You’ve been planning your event for some time and can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. Now is a good time to think about sending out an event invitation to your guests.
Read this guide to learn why event invitations are important, how to write them, and when to send them out.
1. What is an event invitation?
The answer might seem obvious, but there’s more to event invitations than you’d think. What counts as an invite for a casual event won’t cut it for a formal one.
So what’s appropriate?
Should you grab a fountain pen and write a personalised invitation on a handcrafted letter? Or is it enough to just tag people on Facebook?
Your invite should reflect the theme of the event. It should do more than just inform people of the practical details. It should be a part of the event itself by building excitement ahead of time.
So whether you opt for a mailed paper invite or a quick electronic message, it has to match the general theme of the event.
2. The different types of event invitations
The format of the event invitation is important because it can impact your recipients’ response rates, as well as their impression of your event. Let’s look at the three kinds of event invitations.
Written invitations are traditionally issued for very exclusive events, such as weddings, galas, and formal dinners.
They require time, money, and effort on the part of the event planner. This makes them impractical for large gatherings with hundreds or thousands of attendees.
Because of the exclusivity and effort associated with written invitations, the recipients are more likely to RSVP. A double envelope with your address will improve response rates even further.
Tip: Read this guide on how to master handwritten event invitations for more details.
Written invitations look nice, but printed event invitations give you more options. If you team up with a good graphic designer or use an online template, then you can get really creative.
Printed invitations are cheaper to produce than written ones but still more expensive than electronic invitations. They’re also less exclusive than written invites, but more so than digital ones.
To make printed invitations appear exclusive (and to prompt the recipients to RSVP), you can include a double envelope with your name on it when you send out the event invites.
Tip: Find a commercial printer who can print your event invitation and do it justice.
Digital event invitations, whatever form they take, are by far the cheapest and fastest option. You can draft up an email and send it out to all your attendees at once with the click of a button.
An even quicker way is to create a Facebook event and invite people via the platform. You can brand your digital invites with your event graphics to make them more elaborate.
Electronic invitations are less formal, less exclusive, and therefore less memorable and urgent. But you can send regular reminders, and easily track responses and engagement.
3. What details to include in your event invitation
Your event invitation has to answer all the relevant questions your attendees will have. These include the what, why, who, when, and where of your event.
Most event invitations will include the following details:
- Name of the person invited
- Title and description of the event
- Name of hosts and organisers
- Time and date it will take place
- Location and how to get there
- Dress code
- RSVP deadline
Depending on what kind of event you’re planning, you may also want to include information about parking, children, plus ones, dining options, and special dietary requirements.
4. How to word an event invitation
Your choice of language should reflect the formality of the event. Write in a formal manner for formal events and use casual wording for casual events.
Formal event invitations will typically use language such as “You are cordially invited to…” and “We request the pleasure of your company…”
Here are some event types that usually call for formal wording:
- Academic seminars
- Anniversary parties
- Awards ceremonies
- Business lunches
- Official ceremonies
- Open houses
- Retirement parties
- Trade shows
There are of course exceptions to the rule. A business lunch can be casual and an award ceremony can be tongue-in-cheek. Just make sure the language matches the theme.
Casual event invitations use more straightforward language, such as “Join us next month…” and “Don’t miss out on this…”
Here are some examples of events where casual wording is usually appropriate:
5. Should you always send out event invitations?
Not all events require an invitation, so it’s worth considering if you should even spend time on it. Many of our readers organise classes, for example, which typically don’t require an invite.
Then there are public events, such as parades and community fairs, which are open to everyone and simply advertise the practical details on posters around town and online.
Here are some examples of events that won’t require much in terms of event invitations:
- Casual parties
- Comedy shows
- Community events
- Scavenger hunts
- Sports events
- Team building activities
- Wellness events
6. When is the best time to send out event invitations?
There are no hard and fast rules for when to send out the official invites, but there are a few things to consider when you do.
The further in advance you invite people to an event, the less likely it is that they’ll be busy. However, it’s also more likely that they’ll forget about it by the time the event rolls around.
Conversely, your event will be fresher in people’s mind the closer you are to the date. But it’s also more likely that they’ll already have made plans for that day.
Here are some factors that’ll influence the timing of your event invitation:
- Date – send invites earlier if your event takes place during a busy time, such as a holiday period.
- Location – give people time to book their flights and accommodation if you’re planning an event abroad.
- Size – announce big events, such as conferences and festivals, far in advance so people can keep their schedules clear.
- Tickets – ticketed events with early-bird options or a limited supply should be announced early to give people a chance to secure their ticket.
7. Event invitation ideas for inspiration
If you want to see how other event planners have put together their event invitations, you’re in luck. We’ve dug out some amazing and inspirational ideas you can use.
Have a look at these event invitation ideas:
8. Event invitation templates
If you feel ready to have a go at creating your event invitations, fear not. You don’t have to be a graphic designer. You can just grab one of the many free templates online.
Here are some free event invitation templates you can use:
Ready to send out the invites?
You now have all the resources you need to create and send out a great event invitation. The only question now is who will you invite? And for what?