DEAR MISS MANNERS: My husband and I recently discovered a beautiful farmstead not far from where we live that is used as a venue for weddings and similar events. We would love to host a party for friends there, but don't have a particular event we are celebrating.
I would enjoy the planning and bringing people together. But what do you call a party that is not a birthday, anniversary, shower, wedding, retirement, holiday or fundraiser?
I've never received an invitation to a gala just for fun, and I'm interested in your suggestions for what to call such an event and how to proceed with invitations. I have no expectations for our guests except that they RSVP and come with good intentions.
GENTLE READER: Just for fun? You mean that it will not be a party in your own honor, and that you are not even expecting, much less demanding, presents?
That you have never heard of such a thing makes Miss Manners weep. Has society so thoroughly embraced the selfie event, complete with gift registry, that true social life has disappeared?
If so, thank you for reinventing it. Your guests will be puzzled at first, but may discover how pleasant it is to attend an event where the focus is on their enjoying themselves, rather than celebrating their hosts.
In the dim past, when socializing was done just for fun, the name of the event was an indication of the degree of formality. "Gala" is a term associated with fundraisers, so Miss Manners suggests your simply calling it a party.
You will still be besieged by guests asking, "What should I bring?" and "Where are you registered?" by others who have never heard of selfless hospitality. Miss Manners hopes that you will take the opportunity to explain it to them. It would be a nice custom to revive.