Your invitation is your guest’s first window into your event, and it should match the theme and style of your party. This means formal invitations for a formal wedding, and casual invitations for a backyard get together. It should also get your guest excited about the event, which will make it more likely that they will attend.
There are plenty of rules to follow when writing and addressing your invitations, so I wanted to make it easier with a guide to wording, addressing and mailing party invitations. The following tips will help you from planning to mailing!
When to Send Your Invitation
- It is best to send your invitations out six-eight weeks before your event. This will give everyone enough time so they do not make other commitments for that day.
- If your party is more casual, don’t worry if you send the invites out closer to the party, 4 weeks is usually plenty for a casual get together.
- Save the date cards can be sent as much as 9 months in advance. Use save the date cards if you have many out of town guests to invite, or if your celebration falls on a holiday weekend.
What to Include in Your Invitation
- What the guest is being invited to - birthday party, a wedding, a theme party.
- Name of the guest of honor (if applicable) – the birthday boy/girl, the graduate.
- The Time, Day and Date of the party
- Name and Location of the Place where the event is being held
- Appropriate attire - beach attire for a luau or team colors for a super bowl party. (You should not do this on formal invitations though)
- RSVP information (phone number/email) and by what date you need by.
- Name of the hosts giving the party
Wording your Invitation
- All wording should be in the third person.
- Do not abbreviate. This includes names, dates, days, and addresses. Times and years should be spelled out on formal invitations. Titles like Doctor and Reverend should also be spelled out. The only exceptions are "Mr." and "Mrs."
- Punctuation is not necessary, except for a coma in the date and between the city and state of the event.
- When the invitation is a casual one, it is perfectly acceptable to bend these rules.
- It is socially incorrect to state "no children allowed" on an invitation. When addressing the invitation, address it only to the adults invited and they should take the hint.
- Do not make any mention of gifts on an invitation. The only exception to this rule is for shower invitations. List the theme of the gifts ("Kitchen", “Linens”) or where the guest of honor is registered, but NEVER make any mention of money. Never.
Addressing the Envelope
- For formal invitations, hand address envelopes in blue or black ink. You can print labels or envelopes to save time for informal events.
- Use the complete formal name and address (abbreviations like Mr., Mrs., Ms., Dr. or Jr. are fine to use) it the invitation is formal. First and last names are fine for casual parties.
- If there are children under 18, add their first names below and indented to their parents names. Adult children should receive separate invitations. For informal invitations you can always use “and family”.
- Your return address should not include an apostrophe. (The Smiths, not The Smith’s)
Stuffing the Envelope
- Insert the invitation into the envelope so the front of the invitation is facing the back flap of the envelope.
- If you are including an RSVP that must be mailed back to you, include postage.
- If you are including additional enclosures, stack them smallest to largest facing the back of the envelope.
- Proofread it, and then have someone else proofread it!
- Have the post office weigh the invitation and envelope to ensure you buy enough postage for it.
- If the invitation is formal or has enclosures that make the envelope lumpy, have the post office hand cancel the envelopes so they do not get dirty or bent going through a canceling machine.