How to Write an Invitation that Will Actually Get Answered (and samples to get started!)

So you’re throwing a party?! Whoo hoo! Choosing the right invitation and wording it properly can set the tone for the entire shin-dig, and even influence your turn-out. To help you pack the house, clearly outline all the details guests will need on the actual invite, making it as easy as possible for them to say “yes”.

Formatting an Invitation

Sometimes even the most verbose of us are at a loss for words. So we’ve provided some guidelines on what information to include. Add your own personal flair to get the party started!

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Invitation Basics

Determine what kind of event you are hosting on a casual to formal scale. Our invitations and announcements are perfect for a casual to semi-casual fête. Your personal wording should reflect the nature of the party. Then follow the old “who, what, where, when and why” rule of thumb, only not necessarily in that order. Imagine yourself standing face-to-face with an invitee — in what order would you normally give the information in a casual conversation?

The Rules

We’re all for bucking tradition, but there are some standards we will discuss here.

Gifts or no gifts

For many parties (i.e. birthdays) gifts are generally implied without needing to call it out on the invitation. It is always acceptable to state "no gifts" on your invites, but the situation will dictate when you should list registry information on invites. For weddings, even second nuptials or beyond, it is never appropriate to put registry information on the invitation. For showers you may discretely include cards from registry stores that guests can select from, or list if gifts should fit a theme (e.g. a hardware shower for the groom, a lingerie shower for the bride, or a book shower for baby). And never ever, under any circumstance, ask for money on an invite.

Mailing timeframe

Pull out your calendar for this one. First, the scale of the party will help dictate the lead-time necessary, as well as whether guests are coming from far away. For a wedding, or ball, where travel plans or specific wardrobes might need to be arranged, the more advance notice, the better. Then consider the surrounding dates. Does it fall near a holiday weekend, or big event? If you're hosting a party on a bowl game weekend, more notice will improve your turn-out. Even for a casual children's birthday, mail your invitations so they arrive no less than 2 weeks before your event date.

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Children’s parties

You will most definitely want to put a start and ending time on any party involving children. Not only do parents need to know when to pick up older kids, it's a savvy mom who keeps the party short and sweet. Keep young guests lists at a manageable level - experts recommend one attendee per year of the child. Expert mommies recommend four hours or less. Because there’s nothing worse than watching the guest-of-honor have a melt-down.

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Thank yous

As the host, be prepared to send out a thank you or two after the party. A short note to thank guests who went above and beyond normal helper mode may be in order.

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Sample Invitation Wording

When wording invitations, the possibilities are endless. It all depends on the unique event and the personality of the honoree and host. Here are a few basic samples to help get you started:

Formal Generic Function

You are cordially invited
to a celebratory dinner honoring
fifty years of marriage of
Dale and Naomi Wilson

Friday, the tenth of April
Seven o’clock in the evening

Grotto Ristorante
4715 Westheimer
Houston, Texas
No gifts, please.

RSVP 713-555-1212 by the sixth of April

Informal Generic Function

It’s a Baby Shower
for Jen Duley and baby girl Duley!

Saturday, July 15
2 pm – 6 pm
2435 Goodwin Lane
New Braunfels, Texas

Hosted by
Johanna Martini and Nydia Perez

OR call Johanna at 210-555-1212

Sample Wedding Shower Invitation

Paula Marcus
Joe Jamison
are tying the knot!
Come celebrate the couple
with us at a
kitchen shower and pizza party

We’ll stock their new kitchen with
gourmet goodies and chow on
Joe’s famous brick oven pizza!

Saturday, July 25
5 pm – 10 pm

2435 Goodwin Lane
New Braunfels, Texas

Please respond by Friday, July 24
Michelle Santos 830-555-1212

Sample Child’s Birthday Invitation

Little Lily’s turning two
and she wants to celebrate with you!

Sunday, November 12
2 – 5 pm

2435 Goodwin Lane
New Braunfels, Texas

Dress for fun and crafts!
We’re going to get creative!

RSVP to Liz Williams

Sample Rehearsal Dinner Invitation

Grayce and John Smith
cordially invite you to a
Rehearsal Dinner
on the eve of the wedding of
Glenn Smith
Kristine Wilson

Friday, April 7
7 pm

The Wendeltrap
2301 Strand
Galveston, Texas

Regrets only

Sample Baby Announcement

It’s a Boy!

Alyssa and Jeremy Hines
proudly announce
the arrival of
Brando Vincenzio Hines

August 12th
5:38 am
7 lbs. 8 oz.
22 inches

Kyle, Texas