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How to Write an Invitation

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Whether it's the office holiday party, a colleague's birthday, an anniversary gala or some other social function, the invitations you create should include all the important details about the event, and be correctly addressed to each recipient. If you're writing an invitation on behalf of your company, your invitation should paint the company in a favorable light and reflect its signature style.

Addressing the Invitation

A big part of the invitation is the guest list -- and with business invitations, it's especially important to get all the pertinent information correct. Misspelling an important business client's name incorrectly or calling a man "Ms." are social faux pas that could lose that client's business. Before you start addressing the envelopes and writing the invitation's greeting, review the guest information to ensure you have the current address and the correct spelling of each person's name. This might require a little research, such as reviewing client files or even calling a customer's office to confirm an address.

Choose Formal or Informal

Choose a formal or an informal invitation style, depending on the event. For a white-tie fundraiser, adopt a more formal style. For casual events, such as the company barbecue, go a little more casual. With formal invitations, spell out things including dates, times, addresses and full names -- "the second of November," for example -- and use a more formal paper stock.

Use "Mr.," "Mrs." and "Ms." in front of people's names, and wording such as "You are cordially invited to ... " or "We request your presence at ... " to indicate the event's formal nature. With a casual event you don't necessarily need to write out the dates and times, but if you're addressing a business contact, still use "Mr." or other appropriate honorifics. If the person is welcome to bring a guest, write "Mr. John Smith and guest." [Emily Post's etiquette guides] (http://www.emilypost.com/invitations) can be a helpful resource when you need more guidance on how to properly address someone.

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Include Pertinent Information

For business invitations, include a company logo on the invitation, as well as the names of the hosts somewhere near the top, as recommended by The Etiquette Scholar. Other important information includes a description of the event and its purpose. Naturally, you'll need to include the date, time, and location -- including directions. Include any special instructions the invitees might need, such as what to wear or where your office is in the building, for example. For formal events for which guests might need to make travel arrangements, send out a "save the date" six to eight months ahead, and then send the invitations six to eight weeks in advance. For less formal events, two to four weeks should be just fine.

Include an RSVP Note

To properly plan your event, you'll need to know how many people are attending. For that reason, an RSVP is an essential part of your invitation. After you've included all the pertinent details, give instructions for how the person can respond to the invitation. Provide a self-addressed envelope and a card that allows guests to send you a note via mail, or provide an email address or phone number. However you do it, also provide a deadline by which the person needs to respond.

About the Author

Nicole Vulcan has been a journalist since 1997, covering parenting and fitness for The Oregonian, careers for CareerAddict, and travel, gardening and fitness for Black Hills Woman and other publications. Vulcan holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and journalism from the University of Minnesota. She's also a lifelong athlete and is pursuing certification as a personal trainer.

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