I hope you can help me with a quandary. For a decade or more, my housemate and I have held a New Year's Eve Open House. We send out 150 or more invitations to people from all aspects of our lives, and often have eighty to a hundred people stop by to celebrate the turning year.
This year we have decided against the New Year's Open House. We are, however, planning a separate theme party in February, whose invitee list will include most of the folks usually invited to New Year's Eve.
We know of many people who 'count on' attending our New Year's Eve event. Is there an appropriate way to inform people about a party that is not happening? Should we send out the February invites early, say in December, as a signal that the New Year's event is not occurring? If so, should an early invite to the February party mention that we will not be holding the New Year's Eve party?
Please advise how to handle this celebration conundrum.
Dear Open Housing:
What you are thinking of is the un-invitation, which comes up more often than you’d think. Etiquetteer has responded to queries about how to tell guests not to expect an invitation before, and you’ll note that while guests should not assume that there’s a party without an invitation, it’s not a bad thing to “control one’s narrative.”
Your query leaves Etiquetteer concerned, though. If both guest lists completely overlapped, there would be no difficulty in a message like “We wanted to let you know that instead of our New Year’s Eve open house we’re looking forward to welcoming you all to a Separate Theme Party in February. Stay tuned for an invitation in January!” But including information about a party for those who Aren’t Invited is not Perfectly Proper and likely to leave them feeling slighted. In that case, it would be more circumspect to send two messages: an un-invitation to your New Year’s list and a save-the-date to your Separate Theme Party list.
Etiquetteer wishes you and your housemate Joy in your preparations!