In our digitally enabled, hyper-casual culture, it could be easy to think that inviting people to a gathering or event you’re hosting should be as simple as dashing off a text. But to really show your friends and family that you think they’re special — and to display the proper etiquette — it’s essential to put a little bit more thought into your invitations.

And let’s start with the correct terminology. It’s tempting to abbreviate the word and say you’re sending someone an “invite.” But “invite” is a verb. As in, to ‘invite’ people to your event. An “invitation” is a noun and is the message you send in order to “invite” people to your event. Even the little things like the proper usage of “invite” and “invitation” are great ways to show you care about proper etiquette and manners.

Weddings and Formal Events

The invitation you send delivers a message about the type of event you’re hosting. So, if you’re sending invitations to a wedding, graduation, anniversary party or another special or formal event, it makes sense to send an invitation printed on some beautiful, good-quality card stock. The language on these types of invitation should be more formal as well. It’s not inconceivable to write something along the lines of:

Lady holding an invitation envelope.

Dan Armstrong and Tonya Mullen

Request the pleasure of your company at

Our Engagement Party and Reception

On Saturday, June 8, 2017

At Seven o’clock

123 Main Street

RSVP (555) 555-1212

A message such as this really helps set the tone for your formal event, and lets your guests know what to expect.

An invitation to a formal event like a wedding should be sent out at least six weeks before the event, to allow your guests enough time to plan. Though it’s not necessary to send a “Save the Date” notice, it’s acceptable to send one up to four months before the wedding. Be sure to use the same message format for the “Save the Date” notice as in the actual invitation.

As for what to leave off a wedding invitation, it isn’t proper to include your gift registry information…if you have one. Also, don’t ever ask for money in your wedding invitation. That’s a big etiquette faux pas!

Informal Events

Of course, if you’re hosting a more casual event, it’s perfectly acceptable to send out an invitation on a social platform like Facebook or Evite, or via email. And it’s OK to have a little more fun with these. Maybe you could write something like:

Dan is turning 40! Come celebrate with us!

WHERE: Tom’s Pub, 123 Main Street

WHEN: Saturday, July 8,

TIME: 8-11 PM

PHONE: 555-555-1212

Please RSVP by Thursday, May 29!

See you there!

When you receive an invitation

So…you’ve been invited to a party or event. That’s wonderful! First thing’s first: check your calendar. Are you available to go? Second, check your feelings: do you want to go? Did you say yes to both? Great! Then it’s time to respond.

RSVP stands for. Réspondez s’il vous plait … or, “respond please.”

And it’s important to respond promptly to let the hosts know whether you can make it or not, so they can plan properly. This is especially important for events like weddings, where the hosts may need to budget the event for the number of guests.

To offer the best invitation etiquette, you should reply within 48 hours of receiving your invitation, letting the hosts know if you will be attending or not. The mode of your response should mirror the mode of invitation. For example, if you were sent a beautifully printed invitation, send back a response on personal stationery, or on the card provided in the envelope. If you were invited via phone, social media, email, or text, then it’s fine to respond via the same means.

Now that you know all the proper etiquette, we INVITE you to use it to your best advantage when you’re sending or receiving INVITATIONS to special events and gatherings!

If you’d like to learn more about how to have impeccable etiquette in any social situation, be sure to explore our etiquette courses and sign up for one today!