Tag Archives: Sending Party Invitations

Formal vs. Informal Party Invitations: What’s the Difference?

Whether you are planning a party, wedding, christening or birthday, invitations will make up a good portion of the planning process. An invitation is, of course, how your guests will learn that their presence is requested. It’s also used to convey information about the location, date and time, who the event is for, and sometimes even a required dress code where relevant.

You may wonder: are paper party invitations really required for every kind of event? Aren’t paper invitations always a bit formal, and best reserved for important gatherings, rather than casual ones?

In fact, paper party invitations can come across as either formal or informal, depending on their style, the wording, and the content of the invite itself. It’s always worth using paper party invitations for any kind of bash, whether it’s your little one’s space-themed third birthday party or a glamorous golden anniversary ball.

In this guide, you’ll learn the difference between formal and informal party invitations, so you can decide which would best suit your upcoming party.

What is a Formal Party Invitation?

A formal invitation is one that has strict rules and etiquette that must be followed. It is typically used for formal events, such as:

1) Weddings
2) Anniversary parties
3) Dinner parties
4) Award ceremonies
5) Graduations
6) Black tie events

Formal invitations can also be used for important or milestone birthday parties, which you want your guests to take seriously – e.g. a 50th birthday meal.

Sending out a formal invitation will set the tone of the event early on; it should reflect the theme of the event, and depict what is required from the guest attending.

What is an Informal Party Invitation?

An informal invitation is one that is more appropriate for a casual or laid-back event, such as:
1) Picnics
2) Kid’s birthdays
3) Most adult birthdays
4) Baby showers
5) House parties
6) Homecoming parties
7) Holiday parties (e.g. Easter, Christmas, Halloween)

The benefit of an informal invitation is that it has no strict rules it must adhere to, and so can design it to look however you want it to. They are usually written in first person, and in a more conversational, rather than traditional tone.

With informal invitations, you can branch out and use your creativity, making it as original and to your exact design and needs for your event.

What Wording Should I Use?

Whether you’re planning a wedding or a birthday party, the wording of your invitation can be important in setting the tone of the event to come, and will help your guests determine what kind of event they are attending, and how they should prepare for it.

Formal Invitation Wording

As mentioned before, formal invitations have a certain set of rules and etiquettes they have to stick to, which includes not just the way it is written but also the type of information about the event that must be included. Things that should be included in a formal invitation are:

Date and Time

It is important that the date of the event is written out using letters, rather than numbers, and it mustn’t be abbreviated. For example, Saturday 16th September should instead be written out as Saturday the sixteenth of September.

The time of the event must also be written out and must use phrases such as ‘in the morning’ for events set between midnight and midday, ‘in the afternoon’ for events set between midday and 6pm, and ‘in the evening’ for events set between 6pm and midnight.
Examples of this would be ‘Ten thirty in the morning’, or ‘Nine forty five in the evening.’ If the time is on the hour, then o’clock may be used, for example ‘Two o’clock in the afternoon.’


As with the date, the address must be written out fully, with no abbreviations. So, 56 London Ave would become 56 London Avenue, or even Fifty-six London Avenue for ultra-formal occasions.

Guests’ Names

When addressing the guests, full, non-abbreviated names must be used; Samantha instead of Sam, Thomas instead of Tom. Surnames must also be included if you know them. If you are inviting someone with a title other than Mr, Mrs or Ms, then you must use their correct title, such as Doctor.

Hosts’ Names

One of the most important rules of a formal invitation is the inclusion of the host or hosts. By mentioning them on the invitation, the guests know who is organising the event. This is especially important when inviting guests to a wedding.
This should also be written out fully with no abbreviations, and should be paired with the initials and/or logo of the party organiser.

Other Important Details for Formal Invitations

Other things to include in your formal invitation include:

1) Third person wording. Instead of ‘I am inviting you to an awards ceremony’, instead ‘Emma Falcon requests the pleasure of your company at…’ It is also important that the invitation is typed, and using a formal, serif font such as Times New Roman.
2) The reason why the event is being held e.g. ‘to celebrate’ or ‘to honour’ and whether it is a wedding, a birthday, an anniversary or awards ceremony (for example).
3) The dress code. There are several types of attire for a formal event, and each type is very specific to the type of event. Therefore, you must inform the guests of the expected dress code, such as white tie, black tie, formal, cocktail, etc.
4) RSVP instructions. This is required atevents where you need to have a head count

beforehand, so that catering or drinks may be planned in advance. With your invitation, a card should be included along with a prepaid envelope with a response address on it. The RSVP should include the deadline by which it should be returned, a space for the guests to write their name, and two options for the response, with phrases such as ‘accepts with pleasure’ or ‘declines with regret’. If needed, you can also include a space for a meal choice.

