If there is one thing most ladies know how to do, it's throw a good party. We love to celebrate upcoming nuptials, shower the brides, pamper the mothers-to-be, and more. Every detail of our soirees are planned and executed with precise purpose. There are themes, color schemes, menus, and registries. But in our humble opinion, the most important piece is the invitation itself. What better way to prepare your guests than to offer an event preview via invitation. Just make sure you know what type of event you are hosting...
Terms like shower, tea and sip-and-see* - while at once full of party transparency - are now used almost interchangeably. [*In a recent poll of Allie Logan Designs' most communicative customers, sip-and-see was least familiar to most.]
In hopes of clarifying all the criss-crossed event factors, the design team here at Allie Logan Designs has put together a quick explanation of each event and its corresponding particulars. Ready? Let's take a look...
WHICH IS WHICH?
Showers and teas are held leading up to the big event (i.e. a bridal shower / baby shower...bridal tea / baby tea - all are held before the wedding or before baby is born. A sip-and-see happens after the event. Best comparable to an open house, light refreshments are served to guests; they can sip on punch or water while they see the newlyweds at home or see the baby and nursery.
WHEN IS YOUR EVENT TO BE HELD?
A sip-and-see can be held any day of the week convenient to both the hostess and the guest of honor. Showers are interchangeably on Saturday and Sunday afternoons; some showers with more adult themes (i.e. couples' shower, lingerie shower) are held on Saturday evenings. Traditionally, a tea is held on a Sunday afternoon during - when else? - teatime: mid-afternoon.
HOW FORMAL IS YOUR EVENT?
Sip-and-see parties are the least formal. Because guests are being invited to take a peek into the guest of honor's new life, and also because the guest of honor will likely have just experienced life-changing events (a combined household with her husband, possibly a move, perhaps a tiring honeymoon vacation, or even more exhausting...childbirth!) the food is kept simple and the decor is kept to a bare minimum. Party hostesses would be wise to avoid creating any further disturbances to the guest of honor's new lifestyle.
Showers are usually informal; however, that is not to be confused with simple. These days shower themes have become carefully planned, elaborately executed affairs. We, the invitation designers, have taken great pleasure in helping set the stage by creating glimpses into creative party themes. One of our all-time-favorites is the classic rubber ducky baby shower theme. Here is a great invitation waiting for your personalized details:
But if rubber duckies aren't your thing, you are always welcome to contact us with your party details so we can create a custom design tailored to your party theme. Need some inspiration? Start by browsing all of our pre-designed options for bridal showers here or baby showers here. *As a gentle reminder, if you see something you like, all wording can be customized to fit your needs.
WHAT *HAPPENS* AT EACH EVENT? DO I BRING A GIFT? WHO ATTENDS?
We have previously discussed that very little happens at a sip-and-see other than simple camaraderie and well-wishes. Showers' fun themes are the perfect outlet for games, raffles, dancing, and more! Teas which are decidedly more formal typically keep the activities to a minimum. There is a much more expansive menu of sandwiches, scones, and biscuits (remember, we mean cookies) coupled with plenty of room for both mingling and sitting.
While all hostesses and guests of honor should make their own informed decisions on whether or not to offer/accept gifts, here are some guidelines: it is always a good gesture to arrive at someone's home with a small token or gift. If you are going to a sip-and-see for newlyweds, think of what you would want when first starting out. Some ideas we have are restaurant gift certificates for "date night", cute kitchen hand towels, a house plant, or even a wreath for a front door. New parents can always use diapers, wipes, or a freezer-ready meal.
Showers are traditionally gift-giving events. You are "showering" the guest of honor with items she needs to start her new life! Likewise, it is perfectly acceptable to list a bride's or mom-to-be's gift registry on the invitation.
Alternatively, the giving of gifts at teas causes quite a divided opinion. Many staunch followers of etiquette are of the opinion that a tea is simply a time to gather and celebrate. However, we live in a stuff-obsessed society with just a touch of entitlement. So gift away! As a rule of thumb, you can indicate whether a tea is a gift-giving event or not by either listing or omitting gift registry information on the invitation itself. Here are two very similar invitations. Notice one with registry information and one without.
One last note on gifts at teas. It is not uncommon for the gifts to be opened out of site and then displayed for the guests to view. Usually teas have groups of hostesses. Two or three hostesses work in shifts in a spare bedroom, a den, or other off-site area carefully opening the gifts, recording them for the thank you notes, and taking them to a more centrally-located display area so the other guests can "Ooh" and "Ahh" over all the lovely new materialized well-wishes. For a somewhat clear explanation, read this cheeky article by Southern Living here.
DO I INCLUDE AN RSVP LINE? AND WHAT ABOUT THE PARTY TIME?
Only the keenest observers will have by now noticed the most important detail of the invitations above: the RSVP line or lack thereof. It's true: the art of RSVPing is a quickly dying occurrence. That's not to say that hostesses should stop including response information on the invitations...unless you shouldn't. Let us explain...
Showers may include favors, game pieces, smaller seating areas, et cetera. For that reason, a hostess will want an accurate head count ahead of the event. Teas and sip-and-see parties are come-and-go events. Therefore, it is less important to know your headcount. At any given time you may only have a small handful of guests present, a rotating who's who of invitees. Speaking of the rotation, showers typically have a specific start time. Teas list a starting and ending time, indicating a window of appropriate arrivals.
Well there you have it! Still confused? Allie Logan Designs has a team of informed party planners ready to advise you on how to throw the perfect event your guest of honor will cherish and your guests will be talking about for a long time! Contact us today to get started.