For the first time in its history, the Pantone Color Institute created a new color as its Color of the Year. Very Peri, described as a vibrant periwinkle blue with violet and red undertones, was invented especially for the honor. That’s right, none of the 1,114 existing Pantone colors were deserving of the 2022 crown.

“It was really important for us to come up with a new color, because we have a very new vision of the world now,” Pantone Color Institute executive director Leatrice Eiseman recently told CNN in an interview. In choosing the color(s) of the year, the Institute considers global events. The Covid-19 pandemic continues to influence their choices. In 2021, for only the second time, two colors were selected: Ultimate Gray and Illuminating (bright yellow). The colors symbolized emergence from a dreary time into a brighter future. Likewise, the Institute felt that Very Peri was a hopeful and happy shade that created a feeling of newness.

As we move into a world of unprecedented change, the selection of PANTONE 17-3938 Very Peri brings a novel perspective and vision of the trusted and beloved blue color family, encompassing the qualities of the blues, yet at the same time with its violet undertone, Very Peri displays a spritely, joyous attitude and dynamic presence that encourages courageous creativity and imaginative expressions.

Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute

Digital influences

In addition to world events, Pantone studies the entertainment industry, art, fashion, design, travel and lifestyles for emerging trends. This year, technology played an integral part in their choice as our lives are increasingly tied to the digital realm, or metaverse. The color is found in platforms from the Fortnite video game to Zoom call backgrounds. To further promote the tech theme, Pantone partnered with Microsoft to launch Very Peri as a series of wallpapers, PowerPoint palettes, and even a Teams camera filter. 


peri partners

To give you a little inspiration for incorporating Very Peri into your world, Pantone provides suggested palettes. The color can be the star of the show among neutrals. It also serves as a complement to brighter hues.


Benjamin Moore paint company’s Color Preview collection includes Scandinavian Blue, which closely resembles Very Peri. They suggest pairing the color with a creamy white and silvery pale blue shade.


Peri weddinG?

Apart from the actual periwinkle flower (vinca), the blue-purple Very Peri color is rare in fresh florals. If you’ve fallen in love with the color and want to use it in your upcoming wedding, Lilium designers recommend incorporating the shade in your reception linens, invitations/announcements, bridesmaid dresses and accessories. It’s easier to coordinate florals to compliment the periwinkle tones than to find flowers in that specific shade. As shown in the suggested palettes above, there are many ways to build a color story around Very Peri.

Orchids are the most varied species of flower on the planet. It’s difficult to even pinpoint a number of varieties, as new ones are discovered each year, but there are an estimated 25,000 species in the orchid family. Orchids grow naturally in tropical climates, but many varieties can be cultivated in the U.S., and with a healthy green thumb, can be maintained as house plants.

When you visualize an orchid, the phalaenopsis orchid likely comes to mind. It is frequently found at garden centers, florists, and even supermarkets. It is fairly easy to grow, even for a beginner. Phalaenopsis orchids can be found in a wide variety of colors, from pure white, pinks and purples to apricot, orange, salmon, and yellow.

ORCHID CARE

Lilium customers frequently ask about how to care for potted orchids. When we deliver a potted orchid, we include an Orchid Care card with general instructions. We recommend placing the plant in bright indirect light. Fill a spray bottle with about 5 ounces of room-temperature water. Gently lift the leaves and mist the roots. Do not spray the leaves or flowers. Allow soil to dry out completely before watering again. Orchids do not like to stand in water. After the blooming cycle is over, continue to mist weekly to encourage future blooms.

There are some conflicting opinions about watering methods. Some orchid sellers and websites recommend watering orchids using ice cubes. Using ice cubes allows water to slowly drip onto the roots as the ice melts. However, orchids are tropical plants that grow in warm climates, so they are not naturally acclimated to freezing temperatures. If ice directly touches the roots, it will damage them. We recommend the misting method, using tepid water.

Orchid roots are unusual. The roots are thick compared to finely webbed roots on other plants, and they are intended to be open to the air and not buried in potting soil.  Orchid roots have a special covering called velamen, which acts as a sponge absorbing water and nutrients for the orchid. For most orchids, the roots are green when newly hydrated, silver-green, or white when healthy, but dry. Mushy, limp orchid roots indicate overwatering. Likewise, the roots should not be tan or brittle – this signals underwatering.


