Party Invitation Etiquette

Your party or special event begins with your invitation! A thoughtfully planned invitation creates appreciation from the honoree(s) and excitement for the invited guests. When planning your next special occasion, keep these thoughts in mind.

Casual Invitations

  • A casual gathering is often attended by friends, family or coworkers and does not require as formal an invitation.
  • Ink colors may be more playful on a casual invitation. Do, however, choose darker ink colors for text that will be easily readable.
  • Be sure to include all helpful information such as the day of the week as well as the date. It is easy to arrive a day early or a day late when only the date is mentioned!
  • Do list the location of the party. This makes directions, especially by GPS, much easier to access.
  • Some experts say that a gift registry should never be listed on an invitation while others say that for more casual parties, registry information is appreciated.
  • It is not generally accepted for casual or formal parties to state that “no children are allowed”. Most people can tell by the addressing on the invitation itself if the entire family is invited or whether it is limited to adults.
  • Casual party invitations may be mailed 6-8 weeks before the event especially if the guests are all in town.
  • Casual invitations may use first person such as “please come to our celebration” as opposed to the third person used in more formal invitations when “please come to their celebration” would be more appropriate.
  • We recommend to order 10-25 invitations more than you think you need. Too often there is a need for more invitations than you had planned so be prepared to save time and money for a reprinting.
  • Hand addressing your invitations, whether they are casual or formal, insures your invitation will not have the appearance of a “mail out” and possibly be disposed of before being opened!
  • Finally, remember that the invitation you send is a personal reflection of your special gathering!

Formal Invitations

Formal events require formal invitations that set the mood for very special occassions such as weddings, retirements or other once in a life time celebrations! Keep these thoughts in mind when planning your formal invitation.

  • Abbreviations are not used in formal invitations except for Mr. and Mrs. All other words are spelled out as well as addresses, dates, times and the year.
  • Beautiful scripts are a delight to use on formal invitations and indicate the style of your gathering.
  • Ink colors should be formal. Black, charcoal or chocolate are the most formal.
  • Never say that children are not allowed at formal gatherings such as a wedding. If it is far better to let your most tactful friends spread that sensitive information for you.
  • Formal invitations, as for a wedding, do not list registries. You may put an “at home address” on your wedding invitation or you may choose to show it on your return address instead.
  • Some experts recommend hosts/hostesses for a business event listed in order of their rank, while hosts/hostesses for other specai gatherings are listed in alphabetical order.
  • Formal invitations often require much planning for the guests as well as those planning and giving the event. Do be thoughtful and send invitations out 6-8 weeks in advance of the wedding or other very special occasion.
  • Formal occassions often will include many more people than friend and family casual gatherings. Be sure to order 25-50 more invitations than you think you will need. Not only will you find yourself adding to the guest list but you will be pleased to have the extras as mementos for family members.
  • Often a host might request that the guests rsvp by a certain date due to accommodation or restaurant reservations, etc. Normally 2-3 weeks before the party date is sufficient time to note this in the invitation.


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