laplumeDear L. A. Plume,


It’s that time of year again and I’m having my annual holiday party. Invitations have been issued and the count of people who will fit into the venue, the amount of food and drink I need, have all been calculated to fit into my budget, when lo and behold, several people have asked if they can bring a friend, a few family members, or some neighbors.

These, of course, are the very people who would never dream of asking if they could bring a few bottles of wine for their friends to drink, or some extra food, or even a package of cocktail napkins. How can I politely say no?



Dear Roberta,

This is such a common occurrence; I hear from people all the time that their big party seems to be a free-for-all, and people come out of the woodwork asking to be invited or bring someone along. I don’t know of a hard and fast answer because it probably all depends on who is doing the asking and who they want to bring; but in general, I think you can easily say that you planned on having X number of people and if someone else can’t attend that you’ll be happy to let them know and bring their guest. Of course, you never actually have to do that because they are not in possession of your guest list.

L.A. Plume

Dear Ms. Plume,

For too many years to count, friends of mine have had a Christmas party, and I have always been invited. This year I did not receive an invitation. How can I find out if this was an oversight? Now I’m wondering if I attended the party last year without having been invited because I just expected to be on the guest list. Shall I just call about another matter and see if the party is mentioned?


Dear XX,

I can’t think of a better idea; to ask point blank will just put them on the spot. Just remember that sometimes it’s necessary to change up the guest list a bit to accommodate new friends or business associates, and if that’s the case, someone has to be taken off the list, even if it is just temporarily. 

L. A. Plume

Dear Ms. Plume,

I was invited to go to a play with a friend and visiting family. I was hoping to be able to go, but was unsure, at the time the invitation was issued, if I had a conflict. When it was resolved that I could go, the invitation was no longer on the table, and any other attempts I made to get together with these people over the weekend were rebuffed. What do you make of that?

E. M.

Dear E. M.

I have no idea. If arrangements had to be made by a certain time, your friend certainly should have made that clear. Perhaps they invited someone else, or maybe the invitation was a courtesy rather than heartfelt and when you were unsure, they no longer felt obliged to include you. In other words, it seems your friend really didn’t want you to go in the first place. 

L. A. Plume

Dear Readers,

One should not have to ask for an invitation; it should be extended freely. If you want to be invited to a party, make sure you invite the other person and/or reciprocate. Remember to r.s.v.p. in a timely manner if it is requested; write a thank you note afterwards. For those of you who don’t entertain, let me gently tell you that it is hard work, expensive, and there is almost always someone you forgot to invite or didn’t have room for, whose feelings will be hurt. If you know someone who you think might be alone and lonely during the holidays, do your best to include them.

Happy Holidays!


L. A. Plume