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Stage your Holiday Gathering… for Success

Kimberly Law, AICI CIP


Oh the holidays the time of year for celebration and get-togethers. Since all gatherings are not created equal, this can create misunderstandings. Set the stage for a successful gathering by indicating what's expected and what to expect in the invitation.

- Verbal or written? Although the hand written invitation is a nice touch and is still considered the most formal, invitations may also be verbal or emailed. Just be consistent with how the invitation is presented. Don't invite one person verbally when you have already sent out written invitations to everyone else.

- Appropriate notice please Invite guests as early as possible. For less formal gatherings the general rule is two to three weeks. For formal parties, invitations may be sent out up to eight weeks before the event.

- When the clock strikes… Although most invitations include the starting time and the venue, many hosts neglect to inform the guests of the intended ending time. This can leave the guests unsure and the host feeling awkward.

- Who's invited? Spouses, partners and children aren't always on the guest list. It's better to address this in the invitation.

- Dinner? Cocktails? Standing room only? Because the terms 'gathering' and 'party' can take on many meanings, the invitation should include information about the style of the event.

- Bring Something Please… BYOB (Bring your own bottle) and potlucks are an inexpensive way to entertain close friends and family. In the invitation, let your guests know what you would like them to bring and for how many.

- Dress…Formal? Casual? Or something in-between? Take away the guess work and the embarrassment of getting it wrong, by letting your guests know what to wear ahead of time.

- Confirm the details… Although RSVP indicates the guest should reply to the invitation by the indicated date, follow- up with your guests the week before the gathering to confirm the details.

Setting the stage with the invitation can save you and your guests from embarrassing surprises and ensure that your holiday gathering is a great success.

Kimberly Law, AICI CIP is a Certified Professional Image and Etiquette Consultant and principal of Personal Impact International founded in 1999. She is an author and a speaker, and works with companies, men and women helping them refine their look from head to toe and enhance professional communication, to help her clients look and act their very best, always! She is one of only 125 image consultants world-wide and was the first in Western Canada to receive international recognition as a 'Certified Image Professional' through the Association of Image Consultants International ( She was elected to serve as AICI's President Elect for the 2010 - 2011 term. And has been has been featured as a personal image expert across Canada through the media. For further information or to arrange an interview please contact Kimberly Law at tel: 604-298-7228, mobile: 604-626-3907, email: visit or see Kimberly's Media Kit.