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Party Invitation Etiquette

Our professional Consultants are trained to assist you with etiquette, item selection, wording, ink color, font and envelope lining selection. We work closely with our customers on their orders for both personal and corporate / organization events. Through the years, our consultants have been collecting and gathering information on invitation and party etiquette. This etiquette guide contains the questions our consultants are most frequently asked by our customers.

Prior to ordering

When should I order my wedding invitations?

Once you have your event details finalized, as far as the date, location and time, you should place your order. You want to give yourself enough time to find the right party invitation and choose your ink color, font and wording. With so many options you need time to view what is available. You also need ample time to receive your order, address the invitations and mail them to your guests. Typically invitations are ordered 2 to 12 months before the date of the event.

Should my party invitations match the theme or colors of my event?

Invitations are the first impression you will make on your guests. You can incorporate the colors of your decorations in your invitations. Themes are often used as well. It is a great idea to tie your theme into your invitations.

Can I see samples of invitation wording?

For help with wording, please visit our sample wording section

Can you explain etiquette for party invitation wording?

  • A general rule to follow on invitation wording is to avoid abbreviating names of places, street addresses, cities and states.
  • Typically the time of your event should be spelled out for formal events. Informal or more casual events may have the time printed in numbers. If your event is before noon it is considered the morning. If the time is after noon and before 5:00 p.m., it is considered the afternoon. If the time is after 5:00 p.m. it is considered the evening. It is acceptable to refer to 5:00 as the afternoon or evening. If the time falls on a half hour the proper way to word it, for example is "half after four o'clock," if you are spelling out the time.
  • Zip codes are typically left off of invitations and cards when specifying the address of an event location.
  • If you want to limit or restrict the number of children attending the party, it is recommended that you enclose a note to those who might be affected by this preference or talk to close friends and ask them to spread the word. "No children" is not recommended as per etiquette, but if you’d prefer to include this on the invitation, we recommend "Adults only" as it’s best to indicate who is invited, rather than who isn't.

While ordering

How much wording is recommended on my party invitations?

For most invitations 10-14 lines of text is recommended. When ordering, you will be given the appropriate number of lines, to type in for your invitation. If you need additional lines we will try to accommodate your request. We may have to combine lines or move wording in order to make the text fit properly. We recommend not overcrowding your invitations.

How much wording is recommended on my enclosure cards, such as respond cards?

For most enclosure cards 5-7 lines of text is recommended.

How many party invitations should I order?

One invitation is needed per household. Once you have your final number of invitations needed, make sure to order 10-25 more invitations than you need. This is just in case you remember someone you forgot to include on your list or decide to add guests later. It is more costly to place a second order for just 25 invitations, so it is recommended to order extra invitations to begin with.

What font should I choose for my party invitations?

  • The font you select should match the style of your event. For example, formal scripts are typically selected for formal events.
  • It is important to make sure your font is readable to your guests. If your wording exceeds 14 lines, we encourage you to use a less scripty or "loopy" font to allow for readability.
  • If your invitation doesn't have much wording we suggest using a "full body" font
  • If you are choosing a light ink such as silver, gold, white or ecru, we recommend avoiding thin scripts.
  • We do recommend using two fonts on your invitation (at no extra charge), one for your names and another font for your main wording.
  • You can view your order in the font you selected before we print by ordering a proof. For more information on proofs please visit our Proofs section. Click Here.

What ink color should I choose for my party invitations?

  • When selecting an ink color, we recommend choosing a color that will match or compliment the design of the invitation, or the color scheme of the event.
  • For a traditional look, black or navy are recommended.

When you receive your order

When should I mail my party invitations to my guests?

Guests may be sent an invitation four to eight weeks before the date of your event. However, if you have international guests or many of out of town guests you should typically send these invitations out eight to twelve weeks before the event. This gives your guests time to plan their travel schedule. The same guidelines apply if you are having your event during a holiday weekend. You want to make sure you give your guests ample time to plan for your special day.

You may also want to send out Save the Date announcements. This is great for giving travel and accommodation information in advance for your guest's convenience. Save the date announcements should be sent out at least four to twelve months prior to your event.

How do I address my party invitations?

Invitations may be addressed in several ways. Typically they are handwritten, printed or done in calligraphy. Etiquette suggests to avoid using labels.

Outer envelopes should be addressed to guests using the proper titles (Mr., Mrs., Miss, Ms.). Don't abbreviate names or addresses. The outer envelope has the guests' names and address.

When determining whether to use Ms., Mrs., or Miss, always respect the woman's preference. If it is not known, it is appropriate to use the title "Ms."

Men and women living together who are not married should be addressed with the names on seperate lines.

The inner envelopes should only have the guests' names. It is not gummed so it doesn't seal. You may be formal by writing Mr. and Mrs. William Jones or as informal as Uncle Bill and Aunt Jenny.

Please note: Some invitations come with inner and outer envelopes and others come with outer envelopes only. This is stated on the item's information page.

When specifically inviting children:

Young boys up to age seven are given the title as master. Mr. is used at the age of 18. No title is used between the ages of 7 - 17.

Young girls are given the title Miss. Then when married it changes to Mrs. or Ms. if the woman keeps her maiden name.

How do I assemble my party invitations?

Typically invitations are assembled by placing the tissue paper (not included with all invitations) in front of the invitation.

The enclosure cards (reception, respond cards and direction cards) may be placed in front of flat invitations or inside folded invitations. The items should face your guest when they open the invitations.

All items are placed inside the inner envelope if this is included with your order. The inner envelope is then placed inside the outer envelope. The front of the inner envelope with the guests' names should face the guest when they opening the envelope.

Click here to see a demonstration on how to assemble an invitation.

Do I need extra postage on my party invitations?

Your invitations should be weighed for postage before mailing. When items are added to the envelopes, the weight can increase. Also, special shaped invitations and envelopes, such as square and oversized, may require additional postage.

For more information regarding postage rates and fees, please visit www.usps.com or contact your local post office.

Mailing your invitations:

If your invitations have a bow, ribbon, or anything that is three dimensional, be sure to ask the Post Office to hand cancel your envelopes, instead of the invitations sending them through the postage cancelling machines, as this may tear them.

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Customer Service: 888.381.4400
International: 813.879.3748
Wholesale: 888.364.6800
Invitation Consultants, Inc.
4062 Henderson Boulevard
Tampa, FL 33629
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