BLOOM cycle

In spite of the vast variety of orchids in the world, every orchid has something in common: it is bilateral symmetric, meaning it has mirroring halves. If you divide any orchid bloom from top to bottom, you will have two identical halves.

Most orchid plants bloom just once a year. Blooms last, on average, six to eight weeks. Many will discard the bare plant, or replace it with a blooming one. However, orchids will rebloom given care and patience. After blooms drop, prune the dead stems and nodes (yellow, brown or shriveled in appearance). The dead stems will not produce blooms, and may inhibit new growth. Water the plant just as you do when it is blooming, every one to two weeks, allowing it to dry out between watering. Patience will be rewarded with new blooms in eight to 12 months.

cut orchids

With their striking colors, patterns and shapes, orchids often steal the show in fresh arrangements. They are equally at home in tropical arrangements, or paired with more traditional florals like roses, hydrangea and tulips. Lilium designers love to incorporate orchids of all colors and varieties into custom arrangements.

  • Vased arrangement with succulents


FUN FACTS ABOUT ORCHIDS

Vanilla Planifolia
  • Vanilla comes from orchids (Vanilla Planifolia), and is the only variety of orchid yielding an edible product.
  • Orchids grow on every continent except Antarctica
  • Orchids are hypoallergenic (their pollen is not airborne)
  • The tallest species of orchid is the Sobralia altissima in Peru, which can grow 44 feet tall
  • Orchid seeds are about the size of a dust particle, so it can take years for an orchid to bloom from seeds.
  • According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the record is 91 blooms on a single plant.

In these challenging times, every retailer has a story… it may be one of struggle, confusion, anxiety, compromise, resolve, triumph, defeat, or if we are being honest, a combination of these experiences. For Lilium, the past few months have brought unprecedented challenges, highs and lows. We are still navigating this ever-changing business climate, but if there is one thing we can be sure of, it is that we would not still be standing without the support of our loyal customer base.

After surviving four years of highway construction in front of Lilium, where our entrances were often completely blocked, we were well-positioned for a banner year in 2020. Our recent building expansion was complete, and we were enjoying brisk sales in January and February. On March 9, we received a phone call from a standing account saying that they needed to cancel their weekly services. Losses mounted as those calls continued over the following four days.

There was tremendous confusion from federal, state and local governments as to proper protocol. Disinfect surfaces? Wear masks? What was essential business? Ultimately, florists were deemed “critical infrastructure” by the state of Texas, and florists were allowed to operate. Not only was this important in preserving jobs for our staff, we recognized the opportunity to make a positive impact on our community during discouraging times.

supply chain break

Our supply chain literally broke overnight. Every single local wholesaler closed. Farmers from all over the world were desperately trying to find a way to get their product to market. Trucking capacity dropped, flights were cancelled. We had to completely change our purchasing model, but in the end, we were able to obtain the same high quality product that our customers expect and enjoy.

when life gives you lemons…

As you might imagine, the loss of standing accounts, cancelled events, postponed weddings, no proms or graduation celebrations hit us hard. However, occasions that would typically be reasons to gather became occasions to send flowers. When families couldn’t be together for Easter, they sent flowers. With many working from home, business executives couldn’t take their administrative staff to lunch for Administrative Professionals Day. They sent flowers.

For the same reason, we anticipated that Mother’s Day was going to be busier than normal. So many were not able to honor their moms in person, but wanted to make her day special. Because of the disrupted supply chain, we were not able to create a Mother’s Day menu as we have in the past. We were receiving beautiful product, but couldn’t select specific stems as we normally would. Without missing a beat, we were able to deliver double the number of Mother’s Day arrangements over last year.

Community support

Again, we would not have survived the past few months without the tremendous support of our customers and community. The local community really rallied behind local businesses. The City of Colleyville twice issued postcards with a $35 value to be used at local businesses. Many of our loyal customers called to ask how they could help. They increased their purchase frequency, which boosted our day-to-day sales and kept us going.

