May 20, 2009

Party Invitation Etiquette

How far in advance should invitations be extended for an informal party?

For an informal party, 2 – 3 weeks prior to the event date is an ideal time to send the invitation. If you live in a big city, three weeks is a better rule of thumb.

How far in advance should invitations be sent for a formal dinner?

For a formal dinner, it is best to send invitations 6 – 8 weeks in advance.

How is the best way to word a party invitation if there is more than one host for an event?

On a corporate event invitation, it is best to list the host names by rank with the CEO’s name first. If it is a more informal party like a birthday soiree or a bridal shower, it is best to list alphabetically by last name.

What about a social situation, bridesmaids throwing a shower, for example. Is that alphabetical as well?

If it is at someone’s home, it is best to list that person first. Otherwise, you would list the hosts alphabetically.

Is there a certain way the date and the time should be written on a party invitation?

It doesn’t matter as much on an informal party invitation, but it is best to spell out the time on invitations for formal events like weddings, anniversary parties and corporate meetings. For example, you would write “two o’clock” instead of 2 p.m.

What about for dates, we have an awful lot of questions about how to correctly word the date?

It is a good idea to include the day of the week and to write out the month. The year is usually unnecessary, unless you are sending out a save the date announcement a year in advance. Here is an example:

Wednesday, May 15th

Is it rude to put an end time on an invitation?

No, in fact, it can be very helpful. By putting an end time on the invitation, your guests will be able to plan out the remainder of their day. They will also know how long they will need to reserve a babysitter.

I'm unsure about whether to use RSVP or regrets only on my invitation. Which do you recommend?

An RSVP is the best option. If people are not planning to attend your event, the chances are that they are not going to be motivated to call and let you know their intentions. However, when guests are excited about attending an event, they want to make sure they have a spot and that you can plan for them. This is why we recommend an RSVP.