High-tech invitations are fine, but don’t hesitate to make follow-up phone calls. And some occasions will call for a thank-you note after the event.


Thomas P. Farley, creator of www.whatmannersmost.com, editor of “Modern Manners: The Thinking Person’s Guide to Social Graces” and a columnist atwww.pingg.com, offers do’s and don’ts for party hosts and guests using digital correspondence during the holidays.

For the host

Don’t: Send an invite via standard e-mail. This is the lazy way out. If you want to make an event special, use a website such as Evite, Paperless Post or Pingg to create a stylish-looking invitation with useful features (directions, dress code) for guests.

Do: Include the ability for guests to RSVP online and coordinate what to bring.

Don’t: Presume that all guests are comfortable having their names displayed on an electronic invite. Hide the names of invitees unless it’s a small group of close friends.

Do: Give people time to plan. Just because it’s digital doesn’t mean you should wait until the last minute. Send your invite at least two weeks in advance and set a reasonable RSVP date.

Don’t: Rely on an electronic invite exclusively. If you haven’t heard from a guest, follow up with a phone call. It’s easy for invitations to get buried in in-boxes.

Do: Send a handwritten thank-you note to anyone who brings a hostess gift (as opposed to a gift for the party, such as flowers, wine or food). Get it out within a week.

Don’t: Presume everyone wants to be identified online. If you post an album of photos on Facebook or your party’s invite page, allow guests to tag themselves and be respectful if someone asks for a photo to be deleted.

For guests

Do: Be quick with a response. Even if you aren’t sure whether you’ll be able to attend, a “maybe” is better than nothing.

Don’t: Forward the invite to others unless welcomed to do so by the host. That can wreak havoc on the party-giver’s planning.

Do: Show up if you’ve said you’re coming. Just because you RSVP’d virtually doesn’t mean that your physical presence is not required.

Don’t: Spend so much time Tweeting about the party, or checking your e-mails and texts, that you forget to mingle with and enjoy the people around you.

Do: Make a day-after thank-you call to your host. It’s more personal than an e-mail or a text and takes such little effort.

— Booth Moore

Copyright © 2009, The Los Angeles Times