Party Invitation Basics
A party invitation can come in many shapes and sizes. Whether the invitation is a message in a bottle, an elaborate scroll, a simple drawing made by a child or an email invite, there should be at least few essential elements on it to convey the party details. Here are some of the information you may want to include on the invitation. Not all are required and the below list is given just as a checklist and example.
Everyone loves to celebrate a special occasion. Whether a birthday party, baby shower, wedding or halloween party, etc. When inviting guests to your celebration, indicate on the invitation what occasion you are celebrating. If it is a surprise party for the Guest of Honor, indicate so, so that guests will not accidentally spoil the surprise and will know to arrive promptly before the Guest of Honor does.
Let guests know what time the party will start and when the party is over. If you are on a time constraint, ask guests to arrive promptly. Sample wording you may use are e.g., "Please arrive promptly", "Please arrive on time", or "The party will start at 3:00 pm sharp".
Indicate where the celebration will occur. Write down the address and if guests are not familiar with the location, include a detailed map with clear directions and landmarks. If the party is going to be at a function hall, restaurant, party place, etc. and if there is a website available, include the web site address in the invitation. Use online resources like bGoogle, Yahoo or Mapquest to figure out directions and time travel required.
RSVP is the French acronym for "Repondez s'il vous plait" or, in plain English, "Please reply". When this is written on a party invitation it means that you should call or write your host within a day or two of receiving an invitation to let him (or her) know if you can attend or not. All invitations should have some sort of a reply mechanism included - via an enclosed card, a phone number, an email address or a mailing address. A prompt reply is a basic courtesy. On the invitation, you can write e.g. "RSVP by Jan 9, 2009", if you want invitees to respond by a certain date. Sometimes, you can have guests RSVP only if they will not be coming. In that case, indicate on the invitation "RSVP Regrets Only".
If guests need to come dressed for the occasion, indicate so on the invitation. Perhaps it is a dress-up party, a New Year black tie, or a Hawaiian Luau, a Mad hatter, etc. let guests know in advance so they can come dressed for the occasion.
6. What To Bring.
If you require guests to bring a specific item, like a dish for a potluck party, a gift for a bridal shower, money for charity, sleeping bags for a sleepover, etc. indicate that on the party invitation.
7. Additional Guests.
If you are asking invitees to bring an extra guest, indicate that on the invitation. You can write e.g. "Bring a friend", "Bring a significant other", etc. Indicate on the invitation to let the host know at the time they RSVP how many people will be coming to the party.
Ask your guests whether there are any allergies, especially if it is a children's party. Sometimes kids are dropped off at parties so it is important to know before hand whether there are any allergies or special precautions to be taken in case of an allergic reaction.
9. Special Diet and Cuisine.
If you will be serving a special cuisine, delicacies or for example, ethnic foods, let guests know in advance. Sometimes due to religious, health reasons or just personal preference, guests may be on a restricted diet or not able to eat the food that will be served. This way perhaps compromises can be made before hand.
10. Cost Requirement.
If the party has a cost associated with it and you require each person to pay for their attendance in advance, indicate that on the invitation. Sometimes parties that are catered require up front payment and commitment. Sample wording e.g.: "Cost is $15 per person, includes drinks and food", "Cost is $45 per person, all inclusive food, open bar and DJ", etc. help make it clear what is included in the cost and let guests know what to expect.