From an elegant paper invitation to a quick and easy digital evite, the way you extend an invitation sends a message about your event. As planning for holiday parties and family gatherings gets underway, here are tips on invitation etiquette and when to use different types of invitations:
There are two times when a hand-addressed, mailed invitation is the best invitation etiquette. First, the formality and tradition of weddings calls for paper. The simple fact is that nothing else conveys the importance of the occasion, whether it’s a big, formal church wedding or a more casual ceremony. Paper has practical applications here too – it provides a user-friendly RSVP mechanism in the form of a pre-addressed and stamped card and allows attendees to select their choice of entrée/meal at the reception.
Paper invitations set the tone of the event, when you want to let your guests know that they’re invited to something extra special, whether it’s a holiday party, baby shower or bar mitzvah. In today’s culture, it’s unusual to find a handwritten envelope while sorting through the mail, so paper invitations are a great way to stand out. With all of the options available (including computer programs and crafting supplies for professional looking do-it-yourself invitations), a mailed invitation can do a lot to build anticipation and excitement for your event. There’s an investment of money and time to send a paper invitation, but that’s part of what makes it special.
These are fun, fast, festive and free. Sent via email, they’re also environmentally friendly and easy to customize based on your event and style preferences. One disadvantage is the fact that it’s possible for your invitation to end up in a junk email folder, but that problem is alleviated by the fact that Evite lets the sender see if the invitation has been opened.
When does invitation etiquette allow for a service such as Evite? When you want the instant gratification of very quick responses or when you are planning a fun, not-too-formal event, from a birthday party, backyard BBQ to a girls night out – fee free. Just make sure that it’s a user-friendly invitation service. Some electronic cards or links can be difficult to open.
Sending an invitation by Facebook can quickly get the word out about your event to a wide range of contacts. However, it also lacks the personal connection that other forms of invitation can offer. If you want to let your contacts know about a golf tournament or a fundraiser you’re involved with, Facebook can be a good way to get the word out to a large number of people. However, the more people on your “send” list, the easier it is to ignore. A message via Facebook can work to invite a small number of friends to a casual event such as a birthday party. It gets the job done, but it lacks the elements of fun, style and intimacy. Also, keep in mind that not everybody is on Facebook and if they are, they may not check it regularly. Even avid Facebook users may be bombarded with invites and ignore them over time.
Emails, texts, direct messages via Twitter or phone calls.
Festive they’re not, but these options can work for casual or impromptu events with close friends. When efficiency is more important than creating an atmosphere of a festive celebration, just go with the option that you know the other person will respond to the best.
It’s almost time for holiday parties – are you ready to send out your invitations? The most important piece of invitation etiquette to remember when receiving an invitation is to respond (RSVP) in a timely manner.