High WASP Entertaining, The Invitation
There are three preferred types of friends and family invitations.** Old school invitations are handwritten as follows. Seldom seen today. Note the gold bumblebee. Apparently the bee is or was a symbol of Freemasonry. Who knew.
Most common, especially amongst the AARP crowd, is the hybrid. The design still completely traditional and devoid of sentiment. With navy.
But signs have emerged, amongst the technically literate, of an affection for ironic missives printed on a computer. For my 40th birthday, as an example, I sent invitations somewhat like this:
The party involved lawn flamingos. And an open bar. High WASPs like kitschy artifacts. And alcohol. Since I was breaking away from the classic invitation, I had to go tongue-in-cheek. I had to go all the way to gold scrolls and flamingo clip art. Otherwise people might have known I cared whether they came or not.
You are highly unlikely to see an invitation like this to a High WASP party.
Dusty pink with flowers and all lower case lettering makes us nervous. It feels sentimental. Even declasse. I apologize for our attitude. Please forgive us. We just don't feel comfortable with sentiment. At least not on paper, sent in the mail, where anyone might see.
But if you are throwing a great party, one that begins with a rush of well-wishers bearing beautifully wrapped presents, continues with unending platters of food involving cheese, rises to a cacaphony of intoxicated laughter, and ends sweetly on a patio in the dark night over melted ice, weak brandy, and the tail end of a cake, send me whatever invitation you want. We can ignore all sorts of faux pas for the sake of a great party. From F. Scott to Mr. Cheever, the tradition is deeply ingrained.
*All stationery from www.crane.com.
**As opposed to charity event invitations. (I forfeited my opportunity to attend many charity events by a) failing to attend dancing school b) having to hold a job. Although I did go to the 1977 or 1978 Hungarian Debutante Ball where my photo was taken by Larry Fink who then exhibited the result at the Museum of Modern Art in a show about rich dissolute young people. I wasn't terribly dissolute but never mind. That's another story).