Social Invitation Etiquette

Quick Tips on How to Invite People to Your Social Event

Invitation with string or pearls
Provide clear information on your event or party invitations. Dick Luria/Getty images

Are you planning an event that requires sending invitations? If so, these tips might help you with the wording and tone. Whether it's a formal dinner party that requires people to dress up in their finest duds or wear jeans to an outdoor children's birthday party, you'll need to follow a few simple guidelines.

Basic Information for All Invitations

There are some things that all invitations should include.

You'll want to let your guests know the purpose of the event (if there is one), the time (start and end), the place, special instructions (for example, costume party), and style (formal or casual). You should also ask your guests to RSVP so you are better able to plan.

Here are some other things you may want to include:

  • Whether or not your guest may bring someone else
  • Special instructions specific to the event (i.e., flashlight for a children's nighttime spotlight tag game)
  • If it's a children's party, whether or not you want the parents to stick around or drop off their child
  • Type of food being served in case of allergies
  • Request for allergy or food sensitivity information
  • Dress code

 

Formal Event Invitations

For a formal event, you want the invitation to match the tone. This is why many people will have them engraved or handwrite them. You may or may not use formal wording.

Here is an example:

Elizabeth Jewell and Gabriella Daniels
request the pleasure of Judith Walker's company
at dinner
on Saturday, February eighteenth
at seven o'clock
7 Evenstar Place
123-555-1111

The above example uses a formal tone. However, if you are more comfortable with "invite you to" rather than "request the pleasure of," that's fine.

Casual Event Invitations

When inviting someone to a casual get-together, you may choose a more conversational tone. Another option is to state the facts. Whichever you choose, you'll want the same basic information.

Here is an example of a casual invitation:

Hazel is turning eight, so come and celebrate with us!
Where: Bounce-and-Jump Trampoline Center at 123 Main Street
When: Saturday, February 18
Time: 2-4 PM
Wear comfortable clothes and socks
Phone: 123-555-1111
Please RSVP by Thursday, February 16
We hope to see you there!

What Not to Include on the Invitation

You don't need to include anything other than what is listed above on the invitation. However, if you don't want to receive gifts, You may use a simple statement such as "No gifts, please," or "In lieu of a gift, please donate to the local animal shelter." Or if the event is a fundraiser, you may state that.

Although many brides and grooms like to include the name of their gift registries on the invitation, it isn't the proper thing to do. Instead, you may ask a close friend or relative to provide that information separately. Never ask for money in the invitation because it's crass and can be very off-putting.

Before Sending the Invitation

Check your guest list. You need to make sure you have enough invitations and a few extras. After all, someone from your original list may not be able to attend, giving you a spot for someone else you would like to invite.

Whether you use professionally printed invitations or you handwrite them yourself, make sure you proofread them before you put them in the mail or hand deliver them. That is quite a bit easier than having to call everyone after they are mailed to change something.

When You Receive an Invitation

Remember that not everyone knows the proper etiquette of sending an invitation, so don't get too upset if you receive one that doesn't follow these guidelines. Maintain a positive attitude when you send the RSVP to accept or decline the invitation. If you go, forget about the host's faux pas and have fun.

 

Edited by Debby Mayne