Keep it Casual : How to inform guests on what to wear

Q. We are having a daytime open house for our parents 50 anniversary. We want to let our guests know that this is not a formal event. How to we indicate that it is casual, without having people show up in bluejeans and shorts?

A. “Dressy Casual” usually means no jeans or shorts. Similar to business casual, but a tad dressier. You may simply write “Dressy Casual” at the bottom of the invitation.

Anniversary Advisory : What to give as a gift when following traditional anniversary gift rules

Q. My husband and I have decided to celebrate our anniversaries with the traditional anniversary gifts. Does the gift have to be entirely made of the item? For instance, our second anniversary is in a few months. Does the gift have to be all cotton?

A. Not necessarily. For example “silver” can mean anything from sterling silver to silver colored. Remember, these are traditional gifts, but that does not mean that you are restricted to that particular list.

Nowadays, 100% cotton items are readily available in bed linens, table linens and clothing.

Edibles Etiquette : How to avoid guests bringing the same food to a party?

Q. I will be having a New Year’s Eve party for about 20 guests, buffet style, and would like guests to help in bringing food for the party. I have a new job and a small child, and it will be difficult to prepare all the food items.

I do not want to write ‘potluck’ on the invitations, or specifically ask guests to bring a certain item. How would you phrase this request on the invitation?

A. You may want to divide your guest list into thirds and on one third of the invitations write please bring your favorite family appetizer, on one third, your favorite family entree and on another third, your favorite family cookies. Or you may just want to go with your original idea and hope that it all works out–it usually does!

Views on Bringing Booze : Can you write on an invite that the party is B.Y.O.B?

Q. My husband and I are having an open house, but with our budget we will be unable to afford a multitude of alcohol. Is it inappropriate to state on the invitation for our guest to b.y.o.b?

A. Technically, events at which guests are asked to bring or pay for food or drinks are organized, not hosted. BYOB and pot luck affairs are normally used for very casual, last-minute entertaining and allow friends to have a fun time while spreading the costs.

In your case, BYOB would not be the gracious choice. If you can’t afford alcohol, then serve those beverages that you can afford such as soft drinks, beer or wine, or mix a holiday punch that can stretch a small amount of alcohol a long way