The excitement begins when your guests open their mailbox and find your invitation. Your invitation sets the tone for your occasion.

Does it scream,

 “I can’t miss this party it sounds fabulous!” 

or did you send out a letter sheet that reads like a grocery list of boring statistics that immediately got relegated to the pile referred to “maybe we’ll think about it unless something better comes up.”

Choosing your Invitations

Your invitation should match the style of your event.  Is it formal, semi-formal or a casual backyard get together?

Your invitation provides the details of the celebration as well as what to expect at the party. A casual get together?  A corporate gala for 500?  A surprise birthday party for your husband of 20 years??

When choosing your invitation, remember you already have a theme — it’s a party!

So is the party for a man or a woman, is it a birthday, an anniversary or a baby shower for a friend?

What are their hobbies or interests? What’s their favorite cocktail? Is it a summer pool party or a winter “we’re freezing but need a reason to party” kind of thing?

 Purpose of the invitation

A birthday party, a wedding, a holiday open house.
Include the occasion you are celebrating.  Name of honoree “Sally Smith” or “Ken and Jennifer” (the birthday person, the mother-to-be, the bride and groom)  Day and Date “Saturday, August 29th”
or if it is formal, “Saturday, the twenty-ninth of August.”

Look at your calendar to make sure as in this example, the 29th of August is really on a Saturday. Tip:When you include the year after the date, “August 29, 2016” is correct “August 29th, 2016” is NOT correct – the “th” or “nd” is only used when a date is not followed by the year.

Your Informal invitations do not require the year. For a formal event, include the year and spell it out: “two thousand and sixteen” instead of “2016.”  Time “6:00 p.m.” with small letters and periods p.m.

For for formal events, spell out the time such as:
“six o’clock in the evening”
“eleven o’clock in the morning”
with little “o” and “c” on the word “o’clock”.

Tip: Before 6:00 p.m., use “in the afternoon”

“August 29th, 2016” is NOT correct – the “th” or “nd” is only used when a date is not followed by the year.

Name of Place If the party is not in your home, you should include the name of the place: “Opah’s Restaurant”.  If the party is at a home, you can use:“at the home of Dan Robinson”

Physical Location of Venue               

Give the street address and city. Include the state if your are inviting out of town guests to a location other than your home. Do not print a zip code on an invitation. Tip: Zip codes are not needed for on-line driving directions or GPS directions. Your zip code is usually on the return address of the envelope if it is needed for any reason, but please, don’t print it on your invitations.  Name of Host List the name of the host(s) / hostess(es) / parent(s) giving the party.

“Hosted by Sally Smith”
“Given by Denise Dunne”

Only List an RSVP with a phone number and/or email address and a date you would like your guests to RSVP by. Tip: Do not use “Regrets Only” if you need an accurate count of who is coming to the party for the caterer, to know how much food, drinks, party ware to buy. Using regrets only might surprise you as you will have to guess or assume if every one is coming or no one is coming to your party.  Dress Code If appropriate attire is an issue with your party or specific attire is desired, such as a “White & Black Dress Party” “Theme Party”spell it out for guests or you might be surprised at what they choose to wear to your affair.

It is not always necessary to specify a dress code on formal invitations-the event should be the clue as to the appropriate attire, but “black tie preferred” or “white tie” or “theme party” can be included in small print at the bottom of invitations and will be appreciated by guests so they arrive appropriately attired.  PROOF READ!!! Once you have your invitation wording written down or typed, proof read, proof read, proof read!!

I can’t say it too many times. Proof read several times for spelling mistakes and/or forgotten information! It might be a good idea to have a friend read it to make sure it’s perfect!

Invitations: When, were, who and how.

When it comes to wording your invitations, it seems anything goes now days, but there are still some rules that should be followed.

All invitation phrasing is in the third person.
Use: Don’t use: 
…the birth of their son… …birth of our son
Smith & Co. invites you to their Smith & Co. invites your to our
Jane and Tom invite you to theirPlugins 0 Jane and Tom invite you to ourCalifornia.  A zip code is not needed to use on-line directions and is never needed on an invitation. Usually the zip code will be on the envelope as the return address.  No abbreviations: Example:  Monday or September.  Formal or wedding:
Example:  Four o’clock in the afternoon / Two Thousand Sixteen
Tip: The “o” and “c” in “o’clock” are never capitalized

Punctuation:  Example:  John and Sally invite you to join the fun. (leave off the period).

Children?, Mentioning Gifts, Where you’re Registered:    

It is socially incorrect to mention “no children allowed” or to mention gifts or where you are registered on invitations.  I have found that it is best to follow these rules on strict formal invitations such as black tie or wedding invitations, however, on informal invitations, anything goes and sometimes, the more information, the better.  When in doubt, you can inform your guests of any important details when they RSVP to the invitation.

When should you mail your invitations?

That depends. Traditionally, it is advised to send out invitations eight weeks before your event.

I can hear you screaming “Eight weeks!” 

I’ve found while this is a good idea with formal events and weddings, it is just not possible with most every-day events.  Many people say that they didn’t even think about having a party until 2-4 weeks before their event.

Obviously, the sooner you can notify your guests, the better, but don’t let this stress you out or prevent you from getting killer invitations at the last minute.  Anything goes and much is possible these days.

If you know you’re having a party for an event that is several months away, consider sending a “save the date”.  This is simply a notice to your guest list that you are planning an event for that date and to mark their calendars so they’ll be ready when the details follow by invitation closer to the party date when the details have been finalized.

Save the Date cards are almost a necessity for events taking place on holiday weekends, events that will require out of state travel for guests or a wedding to ensure vacations are not scheduled for the same time.

An important thing to remember is your RSVP date. When do you need to know the final count for the caterer, the bartender, to buy the party goods and decorations?

When printing your party invitations, give your guests enough time between the receipt of your invitation and the RSVP date to respond – at least a week is preferred.