The challenges of this pandemic have forced us out of our comfort zone in many ways. We had to get creative and find new opportunities as former ones disappeared. We have risen to the challenge, and our customer base has actually grown out of this adversity. Lilium is proud to have kept our full-time staff working, and to have served our customers and community well. Our commitment remains to serve you with high quality, beautiful floral designs and top-notch customer service. Most importantly, we THANK YOU for your continuing loyal support.

“Do you have peonies?” That is one of the most commonly asked questions we get from our customers throughout the year. In fact, peonies rival roses for our most requested flower. They are like the most popular girl in school, the one everybody wants to hang around with. And, like many popular girls, peonies play hard to get. They are only in season from late spring to early summer. Maybe part of their popularity can be attributed to their somewhat elusive nature, but I think most would say it is because they are, simply, stunning.

Peonies love to show off. Their blooms can reach 10 inches in width, with showy ruffled, densely packed petals. Their colors range from white and the palest pink to vibrant coral and deep burgundy. They are perfectly perfect on their own, but they are equally beautiful when showcased in an arrangement with other blooms.

symbolism

Peonies’ roots trace back hundreds of years to Asia, where they were cultivated for their healing properties more than their appearance. It was believed that parts of the peony plant relieved arthritis, headaches, and muscle cramps. To this day, peonies play an important role in Chinese culture (where the word is translated “most beautiful”). The flower is closely associated with royalty, and is a symbol of wealth and prosperity. Deep red hues are favored in Eastern cultures as a symbol of honor and respect. A favorite motif used by Chinese artisans, decorative objects featuring peonies are often found in Chinese homes to bring good fortune to its occupants.

beloved by brides

In the U.S., peonies more often symbolize love and romance. Pink blooms are favored in this context, but today’s brides choose from a variety of shades for their bouquets, ceremony and reception florals. Desirable for both their beauty and symbolism, peonies are believed to be a good omen for a happy marriage. That optimism should sustain the couple for at least a decade, as the peony is known as the 12th anniversary flower.

sourcing and availability

Now back to that “play hard to get” statement. While you might be successful in planting and cultivating peony plants in your home garden, commercially grown peonies are limited in both quantity and season. During peony season, which I mentioned is late spring to early summer, Lilium sources their blooms from Holland and Chile. We receive shipments of fresh blooms every week throughout the growing season. For weddings and special events, we can special order peonies in specified shades. We will also manage the stems so that their blooms open at the perfect time.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! OK, maybe second most. At Lilium, we love peonies, and the opportunity to showcase them in creative and beautiful ways. It is pretty convenient that Mother’s Day falls in the middle of peony season as well. Studies show that moms love peonies, too! Well, I made that part up, but all of the moms at Lilium think peonies are (to borrow a well-known phrase), “practically perfect in every way.”

Give us a call and let us share some of the season’s best blooms with you or someone you love.

The difference is in the details, and when planning a wedding, there are LOTS of details to consider. One important check list item is the cake. Whether you choose a small and simple creation for rustic elegance, or a multi-tiered masterpiece fit for a royalty, adding fresh flowers and greenery is a thoughtful detail that makes a big statement.

Cake flowers are an impactful way to carry your wedding theme from the ceremony into the reception. They can be used as accents, or as the focal point on the cake. Cakes with simple, unadorned white or ivory icing provide a perfect canvas for floral designs.

Flowers Bring the “Wow”

Fresh flowers are the star of the show on these simple but elegant tiered cakes:

Cake: Moonlight Cakes Photo: Stefanie Marrow Hampton

Often the cake flowers will mirror florals used elsewhere in the wedding. They should be consistent with the color scheme and overall theme. One Lilium bride and groom were married at a local botanical garden. The couple chose succulents and other natural textures for the wedding party flowers and ceremony decor that complimented the venue. The look carried over to the reception, where the cake featured white ranunculus, lavender, fresh herbs and berries.

Cake: Photo: Lightbox Photography

Floral Toppers and Bases

Fresh flowers are frequently used as cake toppers, but using flowers to surround the cake’s base allows the cake to shine while creating a show-stopping table.     

