Tips for Writing the Perfect Invitation
When writing the wording for your invitation, it is important to make sure you include all of the pertinent details. You may want to use the following as a guide or checklist and include the information that you feel your guests should know:
In addition to the optional "cute", "catchy" or "fun" verse, poem, or introductory wording (don't worry- we're here to help you with that part), you should at least consider, if not include, all of the following:
- A reference as to the type of party/shower you are having. For instance... a surprise birthday party, couples' baby shower, potluck dinner, luncheon, etc... so that guests will know in advance what to expect or whether they should keep it hush-hush. You can't expect guests to keep a party a secret if you don't tell them it is a surprise!
- The name of the guest(s) of honor. You should include the last name except in rare instances such as a very small, intimate party with only very close friends and family. You may be surprised at the numbers of people your guests may know that may have the same first name!
- The date of the party/shower. It is courteous to include the day of the week, as well as the date, as it helps people to put the event on their mental calendars. Let's face it- not everyone uses Outlook or has a DayTimer.
- The time of the party/shower. It is not necessary to have an ending time given unless you plan to kick everyone out at the specified time or if you need to have everyone stay until the end to participate in a particular activity. By putting an ending time on your invitation, you may give guests the expectation that they have to stay until the end and you may end up excluding guests who might be able to come for a short time but wouldn't be able to stay until the official "ending time".
- The location/address of where the party/shower is being held. If the party is being held at the hostess' home, don't feel compelled to have to include her name or something to the effect of "at Shelly's House", unless you think that may influence guests' decisions on whether to attend. The address should be sufficient in getting people there. If the party is being held at a restaurant, private club, or other public location, you should definitely include the name of the place so they know what to look for. Should you include the zip code? We get this question a lot and it is completely up to you. If you think you may have a lot of people using MapQuest or Yahoo Maps to get directions, having the zip code is a plus, but not absolutely necessary to look up the address. And if the party is made up of close friends who already likely know the location, including the zip code just seems silly.
- Should you include the host(s) name(s)? We tend to see 50/50 on this one. Some people feel that including a "hosted by" or "given by" line is a way of letting everyone know who to thank for such a wonderful shower. If you want an extra pat on the back for a job well done, by all means include it. If it doesn't matter to you, then you can leave it out. The guest(s)-of-honor will know who hosted the party, even if it isn't on the invitation, and that's what's important!
- RSVP information. People seem to be all over the board on this one. We've seen RSVP requests with a specific date, RSVPs of regrets only, right down to no RSVPs at all. If you're planning on purchasing favors or if your food is being catered (or even if it's not), it's usually nice to have at least an idea as to how many guests may be coming. You'll want to know ahead of time if you have to borrow your neighbors folding chairs! If you have guests RSVP, you'll get a pretty accurate count and you can call guests that haven't contacted you. "Regrets only" rely on the assumption that guests are good about responding in advance and of course we all know that they're not. So if you want a good headcount, be specific in your request for a response. Better yet- demand one. *On a side note... we consistently see wording requests that ask people to Please RSVP. As cold and boring as RSVP sounds, it is actually a French abbreviation for what roughly translates into English as "Respond If You Please" or "Please Respond". To ask someone to Please respond if you please just doesn't make sense. You may want to leave out the word "Please" to avoid being redundant. If you must be overly nice and don't want to sound like you're begging, simply replace it with something like "Kindly RSVP".
- Registry information. There is a lot of debate over this one so we'll give you our two cents (since we love to do it so much). Never, ever, ever, (did we say ever?) put registry information on a wedding invitation. No matter how informal your wedding may be, it is a big no-no, not to mention incredibly tacky. I shiver at the thought! Wedding invitations are an invitation from the couple to have a friend or family's support and love, not their gifts (even though you may be crossing your fingers that Uncle Larry sends you a big fat check). Showers are a completely different story. A shower is given the name "shower" because in essence, the guests are "showering" the guest-of-honor with gifts. Gifts are to be expected at a shower- that's the whole point. Without gifts, calling it a shower would be kind of stupid. Also, guests are invited to a shower by the host, not the guest-of-honor, so requesting gifts is okay. Unless you want to field tons of phone calls asking where the guest-of-honor is registered, it might save you the headache if you just include it on the invitation. No need to include registry numbers, with computers and the internet, a name is all that's needed to locate someone's gift list. And don't request gifts for birthday parties either. It isn't a shower, so believe it or not, presents are not necessary. Just don't try to tell your three-year-old that!
- Additional information. Yes, add it if it is important, but try not to overdo it. If you want people to come to your Halloween Party in costume, by all means, ask them or even tell them they have to. If you'd like guests to bring baby diapers for a shower raffle, it would certainly help if you let them know. Just remember that when you're wording your invitation, you're not writing your memoirs. Try to be as concise as possible and you'll make everyone, (including our designers & proofing staff) very happy. :o)