Invitations? Eliminate the possible problems way ahead of time. Have you asked your parents and your in-laws to give you a list? When you do, give them a number. When you ask for a list of 30 from each side, it is so much better than receiving 50 from one set of parents and 100 from the other. Add to that total another 30 of your friends and maybe 30 from your child. So 30 from each side turns out to be 120 -- or more depending on who's doing the counting.
What other problems, you ask? Remember when someone mistakenly forgot to include Aunt Saydie? Remember how one side of the family did not speak to the other side for a long time? While that may sound like a good thing, it really isn't.
After you make the master list of 30 from each side plus your 30, it is a very good idea to give each set of grandparents a master list to proofread for errors. The errors being, of course, that you are inviting or not inviting someone that may cause a big problem. Let's have no surprises here. It is amazing how someone may remember, "Look, we forgot so-and-so."
While so-and-so might not have minded, there could also have been another world war in your family if you don't invite him/her. Purposefully, we do not include the child's list to the grandparent proofing. We do not need a grandma saying "I never liked that boy!" There is no discussion involving the child's friends.
Although you will not mail invitations for six to eight weeks, it's good to begin looking long before that time. At least six month in advance is good to begin your search. With all the choices available, it's not easy to pick invitations. It's good to have a notebook, journal or an index card box with everyone's name and address on a separate card. When the invitations go out, each name is checked. When the response arrives, it is so noted. Also note when a gift arrives and when the thank-you note is sent.
The index-card box is one of the most important items in your home and is referred to each time an affair is coming up -- as well as when you need a gift for that person's party.
Must you have a very formal invite? Will it need the extra color in the envelope? Many forget the reason for your affair. First of all, it's not your affair. What will be suitable for your almost 13-year-old? Will he or she have a say in this selection? And will it be his or her favorite color?
It was one thing when you chose that adorable little "It's a Girl" announcement in azalea pink, and it's quite another for your little girl -- almost grown up -- to choose her invitation in that hot orange/spring green combination. While the tablecloths and place cards will probably be white, the napkins and accessories will follow through in the orange and green.
You will need a flower arrangement for the table that houses the place cards and another [smaller] arrangement for the ladies room to place next to the basket containing tissues, some pretty guest soaps, perfume and hand lotion.
Imagine the trim on the cake icing matching those two beautiful colors. Imagine her joy at being able to make the decision. The good news is that you will not have to wear a matching dress in those colors. They are just her colors.
Remember you do not have to like it. It is just amazing that, together, you two found something she loves. And your daughter will remember this affair -- forever. We can only hope and pray the orange-and-green flowers in the lady's room do not clash with the chartreuse wall tile!