Invites 101

Everything you need to know about Invitation Etiquette

The party season is in full swing, and guest lists aren’t filling themselves. Of course an invitation is in order but with so many styles and forms to choose from even the most organized of elves can become perplexed. Fear not, follow our simple 101 instructional and you can cross this task off your holiday to do list.

Snail Mail


When considering the classic (albeit dated yet appreciated) form of mailing a snail mail invitation consider the occasion. This form of invitation expression is often expected when inviting guests to a formal party.
Tip: Mail the invites out two to four weeks in advance, allowing up to four days for delivery.

Pro: The classiest of all invite methods. Remember, paper sets the tone for a special evening. There are many options for tying in a party theme to the invitation. Think more White House dinner invite though than girl’s 6-year-old birthday party.

Con: Custom invites and stamps add up in price.

Tip: Order your stamps online to be delivered to your home, because nothing dampens the holiday spirit faster than the post office line.


E-vites serve a great purpose when you are planning a large holiday party or dinner. Send the e-vites two to four weeks in advance.

Pro: Design and personalization come together in the convenience of an email, plus, it’s easy to manage RSVP’s

Con: E-vites sometimes land in junk and spam folders or go unread.

Check out these great sites of e-vite:

Paperless Post offers ton of contemporary, elegant designs for online and print invitations in a minimalist, intuitive interface.

Celebrations allows you to send invitations to personal events as well as ticketed events. After picking a design, choose whether or not to request an RSVP, or set up an event page to sell tickets.

Punchbowl can handle may features specific to large events, such as gift registries, funds for shared expenses and potluck checklists.

Minted. Name the part and this site is sure to present you with options galore. From bold and bright graphics to soft and simple designs, it’s got every look imaginable. Don’t be fooled by the name. Although this site does offer amazing baby shower invites it also has many more themes to choose from. Great color combos and design ideas are abound here—get ready to be wowed. This site is sure to delight one and all. Yep, we’re even considering that hard-to-please stationary aficionado. Plus it’s easy to navigate by brand, occasion, type, or theme.


Facebook Event


These mass announcements are often best used for casual parties of any size. Set up the event one to two weeks before the date.

Pro: The space becomes a forum where guests can comment and ask questions. Plus, after the party you can share photos. Whether that is a pro or con depends on the style of party guest you are.

Con: Users who do not keep up regularly on Facebook could miss the announcement.


Ten Tips for Creating A Facebook Event



Word of Mouth


Is there anything more powerful than word of mouth? That’s debatable, but in the party planning world this style of invite is best for informal get together. Invite friends a few days before.

Pro: Keeps the tone of the party light and easy. Parlay this into your décor, food, and drink and no one expects anything grand.

Con: Important details are likely to be forgotten—for example the date and time. This could create a lot of extra work for you by way of answering emails such as “what time is the party again?”


How to Be A Great Holiday Guest


Lizzie Post, host of the Awesome Etiquette podcasts (and great-great granddaughter of manner icon Emily Post),a advises attendees on how to navigate holiday manner quandaries.



“If your allergies are easy work around—like if you have a nut allergy, but only if you ingest them—move the food to the side of the plate and manage it. If you’ve got the kind of allergy where just the smell causes a wonderfully dramatic EpiPen incident, let the host know in advance.  



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Don’t bring a whole dish if you haven’t been asked to. Holidays are a time for hosts to take care of guests. If it’s a potluck, ask what’s needed.



Aim to arrive somewhere within the first half-hour. Being early intrudes on you host’s prep time, but don’t get there past the 30-minute hors d’oeuvre mark.



If you like to drink, drink and be merry. If you don’t, don’t. At office parties, stick to one drink or none at all. Try to manage the stress of the season in a way other than with alcohol.



It’s wonderful to offer, but never insist and start down things if the hosts have turned you down. If they want you to sit and enjoy, sit and enjoy.


Standing in the Kitchen

Take social cues. Where are the hors d’oeuvres set up? That’s probably where your host wants you to hand out.


Thank You Notes

With close friends and family, it’s perfectly okay to make a phone call or even send a text message. But it’s not a bad idea to send a note. It can never be replaced.


Hostess Gifts

Gifts aren’t mandatory, but if you do give one, make it something simple.