Throwing a party in the near future… say, for St. Patrick’s Day or a big birthday bash? Is it the kind of event for which you need a head-count beforehand so you can plan accordingly? Then remember to send a good ol’ fashioned Invitation. Yes, the rules are different for informal versus formal, and here I’ll only discuss informal. If you use a professional printer for formal invites, they will guide you appropriately based on your event.
When preparing any invitation, be sure to:
- Always name the occasion whether it’s a birthday, anniversary, open house or whatever.
- Give the day of the week, month, day, and year as well as a.m. or p.m.
- Provide the address. If applicable, include written directions or a map if there’s even a slight chance that someone on your list does not have access to the Internet or GPS.
- Mention refreshments or meals, if appropriate. “BYOB” or “Hors d’oeuvres provided”.
- Mention if there is a cover charge, say for a fundraiser.
- Specify you need a response by adding “R.S.V.P”, “Please respond” or “Regrets only” and the date you require a response.
- Include contact information for responses or questions.
- State the dress code even if it’s mildly important! Whether it’s casual or costume, people want to know.
- Include additional information, if applicable, such as parking or “In case of rain…”
- Skip the phrase “request the honour of your presence” because this is actually reserved for wedding invitations. However, “requests the pleasure of your company” is suitable for all others.
- Invitations are always issued by the host or hosts whether it’s Mr. and Mrs. John W. Doe or John and Jane Doe or friends Jane Doe and Mary Jones or even a group like for a high school reunion.
- Address a woman in an informal invitation by the name she prefers to use, which could be her married name, business name or birth name.
- It’s good manners to mail invitations to an important event (like a wedding) involving out-of-town guests as early as 6 months ahead to allow time to make appropriate arrangements.
“A balanced guest list of mixed elements is to a successful party what the seasoning is to a culinary triumph.” ~ Letitia Baldrige