Privilege Blog

Invitations, Then, Now, And Tomorrow, Or, Saturday Morning at 10:02am


My mom turns 80 this year, and we’ve decided to extend the festivities to a family reunion. I’ve been coordinating the logistics, timing, location, amongst all the cousins.

On email, of course.

So when the time came to put together an invitation,  I clicked over to the Paperless Post website, browsed their templates, chose fonts and customized motifs. Filled out the settings for RSVP tracking. Saved and sent a test email. The result looks something like the image above – except with more data.

Do you realize how many words I just used that have only claimed their particular meanings in the past 30 years?  Consider “website, browsed, templates, settings, email.” Common terms, completely new in this generation. I realized this when I tried to explain to my mother and her husband how to look through the Paperless Post site and tell me what invitation Mom might like.

My mother doesn’t use a computer. At all.

So, while I couldn’t talk about browsing a site, or HTML, or even really use the word “image” in the way that we do now, I could ask her a few things. Color? “Blue,’ she said, “Blue and green.” In our culture that means navy with kelly green accents. Font? “Calligraphy is always nice,” she said. “I’ll make it kind of nautical,” I replied. She laughed. I love my mother’s laugh.

I added palm trees because Mom has actual instantiations of the species all over her back yard. The envelope is kelly green, with a gold and white liner, by the way. The stamp, a sailboat.

There’s no question that time has to pass and societies change. But I think as new generations invent new stuff, sharing a language becomes increasingly important.

I expect the terms family reunion, and birthday, to endure. Of course, there’s the Facebook version of those too. Picture navy and kelly green winking emoticon, here.

Have a wonderful weekend.


(as usual, no compensation. maybe i will just start noting the inverse, when necessary)


34 Responses

    1. Oh thank you. To be clearer, Mom’s birthday is in December. We are simply inveterate planners, and setting things in motion because people will be flying out from across the country.

  1. I think I need a ‘gimlet eye’ emoticon.

    I struggle with this e-vite thing. I just can’t. I am unable to can. Maybe I’m just too old school, I believe in paper.

  2. So sweet that you are doing this for your mom. I like that you have a common understanding/language. Hope you’re having a relaxing weekend Lisa!

    xo Mary Jo

  3. My mum’s 88 and has been pretty good about computers. She was even doing all of her stock trading/tracking. But I’ve noticed recently that little things are slipping her mind – how to find an image on google, for example. but at least she’s doing it.

    1. No worries. That was on the template. We are not including a dress code. It’s family – none is needed. But in general, I can decode “festive attire” better than some others…

  4. My mother is celebrating her 80th this year as well. My sister and husband are taking her on a cruise…and when she returns, she moves in at our house. Now, I’m wondering if we need to plan a big shindig as well. (Shindig is a word from another generation). How many guests might there be?

  5. Congratulations to your mother. The medium for the invitation might be new, but there is much more that is traditional–getting together to celebrate an important occasion, and even all the modern forces of computer technology now kneel at the altar of Navy Blue and Kelly Green.
    –Road to Parnassus

  6. Well, all I can say is have a lovely celebration. I still remember the last birthday my mom was still well and we had a lovely family evening. Every moment is very precious and we never realized until she became incapacitated.

    Computer literacy is totally out of the question with her. But since our grandma made it from the times of the last Austrian empress to the introduction of the currency euro, and my own mom from a childhood under tyranny to the times of the internet, I wonder what I myself am up for. I vote for the colonisation of space.

  7. Last year my mother turned 80, and we had a party/family reunion at our home. I also used e-vites and they were a huge hit. My mom does use a computer a little, and was very excited by the invitation – loved the way the invite came out of the envelope. I’ve been using them for all the family events since then (since I’m generally the hostess) – I find it a really easy way to keep track of everything, send updates, answer questions, etc.
    Other end of the spectrum, my daughter’s wedding invitations were done on a vintage letterpress by hand.
    Congratulations to you and your mom – I’m sure the party will be great, and I love the template that you chose.

    1. “my daughter’s wedding”

      The critical countdown is upon you, how’re you and the bride holding up, Kathy?

  8. “In our culture that means navy with kelly green accents.”

    Omigosh yes. So funny, yet so true. (I wonder why it is STILL so true after all these years. I have no idea how that particular tradish got started, either. Something to do with sailing or horses, I wot…maybe golf, but that’s a bit more arriviste perhaps…)

  9. Oh the fortunate ones who get to receive this invitation! Who here wouldn’t want to be on that select guest list? I know pix are too much to ask, but a short recap would be sensational.

    And like clockwork, LPC sends me to the dictionary:

    Vocabulary Word for the Day:

    “Instantiation is the creation of an instance of an abstraction, object class (also known as a template) or other computer process whereby objects are used. Each instance created by instantiation will be unique depending on the variation of the elements within the object. Until an object becomes instantiated, none of the code within the relevant class declarations will be used.

    Prior to modern OOP methods, instantiate had a similar meaning in relation to the creation of data within an empty template. For example, the entry of a record into a database was considered to be instantiation.”

    Happy Birthday, Mother of LPC!

    1. So funny. That word is common enough in my professional life that I did not know its meaning was so specialized!

  10. Many will gasp, I know, but my son and his bride-to-be sent their wedding invitations (which they designed, very charming really, altho’ not navy and kelly green) electronically. Paper-saving, funds, both were cited, but really, for the crowd they were inviting, e-vites simply were more appropriate. It’s not a mailbox-checking crowd, really. My FIL and one of my daughters have joked (or not?) that they won’t RSVP until they get the “real” invitation, but since the one is too ill to travel and the other’s in the wedding party, no one’s too concerned.
    And I, too, love the accoutrements of the old-school invitations, but this isn’t my wedding. . .
    and I love the neatness of their electronic version which has separate pages for “How to Get There,” etc.
    As for your mother’s birthday invitations, very chic indeed. I wish her a Happy 80th! By this point, she’s clearly earned the right to know as little as she wishes to about computers, emails, browsers, etc. . . .She has a clever daughter to do all that for her!

    1. I find this “not checking their mailbox crowd” so strange and yet, so true. I think my daughter and her friends check their mailboxes so seldom, luckily her fiance gets the mail everyday. This was part of the reason I did my mother’s and other family event invites by email – none of the kids of the extended cousin’s families check their mail. Is this some sort of trend Lisa, since virtually everything can be done over the internet, bill paying, banking etc.?

    2. My twenty-something kids rarely check their inbox or their mailbox. I have to text important info or they miss stuff like family events. “Email? I don’t look at email?”.

      I am too much of a paper and paint addict to ever give up hard copy invitations, though I think Punchbowl is adorable and use it for friends impromptu gatherings all the time.

  11. I still like a real paper invitation or thank you note. It’s one thing that my grandchildren are being taught by their mama… to send a hand-written thank you. It’s a dying art that should not be forgotten.

    Love your invites!

  12. Congratulations to your mother!

    The most important thing is getting together, and whatever form of communication that makes it happen is good. That said, there is nothing like a paper invitation in the mail. We just had a large summer party and sent out paper invitations – invitees were surprised and delighted to receive the ‘real thing’.
    I used email for updates and reminders.

    What does “festive attire” mean to you?

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