Wording your party invitations is pretty simple and straightforward, right? I mean, all you have to do is tell guests when and where to turn up. That can't be all that difficult. Can it?
Well, no, not really. Until you sit down to actually nut out the details, and get stumped. Even worse, you successfully get your invitations printed, or even handed out, only to discover that you forgot to add an important detail, such as your RSVP info. And you wondered why you were low on replies. Oops.
To prevent such an invitation fail, in this post we've got some great suggestions for wording your party invitations and what info to include. These tips apply for any type of invitation that you wish to use - printed or digital. So let's get going!
Get the Invite Right
Your party invitations are the first impression of your celebration, so it is best that they match your party in style and theme. This is because invitations not only provide party guests with the necessary details of your party, but they also offer them a hint of what is to come. A sneak peek, so to speak.
So, which details should you include on your invitations? Some of our suggestions may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised at what you can leave out by accident!
The day, date and start time of your party are most obvious, but if you have an end time to your party, be sure to include that as well.
Examples of setting this out are:
Saturday 5th November, 2-5pm
Or for a drop-off party, you could use the following:
Parents are welcome to drop off their child at 3pm, and pick them up at 5pm
If your party is more relaxed with an open-door setting, you could word your invitation like this:
Swing by between 10.00am and 2.00pm
We’ll be serving cake at midday
It is best to include the address of your party venue, even if it is being held at home. Most of the guests may know where you live, but better to be safe than sorry, right?
If the party is at a venue outside of your home, be sure to include the name and address, to make it easier for your guests to find.
If your party involves a particular activity, theme, or costume requirement, be sure to
include that information on the invite so the guests/guests' parents all know what’s involved on the day of the party.
Also remember to name the guest of honour e.g. Lachlan’s 9th Birthday Bash!
You may also wish to include the name/s of the host or hosts.
What to Bring
If your party guests are required to bring any items with them, this information should also be included on the invitation.
For example, for a pool party, guests may be required to bring their swimsuit, a towel and sunscreen. Or for a party with a bouncy castle, kids may need to bring a pair of socks to wear.
However, it is not a good practice to ask guests to bring any supplies, other than personal items or a costume.
As the host, it’s all on you to provide materials for your party guests.
What to Wear
If this is appropriate to your party theme, you may include what your guests should wear.
For example, beach attire for a luau or team colors for a sporting party.
Set an RSVP date that gives your invited guests enough time to respond, and for you to plan your numbers.
Remember to include your preferred contact details for their reply. Usually a mobile
number or email address is best, to make it easy for people to get in touch with you.
To avoid any confusion, you may want to include a quick note on the invitation in regards to the food that you plan to serve, such as whether you are serving snacks only, or a meal.
You would hate to prepare a 3-course meal only to have your guests arrive having already eaten! Don’t assume that your guests will know what you intend to serve based on your party time.
Some examples could include:
Lunch will be provided for the kids
Afternoon tea and cake will be served
Including your gift suggestions in your invitation takes the guesswork out of gift buying for your party guests (gee, thanks for that!). But if you are considering making a gift suggestion, tread very carefully indeed. It’s impolite to mention gifts on an invitation.
It is very easy to offend people or make them feel uncomfortable by making gift requests, especially on behalf of a child.
If you intend to use a gift registry for your party, be prepared. While registries are the norm for weddings, showers and engagements, using a gift registry for your child’s party or even an adult's birthday party, may be interpreted as presumptuous.
Guests may ask about gifts, which makes it easy. But if they don’t raise the issue, then it is best that you don’t either. And it is best to avoid asking for money as a gift, unless a guest offers.
If you really do want to include a gift suggestion on your invitation, we suggest wording it as the example below:
Mackenzie would love to receive a copy of your favourite storybook
If you don’t wish to receive any gifts, you can be confident in saying so on the invitation. Below are some examples of suitable wording:
Your presence is all the presents Lachlan needs
In lieu of gifts, please consider a donation to our chosen charity, the Cancer Council
If you take this option, be prepared for some guests still bringing a gift.
There may be times when you wish to include further information with your invitations.
You may want to add directions to your venue, or a personalised note to introduce yourself to kids and parents whom you have not met.
There are some situations in which parents of your invited kids may feel a bit nervous about their child attending your party, particularly if your families have not met (after all, they’re leaving their child in the hands of perfect strangers). For example, this is their child’s first sleepover or field trip.
In this scenario, you may like to include an extra note with your invitation, telling parents that you are happy to chat with them and answer any questions that they may have.
Wording it Well
If you’re unsure of how to set up the wording for your invitation, we have some ideas and guidelines to help, below:
- It is best written in the third person. That is, writing from the third-person point of view, or outsider looking in, and using pronouns like he, she, it, or they.
- You can abbreviate names, but addresses are best in full.
- Punctuation is not imperative in casual invites, but optional
- Get someone to proofread your invitation to check all details are correct
Addressing Your Invitations
For casual events such as a birthday party, the rules on addressing envelopes are fairly fluid. You can opt for printed envelopes, printed labels or choose to hand address envelopes - it is entirely up to you.
You can choose to use your guests’ titles, but it is not necessary for a casual party -
addressing envelopes using first and last names is quite suitable.
For an informal party you can simply address the envelope to the family, if all members are invited.
In this case, it is best to avoid using apostrophes in family names e.g. The Fergusons (which is plural) rather than The Ferguson’s (which is possessive). Alternatively, just use The Ferguson Family.
Stuff it Good
Even with an informal party, it is nice to get the little details right. We’ve got a few tips here for filling your envelopes perfectly!
- Place the invitations into their envelopes so that the front of the invitation faces the back flap of the envelope.
- If you are including an RSVP card that must be returned by mail, it is polite to also include the postage for your guests.
- If you have any additional notes or other items to include, it looks nice when they are stacked smallest to largest, facing the back of the envelope.
It's a Date
Save the Dates are popular for big events such as weddings and engagements. Whilst they are not necessary for other parties, if you really want to get the word out early to ensure that your guests can make it, you can. Save the dates can be sent out as early as 3 months in advance.
But save-the-date cards are an extra expense that you don’t need. We recommend
getting the word out electronically. Sharing your date via social media, email or text is a great solution.
So, hopefully we've helped you to iron out some of your party invitation wrinkles, and now you're all set to get your invitations organised and spread the word about your next celebration!
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We wish you Happy Partying!