Invitation Etiquette

Invitation Etiquette

An invitation announces and celebrates the milestones of life. Whether it’s a wedding, baby shower, graduation, birthday, anniversary or a new home, our joy would not be complete without others. The affair may be formal or informal, but the invitation is the vehicle through which we communicate the happy news. An invitation comes in many forms, but it must always include the 4 W’s.

  •  Who is hosting the event?
  •  What is the purpose of the event?
  •  When will the event be held?
  •  Where will the event be held?

An invitation should also include what the guest should wear and how to notify the host if he or she can attend (R.S.V.P.).

What should not be printed on an invitation? Gift registration and driving directions. This may be included on a separate slip of paper or on a website.

When should an invitation be sent? Invitations should be mailed out two to eight weeks prior to an event. You want your guests to have plenty of time to make necessary arrangements and not to feel like a last-minute addition. Casual events require less notice than formal events.

What is the correct way to extend an invitation? It depends on the event. A very formal event requires an engraved invitation sent out several weeks in advance. Inviting someone to an informal dinner party may be done by telephone or email. Events such as baby showers and birthday parties may be communicated with a simple written invitation sent by mail, or through an online service. Just remember that the invitation, along with all the necessary details, sets the stage and tone for the event.

Whom should you invite? Only invite those that you have close a relationship with, or those who have a reason to attend. When hosting a birthday party for a younger child, limit the number of guests to the age of the child.

Who may attend? Those whose names appear on the invitation. Never bring someone who was not included in the invitation. And, if you said you would attend, do not be a ‘no show’.

What about gifts? Receiving an invitation does not require you to purchase a gift. Let the host know you are unable to attend and send a card reflecting the celebration. If you would like to send a gift, you may, but it is not required. If you do attend, don’t go empty handed. Select and wrap an appropriate gift. You are not required to purchase something from a gift registry. Gift registries are to guide you in your selection; they are not a “shopping list” you must adhere to. Gifts should reflect your relationship and the occasion.

Thank you! Never neglect sending a written thank-you note for a gift received. Not doing so will certainly land you in the etiquette hall of shame!

©2013 What Would Mrs King Do? If you would like to use this article in your newsletter or blog, you may do so. Please include our credit information: Written by Deborah King, What Would Mrs King Do? © Copyright 2013. I would also appreciate it if you would send us a copy for our files to mrsking@whatwouldmrskingdo.com.

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