Formal invitations are traditionally printed on high-quality cardstock in white, ivory, or cream, and will use accent colours that match the colours for the event. Try to avoid using a gaudy or loud colour scheme for a formal event, as this will look out of place!
For example, this Enchanted Evening template would be perfect for any formal party, with its classic black and white colour scheme featuring delicate fleur de lis motifs.

Informal or Casual Party Invite Wording

When it comes to creating an invitation for an informal event, you have a lot more flexibility with how you write it, as well as what information needs to be included, it does not need all the etiquette and rules that are required for a formal event.

The important things to include for an informal invitation are:

1) The date of the event, which you can write in any format you like
2) The time. You can afford to be a bit more flexible with how you write your timings with an informal event. You could put the exact start and end times, such as 1pm – 10pm; or you could avoid specifying the end time, e.g. ‘8 till late’. For super casual events you could be even vaguer e.g. ‘noonish’ if you don’t really mind what time guests turn up.
3) The location – no need for any abbreviations here, just write it in a way you feel comfortable. Include the full address or just ‘Emily’s place’ for example, if you’re sure everyone knows where the host lives!
4) The hosts – although informal, it is still important to let your guest know who it is that is inviting them (unless it’s obvious, e.g. the guests know whose birthday it is)
5) The guests – you may address the guests in anyway you like, whether it is their full name or an informal nickname you have for them!
6) The RSVP instructions – as as you can be more creative with an informal invitation, you don’t need to provide a separate card for the response. Instead you can choose to simply include an email address or phone number for your guests to send their acceptance or refusal.

With an informal invitation, the tone can be a lot more casual and warmer. You have the opportunity to make it as personal if you like – use whatever slang or abbreviations you’re comfortable with, and write it in first person if you’d prefer!

You can also have a lot more fun with the colour scheme and artwork if you’re hosting a casual party. For example, this bright and bold Party Clown invitation would be ideal for a child’s birthday party.

Where Can I Order Personalised Party Invitations?

If you’re looking for high-quality, professionally printed party invitations at an affordable price point, look no further than 123Print. We offer a huge variety of party invitation templates, wedding invitation templates and an array of other stationery for any use imaginable!

With both formal and informal designs available in various themes and colour schemes, you’re bound to find an invitation to suit your event down to the ground. All of our invitations are fully customisable at no extra cost, so you can add your personal details, alter the wording and change the font style and colour to suit your preferences.
Join our thousands of happy customers today and get ordering your party invitations with a click of a button!

Should You Invite People to a Party By Text?

When sending out party invitations, especially for an informal bash, it can be easy to default to simply sending a text message to your guests.
However, a text message (or e-mail, or Facebook event) is not always the best way to communicate important details about your party. It also runs the risk of coming across as too casual, meaning that your invitees may not feel the need to RSVP. This could cause havoc with your party planning!

Sending a text might work for a very last-minute party, if there’s no time to post or hand out paper invitations. But for all other scenarios, physical party invitations are by far superior. Designing your own invitations is a fun way to spread the word about your event, get your guests excited about the theme, and ensure everyone invited will have all the information they need. It also elevates your event and ensures that guests will take it seriously.

With thousands of designs to choose from, you can start collecting RSVPs in no time with help from your chosen party invitation!

Are Paper Party Invitations Better than a Text?

Party invitations come in a huge array of colours and designs, whereas a text message is just that – text on a screen. There’s so much more scope for theming and fun with personalised party invitations.

While it’s super convenient to send a text, it doesn’t get anyone excited for your party. It also comes across as a lot more casual, so if you really want people to RSVP (and actually turn up) then an paper invite is the way to go.

If your party doesn’t have a theme, you can go with a standard party invite in a relevant colour scheme. If your party does have a theme, you can make this the first thing your invitees see with a themed invitation.

Paper party invitations also allow you to be more specific about the dress code, gift list, start and end times – all because you’ve got the space to write whatever you’d like.

Is It Ever a Good Idea to Invite People to a Party Through Text?

