool color combo). So go ahead – express your inner smurf….

I personally love this bright blue paried with red. So Society, it’s to you….what do you think? Adore or ignore the color combo?


  • The Smurfs were originally created and first introduced as a series of comic strips by the Belgian cartoonist “Peyo” Pierre Culliford on October 23, 1958.
  • The Smurfs made their first appearance in a story of Johan & Peewit in “Le Journal de Spirou”.
  • The original term and the accompanying language came during a meal Peyo was having with his colleague and friend André Franquin. Having momentarily forgotten the word “salt”, Peyo asked him (in French) to pass the schtroumpf. Franquin jokingly replied: “Here’s the Schtroumpf — when you are done schtroumpfing, schtroumpf it back…” and the two spent the rest of that weekend speaking in “schtroumpf language” The name was later translated into Dutch as Smurf, which was adopted in English.
  • French: Les Schtroumpfs, Dutch: De Smurfen
  • Smurf books, figurines and toys are amongst the most popular in the world.Smurfs have never been so popular. Over 10 million copies of Smurf CDs have been sold in the last 3 years alone.
  • The TV series is regularly re-issued as video collections in dozens of languages, as well as CD-i and in storybook form.
  • Smurfs never get older. So Baby Smurf will always be a baby.
  • This hit TV series, which ran as part of NBC’s Saturday-morning lineup from 1981-90.
  • No fewer than 256 episodes were produced, which are currently showing in roughly 30 countries.
  • A box office report dated July 31st recorded that the Smurfs movie grossed $36.2 million when it debuted.
  • The movie cost @$200 million to produce

 Wishing you all Smurfin’ good day!

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The Royal Wedding: Her Majesty The Queen gives formal consent to the marriage of Prince William and Catherine Middleton posted in: Entertainment, Etiquette, Events, Weddings

Her Majesty The Queen has given formal consent to Prince William and Catherine Middleton’s marriage.

Under the Great Seal of the Realm, The Queen signed a notice of approval which proclaimed ( in transcribed calligraphy) consent to the union of “Our Most Dearly Beloved Grandson Prince William Arthur Philip Louis of Wales, K.G. and Our Trusty and Well-beloved Catherine Elizabeth Middleton”.

Under the Royal Marriages Act 1772, all descendants of King George II must obtain the Sovereign’s agreement before they wed. The law dates back to the 18th Century.

The Queen’s signature “Elizabeth R” can be seen at the top right of the Instrument of Consent, which is dated “the ninth day of February Two Thousand and Eleven in the Sixtieth year of Our Reign”.

It was signed “by The Queen herself, signed with her own hand” at a Privy Council meeting after the Monarch made a formal Declaration of Consent.

It reads: “NOW KNOW YE that We have consented and do by these Presents signify Our Consent to the contracting of Matrimony between Our Most Dearly Beloved Grandson Prince William Arthur Philip Louis of Wales K.G. and Our Trusty and Well-beloved Catherine Elizabeth Middleton.”

Detail of the consent:
*Tied to the bottom of the approval by gold braiding is a large red wax Great Seal of the Realm.
*The “Instrument of Consent” features decorative artwork chosen by the artist to represent the groom and bride-to-be.
*A white lily represents St. Catherine of Siena, whose feast day falls on April 29th and with whom Miss Middleton shares her name.
*Beneath it is a Welsh leek surrounded by Prince William’s white three-pronged second in line to the throne label and a tiny red escallop from the Spencer family Arms.
*There is also a red dragon – the heraldic symbol of Wales, the UK’s floral emblems – the rose, thistle and shamrock – and the Garter belt, Prince William’s blue and gold Order of the Garter belt, as well as a large gold E for Elizabeth.

To view an image of the consent, visit:

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Etiquette: Who is Invited, Who isn’t and Thoughts to Consider posted in: Entertainment, Etiquette, Events, Weddings

There is a simple commonsense rule for addressing and reading invitations. As a host, include all names of the persons you’re inviting. As a guest, know that only the persons whose name(s) are included on the invitation are the only ones invited.

Here are a few guidelines to help ensure that as a host you invite the persons intended and as a guest you correctly understand who exactly is invited:

For the Host

A single invitation may be addressed to one person, a couple (married or living together in a committed relationship) or to a family.
~ A single invitation may be sent to an unmarried couple who live together. However, their names are listed on separate lines. This form is used regardless of sexual orientation.
An example of this form would be:
Mr. Michael Hawthorn
Ms. Alexis Turner

An invitation to a couple may be addressed to “Mr. And Mrs. Grant Holloway and Family”, so long as you feel confident that this won’t be misinterpreted as inviting other extended family members. A more precise form of addressing this invite would be:

Mr. and Mrs. Grant Holloway
Michael and Natalie Holloway

If you are inviting single family and friends to bring a date or a guest, this is to be noted in one of the following ways:

~ Casual or informal parties. Such information may be included on the invitation.
Include a line such as “Please bring a guest (or a date)”

~Formal events. In the instance of a wedding for example, the outer envelope should be addressed to the individual family member or friend, and the inner envelope will include the notation that a guest is welcome.
Outer envelope: Dr. Alexander Smith
 Inner Envelope: Alexander Smith and Julia Wilson (if your family member or friend is in  a long-term relationship in which you know their partner or at least in name you may include them on the invite) or Alexander and Guest

For the Guest

As the recipient of the invitation, the most important responsibility you have is to respond promptly with your RSVP. Be sure to include all guests planning to attend and also the specific names of any regrets in your RSVP. Need guidance on the “how-to? See Decoding the Protocol of the RSVP for guidance.

 “May I bring…?” Don’t even ask! An invitation is extended to the people the hosts wish to invite—and no one else.

  • …a date. If the invitation is addressed to Ms. Anna Smith – this means only Anna is invited. Period.
  • …children. If they were invited, the invitation would have said so.
  • … my houseguest(s). It’s best to decline the invitation, stating the reason. This gives your host the option to extend the invitation to your guest(s), or not.

Do not be offended or upset if you are not invited to bring a guest (significant other, friend or your children) to the event. There are any number of reasons the host may not have extended the invitation to more people. In this economy, they may not be able to afford the additional guests, but also care enough for you not to leave you off of the list entirely.
In the instances of an adult –only affair perhaps the host doesn’t have a child-friendly home or they wish to serve alcohol and don’t want to run the risk of offending anyone. As invited guest, simply be thankful for the invitation.

I hope this information is helpful to you when sending out or receiving invitations. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask. Have any comments or great stories of a time when uninvited guests have been brought to your event, or when you are the uninvited guest (though you weren’t aware until you arrived to the party)? Do tell!



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