Photo: Taylor Jackson, Barefeet Photography
Photo: Nate and Grace
Cake: Creme de la Creme Cake Company Photo: Tracy Autem Photography

Some of Our Favorites

The possibilities are endless when it comes to adding fresh flowers to your wedding cake. Talk with your baker as well as your florist about ideas to make your cake even more beautiful. They can collaborate on a design to complement your wedding decor.  As you can see here, Lilium LOVES creating florals for these special cakes. Here are a few of our favorites:

Cake: C Marie’s Sweets Bakery Photo: Convey Studios
Cake: Creme de la Creme Cake Company Photo: Taylor Pritchett
Cake: Creme de la Creme Cake Company Photo: Jason Kindig Photography
Cake: Opulent Cakes
Cake: The Cake Guys
Creme de la Creme Cake Company

Some of the most commonly used plants, both indoor and in landscapes, pose a hidden threat to our pets. That threat could range from mouth irritation and behavioral changes, to digestive distress, to death. In order to protect your pets, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the risky varieties.

WHY DO ANIMALS EAT PLANTS?

Cats and dogs love to nibble on plants. Often, they use plants to aid in digestion. Sometimes animals eat plants to induce vomiting, to clear their systems of toxins, parasites, bones or fur. Sometimes pets eat plants just because they taste good. We would be hard-pressed to monitor our pets 24/7 to prevent undesirable plant chewing, so it makes sense to eliminate access to dangerous varieties.

WHAT PLANTS ARE HARMFUL TO PETS?

As I scrolled through Facebook this week, I noticed a photo featuring a store display of potted Easter lilies. Underneath was a note warning consumers against bringing a lily home if there is a cat in residence. Some pet owners have learned the hard way that lilies are highly toxic to cats, causing renal failure, and often death, if any part of the plant is ingested. Lilies do not pose a threat to dogs or humans.

Not only do we need to be mindful of our houseplants, many common landscape plants are toxic to animals. Plant varieties that are toxic to both cats and dogs include:

  • Amaryllis
  • Azaleas and Rhododendrons
  • Caladium
  • Chrysanthemum
  • Cyclamen
  • Daffodil bulbs
  • Dieffenbachia
  • English Ivy
  • Foxglove
  • Hydrangea
  • Kalanchoe
  • Morning Glory
  • Oleander
  • Peace Lily
  • Pothos
  • Rhododendron
  • Sago Palm
  • Schefflera (Umbrella Tree)
  • Tulip and Narcissus bulbs
  • Wisteria
  • Yew

While this list is by no means comprehensive, it includes many of the most widely used plants in our homes and landscapes. The Sago Palm, for example, is one of the most dangerous plants for pets. All parts of the plant are toxic for animals, but the seed pod is the most deadly. The toxin, Cycasin, can do its damage in as little as 15 minutes post-ingestion. If untreated, liver failure is imminent.

WHAT PLANTS ARE SAFE FOR PETS?

  • African Violets
  • Air Plants
  • Aluminum Plant (Watermelon Plant)
  • Begonias
  • Camellias
  • Christmas Cactus
  • Some Ferns (Boston and Maidenhair are safe; Asparagus Ferns are actually in the Lily family and are toxic)
  • Friendship Plant
  • Fuchsia
  • Some herbs, including Rosemary, Thyme, Dill, Fennel, Basil
  • Lipstick Plant
  • Marigolds
  • Parlor Palm
  • Phalaenopsis Orchid
  • Polka Dot Plant
  • Prayer Plant
  • Snapdragons
  • Some succulents (excluding Jade)
  • Summer Hyacinth

SIGNS OF DISTRESS

Some toxins take only minutes to have affect, while others may develop over time. Some symptoms to watch for include:

  • redness, swelling or itchiness of the skin or mouth
  • difficulty breathing
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • lethargy
  • seizures
  • excessive drinking or urinating
  • fast, slow, or irregular heartbeat

IMMEDIATE CARE

Time is of the essence if you suspect your pet has ingested a toxic plant. Identifying the plant is a crucial step in a correct diagnosis. Certain toxins impact specific organs, so the veterinarian will want to run tests specific to those organs.