That’s not to say that text messaging is never useful. It might be appropriate to send a text to your invitees in the following circumstances, for example:

1) You are hosting a children’s party and you want to make sure parents received invitations – especially if they were handed out at school
2) You haven’t heard back from one or more of your invitees, and you want to check they are attending
3) The details of your event have changed and you need to let guests know (for example, the date or venue)
4) You want to send a generic SMS a couple days before the party just to remind everyone
5) You’re planning a last-minute party (i.e. a few days in advance), and there simply isn’t enough time to send out paper invitations
6) You’re planning a surprise party for someone you live with, and can’t risk your paper invitations being intercepted

For most parties, however, paper invitations are definitely the way to go. You may worry that they’re too formal – but the beauty of party invitations is that they can be entirely customised. You can word the invitation as formally or as casually as you’d like.

Do Printed Party Invitations Work for All Guests?

Paper invitations work well for all ages, from kids to older family members. The same, unfortunately, can’t be said for party invitations sent through text.
There’s a strong chance your older guests may not use a mobile phone, or be proficient in SMS messaging. Because of this, there is a chance you could miss some of your important guests by only sending text invitations. Not only this, but even guests with mobile phones may miss a text (their inbox may be full, for example, or they may be too busy to check their notifications).

Paper invitations, either handed out in person or sent in the post, solve this issue. Sending out paper invitations will ensure no one is left out or misses the memo due to communication issues.

If you are sending out invitations for a children’s party, it’s also best to send a paper invitation. Kids particularly love handing out invites to all of their classmates at school! (That being said, you may want to follow up with a text to parents, on the off chance that an invite goes missing.)

Do Paper Party Invitations Work with Large Gatherings?

It is especially important to send out paper invitations if you are having a large event. If you are having caterers or hiring a venue, it is important you know who is coming to your party. Your venue and caterers will require a head count at least a few days in advance of the occasion.

When you send a text, it’s easy for it to get lost in people inboxes. Guests may forget they were invited, or never get back to you with an RSVP. This is because sending a text as a party invite comes across as very informal – guests may not realise the size or organisation going into your party.

To avoid this, send a paper invitation. Invitees are more likely to remember receiving your invite and may even stick or magnet it somewhere in their home. It also shows them that your party is more formal, or a larger occasion and therefore they need to RSVP.
Large parties like age milestone birthdays can take lot of organising and you may be worries about sending out such a large volume of invitations. With 123 print arranging invitations is easy and stress free, so you can focus on other tasks.

Why Should I Order Customised Party Invitations?

Ordering customised birthday invitations elevates the experience you and your guests have of your event. They also help you save time.

With personalised party invites, you can choose a template it and edit it to include your own wording. This means you can include all the necessary information (such as location, date, start time and dress code) on the invitation. This makes it easy for your guests to know where to go and when, and what’s expected of them. You can also change the colour scheme and font style, and even upload your own artwork directly to the invitation, for a truly personalised piece of stationery!

More importantly, you will not have to worry about writing or typing information over and over, as you might with a text. When you receive your personalised invitations in the post, all you have to do is address the envelope and send them on their way.

When Should I Send Out Party Invitations?

The best time to send out party invites is 3-6 weeks before your event. This gives your invitees a good amount of time to book off of work and arrange childcare, and for you to gather your RSVPs. However, if your guests will have to travel or if you’re planning a party at a busier time of year (such as Christmas), it’s best to give a couple of extra weeks’ notice.
Here at 123Print, we aim to dispatch all orders within 48 working hours of customer proof approval. This means that your invitations will be with you quickly – perfect for even a last-minute bash!

Where Can I Order Party Invitations?

At 123Print, we offer a large range of high quality invitations for any occasion. Having a casual children’s party? Try this fun Coloured Balloons invite. What about a housewarming party? You could consider the elegant Kitchen Trousseau invitation. Or maybe you are having a glamorous black tie party, which our ever-popular Enchanted Evening design would be perfect for. Hundreds more designs are available, including themed templates, all of which are fully customisable.

You can order stress free with our 100% customer satisfaction guarantee – if your invitations aren’t perfect, we’ll refund or re-print them with no questions asked. We also offer 48-hour dispatch and a low price guarantee, with no hidden charges to worry about. Our standard party invitations start at only 40p each.
Order today and start getting those RSVPs!