DEAR MISS MANNERS: Some old friends of mine are fond of giving large parties with an eclectic mix of guests reflecting various occupations: arts, education, business, etc. They have asked me to invite some of my interesting acquaintances to their next one.
I’m glad to do so, since I DO know a number of interesting people whom I think would enjoy meeting others. (Let me add that these occasions do not involve fundraising or sales, but are simply for socializing.) The hosts have told me I may invite as many as I wish; I plan to ask maybe four or five.
But I’m unsure how to extend the invitations to them without it sounding as if I were delivering them up to strangers as “fresh meat.” Since some are couples, I can’t bring them as my date, and since they don’t all know each other, I can’t herd them in a group like a scout troop.
It seems incorrect for me to extend invitations to somebody else’s private party. Should I give my acquaintances’ names to the hosts, who can then add a note to their invitations along the lines of, “Mary suggested we invite you”? Or is there already some protocol for this kind of transaction?
GENTLE READER: While it is generous of your friends to extend an open invitation, it is in everyone’s best interest that they know who is being asked into their home.
What you propose, giving the pertinent names to the host and having them extend the invitation, is charming. Miss Manners is also immensely relieved to hear that these events are purely for socializing and do not have a price tag attached. Invitations to those, under the guise of meeting new people, are not so charming.