It is important to consult with a veterinarian before inducing vomiting, as that may actually make matters worse. The caustic toxin may damage the esophagus on the way back up. If the animal has vomited, the veterinarian may give the animal activated charcoal to absorb any remaining toxic material in the gut.

Winston

Lilium shop dog, Winston (who himself is a connoisseur of fine acorns) says, “prevention is always the best plan, but if your pet manages to find a toxic plant to nibble, contact your veterinarian or one of the following help lines immediately.”

Pet Poison Help Line: 1-855-213-6680

ASPCA Animal Poison-Control Center: 1-888-426-4435

The Pantone Color Institute has declared the color of the year for 2019: Living Coral. The vibrant, yet soothing shade is thought to represent our ever-changing environment. Look for the warm, salmon pink shade to pop up in home decor, apparel and accessories, cosmetics, housewares and paint colors.

The Pantone Color Institute has been selecting a single color of the year (with the exception of 2016 when two colors shared the honor) for the past 20 years. Their selection is based on careful trend analysis. They explore the entertainment industry, world-wide art collections, fashion, design, and trending travel destinations. They also consider modern lifestyles, recreation trends, and socio-economic conditions. This year, they clearly give a nod to the environment, calling attention to the preservation of our coral reefs.

Color is an equalizing lens through which we experience our natural and digital realities and this is particularly true for Living Coral. With consumers craving human interaction and social connection, the humanizing and heartening qualities displayed by the convivial Pantone Living Coral hit a responsive chord.Leatrice Eiseman, Executive Director of the Pantone Color Institute       

Leatrice Eiseman, Executive Director of the Pantone Color Institute       

Influences of Technology and Advertising

The Institute’s color choice also takes into account new technologies, materials, textures, and relevant social media platforms. They carefully monitor heavy hitters in the advertising world, like Apple and Airbnb, to provide hints as to trends on the rise.

Airbnb’s recent advertising campaign, shown here in a subway car, features a background very similar to Living Coral.

Floral Implications

2018’s designated color of the year, Ultra Violet, influenced wedding florals throughout the year. Greenery, the 2017 winner, impacted wedding trends in both color and use of natural materials. We expect Living Coral will do the same. In the floral world, the shade can be found in a variety of blooms: roses, dahlias, tulips, gerbera daisies, and peonies to name a few.

Dahlias
David Austin roses
gerbera daisies
Bridal bouquet of coral tulips
Coral peonies

Living Coral pairs well with both light and dark colors. In floral arrangements, it is complemented beautifully by green foliage. It is equally at home with pinks and whites, or with fellow warm colors like yellow or orange. Living Coral pops against almost any shade of blue, particularly turquoise.

Coral anthurium sits front and center in this vibrant arrangement.

According to Pantone’s website, “Symbolizing our innate need for optimism and joyful pursuits, PANTONE 16-1546 Living Coral embodies our desire for playful expression.” Lilium agrees with their joyous assessment.  We receive a variety of fresh flowers weekly, including blooms in the coral palette. We look forward to finding creative ways to incorporate this year’s Pantone Color of the Year into our fresh arrangements.

Whether you are planning a large party, or a small gathering, the table decor needn’t cause any stress. While floral centerpieces are beautiful, you can create a tablescape with or without flowers, often using items you already own.

A tablescape, by definition, is simply an artistic arrangement of items on a table. The tablescape can convey a theme, celebrate a season, or just provide a personal touch. The items you choose do not have to match, but should complement each other.

Items you already have, or that can be easily obtained, make tablescapes a snap. You can use empty bottles or jars, petite potted plants, lanterns and other decorative objects like baskets, frames and mirrors. Candles of all sizes perfectly complement most arrangements. If you are celebrating a holiday, incorporate items to enhance that theme or season, such as ornaments, pine cones, pumpkins, berries, leaves and greenery.

Dress up your holiday table with colors and textures of the season. Plentiful nuts, gourds and leaves make perfect accents.
A simple, yet festive tablescape made with Mason jars, cranberries and fresh greenery.
Mix and match bottles and vases you have on hand, and fill with individual stems for a pop of color.

