Invitations are the very gateways to special moments in our lives. They set the tone, build anticipation, and begin the process of creating lasting memories. Whether it’s a birthday celebration, a wedding, or a formal holiday party, understanding invitation etiquette is essential to ensure that these occasions come off without a hitch. In this guide, we’ll explore the essential aspects of invitation etiquette, from style and wording through RSVPs and the art of saying thank you. And be sure to explore Shutterfly’s entire range of invitations for every occasion, whether for baby showers, graduation ceremonies, or anniversary parties.
Every invitation begins with the essential information that sets the stage for the event. This includes the who, what, where, when, and why. Make sure your invitations clearly state:
The Hosts: The names of the hosts should be prominently featured. Whether it’s a single person, a couple, or a group, this helps guests understand who is extending the invitation.
- The Occasion: Specify the purpose of the event, whether it’s a birthday party, a wedding, a baby shower, a Christmas party, or any other celebration.
- Date and Time: Clearly state the date and time of the event. Use standard time formats to avoid any confusion.
- Location: Provide the complete address, including the venue name and street address. For virtual events, include the online meeting details or platform link.
- RSVP Information: Indicate how and by when guests should RSVP. This is crucial for planning purposes.
Style: Formal & Casual Invitations
Invitations come in as many styles as the events they announce, reflecting the formality and tone of those gatherings. Understanding the distinction between formal and casual invitation wording and style is vital:
Formal invitations are typically reserved for black-tie events, weddings, galas, and other prestigious occasions. Like these events, the invitations themselves exude elegance and sophistication. Here’s what to keep in mind:
Language: Use formal language and proper titles. For example, “Mr. and Mrs. John Smith request the honor of your presence.”
- Design: Opt for high-end paper like Shutterfly’s Luxe, Double-Thick Cardstock (easy to select when you choose your card design), classic fonts, and subdued colors. Foil accenting can add an extra touch of sophistication.
- Response Cards: Include response cards with pre-addressed envelopes for guests to RSVP.
Casual invitations are best for informal or relaxed gatherings, such as many birthday parties, picnics, and get-togethers with friends. They allow for a more informal tone:
Language: Use a friendly and conversational tone. For instance, “Join us Saturday for a BBQ to celebrate Tom’s birthday!”
- Design: Feel free to get creative with design choices, colors, and fonts. Casual invitations can reflect the theme or personality of the event.
- RSVP: Specify how guests should RSVP, whether it’s by phone, email, or an online RSVP form.
Ordering Extra Invitations
When ordering invitations, it’s wise to order some extra copies. This ensures you have spares in case of errors or additional guests. A good rule of thumb is to order at least 10% more invitations than your guest list. It’s always better to have extras than to scramble for replacements at the last minute.
When To Mail
Timing is crucial when it comes to mailing invitations, and the timing varies to some degree depending upon the type of event. Wedding Invitations, for instance, are best mailed 6-8 weeks before the wedding date. For destination weddings, send them 2-3 months in advance. For many other events, it’s best to send your invites 4-6 weeks before the event to give guests ample time to plan.
Thank You Notes
The etiquette of receiving gifts and expressing gratitude is just as important as sending invitations. After your event, promptly send thank you notes to show your appreciation for the attendees’ presence and any gifts they may have brought. Personalize each note with a heartfelt message.
Receiving Invitations & RSVPs
If you happen to be on the receiving end of invitations, here are some important points to remember:
RSVP Promptly: Respond to invitations by the requested date, even if it’s to decline. This helps the host with planning.
- Plus Ones: If the invitation does not explicitly state that you can bring a guest, assume it’s for you alone. If you’re unsure, ask the host for clarification.
- Attire: Pay attention to the dress code mentioned in the invitation. Dress appropriately for the occasion.
- Gifts: If you’re attending a celebration, it’s customary to bring a gift. Check the registry or ask the host for gift suggestions.
A Paean To Invitations
More than just pieces of paper, invitations represent special moments in one’s life. By following these etiquette guidelines, you can ensure that your invitations are received and appreciated with the same warmth and enthusiasm with which they are sent, making every occasion a memorable one for both hosts and guests alike. Check out these helpful guides on etiquette for particular varieties of events: