DEAR MISS MANNERS: My husband is retiring after 40 years with the same company. The same month, he is turning 70 and we will be celebrating our 45th anniversary. We would like to host a party for friends and family to celebrate with us with a catered dinner, music and dancing. The people we would like to invite include friends from church, our dance friends and company people he has worked with for many years.
Our dilemma is that we do not know how to word an invitation, so that people will understand that we simply want them to come and party with us. We are not even sure that anyone would come without knowing the reason for the party, and yet we don’t think it’s necessary to state the cause for the celebration.
Are we going about this all wrong? Can we host a (wedding) reception-like party and convey, in the correct way, that we would love celebrating with friends and family just because we are happy to do so?
GENTLE READER: You do not give your friends much credit, do you? You doubt that they would want to socialize with you without having a specific reason to do so?
On the contrary, Miss Manners is certain that they will likely be grateful and relieved that they do not have to feel an obligation to buy presents -- for no fewer than three separate occasions.
Issue an invitation to the party and show its degree of festivity and formality by sending hand-written invitations and using formal language. “Mr. and Mrs. Herbert Many Milestones request the pleasure of your company at Venue on Saturday the 8th of Month at Time.” Please no registry, charity or gift information of any kind. No, not even “no gifts.”