The most effective tablescapes feature items of various heights. The tallest item will be the focal point. Once that piece is selected, mix and match items of varying heights, colors and textures to create interest and dimension. A little imagination and a few minutes is all it takes to design an inviting table for your special guests.

There is everlasting love and everlasting life, but sadly, there is no such thing as an everlasting flower.  If there is any downside to purchasing fresh cut flowers, it is the fact that they are perishable. Fresh flowers are so beautiful, we want them to stay that way as long as possible. While there is no method that will make your flowers everlasting, there are some tips that will make them longer lasting.

Location, Location, Location

When a flower is growing in the ground or container, the sun is its friend. But the moment a flower is cut, the sun and flower are no longer on speaking terms. Sunlight speeds the deterioration of cut flowers.  Place your fresh arrangement in a cool location, out of direct sunlight. In addition, make sure your flowers are not sitting directly under an air vent.

If you have a boutonniere or corsage,  store it in the refrigerator away from fruits and vegetables. An apple a day may keep the doctor away, but it makes fresh flowers sickly. Fresh fruits and veggies emit ethylene gas, which speeds up the aging process for flowers.

Water

If you are putting cut flowers into a vase, start with a fresh cut on all stems. Trim stems at an angle using sharp scissors or a sharp knife. This will help them draw water up the stem more easily. Floral stems have capillaries  that are used to draw in water. If you use a dull blade to trim stems, you are squeezing the capillaries closed, preventing the flow of water to the flower.

Start with clean water and a clean vase. Many internet sites will advise adding various elements to the water, including aspirin, sugar, bleach, vinegar, or even a penny. If you purchased your flowers locally, however, the chances are your flowers have already been treated with a natural flower food and do not benefit from any of these additives.

If you receive an arrangement already in a vase, be sure to top off the water daily, making sure all stems are submerged in the water.  For best results, pour out the water and completely replace it with clean water every two-three days.

Purchase Long-Lasting Varieties

At Lilium, we are often asked how long a customer can expect their flower arrangement to last. In general, five-seven days is what you can expect. Anything beyond that is a bonus. There are certain varieties, however, that are longer lasting than others. Lilies and orchids are among the varieties that stick around for a while. Tropical flowers, like ginger, heliconia, pincushions, and birds of paradise can last up to two weeks.

tropical arrangement
This arrangement is created using long-lasting tropicals, including cymbidium orchids, mink protea and monstera leaves
Ginger, heliconia. anthurium and mokara orchids fresh from Maui make a striking and long-lasting arrangement

Hydrangea is one of the most popular blooms used in fresh arrangements, but tends to be high maintenance. One of its unique characteristics is that it drinks from its petals as well as its stem. If you have a hydrangea that looks sickly, try submerging it (head and all) under water for a few minutes and it will perk back up.

Reliable Roses

There is a misconception that roses do not last very long. If you purchase premium roses that are cut at maturity, they will last longer. Roses cut too early will not open consistently, and their heads will droop. Lilium uses Corazon roses from Rio Roses. The Corazon is an award-winning Blue Ribbon rose with a proven track record. The blooms open 4″-5″ inches across, but in spite of the impressive show, the heads will not droop.

Reliable Roses
Corazon roses are the star of this classic rose arrangement

Lilium believes that educating consumers about properly caring for their arrangement or plant is an important step. We want customers to be satisfied with their purchases, while being realistic in their expectations of a perishable product. On every Lilium arrangement, potted orchid or plant, a care card is attached. In addition, care instructions are printed on the back of our message cards. We can’t prevent the demise of a cut flower, but we can work together to prolong its life.

This blog has nothing to do with flowers, but as a florist, we work day in and day out with brides, party and shower hostesses, and event planners who all rely on the ever-important (but often neglected) RSVP. Just consider this a public service announcement: RSVPs are important!

Everyone who has hosted an event can relate. The non-RSVPers wonder, “what’s the big deal?” You know who you are. Let’s focus on why it is a big deal to RSVP when it is requested. This applies to weddings, showers, parties, and any event where RSVP appears on the invitation. It isn’t simply a matter of etiquette, or an antiquated concept; it has very practical implications.

In our business, we hear stories of frustration over getting a reliable head count. Brides and their parents are working with a budget. If they serve a meal, they have to give a count to the caterer. They have to tell the venue how many tables and chairs are needed. The list can go on to include china, glassware, linens, centerpieces and a multitude of rented items.  Likewise, party hostesses are purchasing food, beverages, and party favors, and planning things like seating and activities with no idea how many will attend. In some cases, a host makes lodging and transportation arrangements for potential guests from out of town. As you can imagine, it is difficult to successfully plan without a commitment from the guests.

Fear of Commitment?

I’ve asked myself why people seem to disregard an RSVP request. Is it a generational thing? Is it reluctance to commit? Too much trouble? I can’t really blame this one on the Millennials. No one seems immune. It isn’t a time-consuming task. In most cases, hosts make it pretty easy to RSVP. In the case of less formal invitations, like E-vites and Facebook events, it is as simple as the click of a mouse. Printed invitations almost always include a response card, as well as a stamped and addressed envelope for mailing. Short of making personal phone calls and text inquiries (and I know some who have had to resort to this), what does a host have to do?

That leaves the commitment excuse. “I’m just not sure what I will be doing three weeks from Saturday, so I just won’t commit. If it turns out I’m free, I’ll make an appearance. If not, they won’t be expecting me.” Make no mistake, an RSVP is a commitment. Anyone who has planned a wedding knows the angst of creating a guest list. Tough decisions are made. Distant cousins twice-removed are crossed off, while Uncle Jim and his plus-one make the cut. If you were so fortunate as to make the cut,  Répondez s’il vous plaît (RSVP). Make the commitment, take the plunge, show up. Put it on your calendar and protect that date.

Regrets

If you have a conflict, decline promptly, or send your regrets. You aren’t required to give an explanation, but you might offer a brief note expressing gratitude for the invitation and indicating the reason you are unable to attend. E-vite and Facebook invitations allow you to straddle the fence with a “Maybe” response option. Whenever possible, however, make a decision and let the host know. You just might open up a spot for one of those distant cousins who is dying to attend.

Respect the Guest List

I am dating myself with this bit, but “back in the day” when I got married, the ceremony was in the church sanctuary followed by a reception in the church’s fellowship hall. Yes, we requested RSVPs on the invitations, but it was just to have a ballpark estimate of how many to expect. How many did my cake need to serve? How many cups of punch would we need? It didn’t really matter if someone brought an extra guest or two along.

Today’s weddings are a little (a lot) more complex, from venues to menus. For reasons previously mentioned, it is imperative to have an accurate count of guests. Apart from the price tag attached to each guest, the bride and groom have chosen the friends and family they want with them on their special day. Respect that. The names on the invitation envelope are the parties invited. Period. If your name is the only one that appears, you are going solo.

A Few “Don’ts” and a “Do”

For some this may seem like common sense; for others, it may as well be Greek. So, it bears pointing out. Don’t assume they are fine with you bringing your children along. If your invited spouse or date can’t make it, don’t feel free to substitute another guest. Don’t put them on the spot and ask if you can bring your sister who happens to be in town that day, or worse yet, just bring your sister without asking. There will be no place card at the table with her name on it. Awkward!  Perhaps your invitation will be addressed to you “and guest.” In that case, by all means, bring a date or a friend. The host has graciously allowed you a plus-one.

Who Should RSVP?

Everyone. Even if you are part of the wedding party, you need to RSVP. If you verbally told the host over lunch two weeks ago that you planned to attend, you still need to RSVP. Never assume the host knows you plan to attend.

You don’t have to read up on your Emily Post Rules of Etiquette, or seek the advice of Dear Abby or Miss Manners. You don’t need fancy words, or creative writing skills. It’s as simple as “yes” or “no,” “accept” or “decline.” Check a box or click on the screen. At the end of the day, it’s really a matter of showing respect and courtesy to the host/hostess, who was kind enough to invite you to join in their celebration.