Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Invitation keepsakes start with great invitations, Part III: Wording

(One in an occasional series of tips for creating great invitations)

Don’t let this happen to you.
Most people work hard to get just the right wording that sets the tone for your event and makes your guests feel welcome. The wrestling over wording can get intense even under the best of circumstances. This "invitation" is an example of someone’s imagination running wild. I have to admit that I like the combination of script and block fonts – it’s quite elegant, actually. Looks can be deceiving, can’t they?

Etiquette books (and websites) suggest appropriate invitation wordings for almost every occasion, and every variant of that occasion – bar/bat mitzvahs for twins, weddings where the parents have divorced and remarried, and so on. You will also find many examples in the invitation books. If you don’t see one that feels right, create your own.

There are (almost) no rules (although it is generally accepted that you should not say “request the honor of your presence” unless a ceremony of some kind is being held in a house of worship).

At a minimum, you should make sure that your wording includes the name/s of those whose occasion is being celebrated, along with the time, place, and date of the event.

On more formal invitations, it is customary to use words rather than numbers for dates and times:

Saturday, the sixth of November
Two thousand and four
at eleven o’clock in the morning

But if you’re pressed for space on your invitation you may want to consolidate:

at 11:00AM on Saturday, November 6, 2004

Other things you may want to include either on the invitation or on a separate reception card:

An opening “invitation” – “Please join us as we celebrate a special day in our family’s life…” or “We request the honor of your presence at the marriage of …”

• An indication of who is hosting the event: Join us as we celebrate our marriage” for a couple hosting their own wedding; “Sylvia Smith and John Jones cordially invite you to attend the wedding of our daughter…”. You can choose to use “Mr. and Mrs. Jones” or Sylvia and John Smith-Jones – use whatever feels right to you and is the custom in your community (again, ask your dealer for help).

• A statement regarding the formality of the occasion: “Black tie” to indicate that formal wear is required; “Business Casual” if khakis and boat shoes are acceptable; “Flip flops welcomed” for a seaside event. (By the way, I believe that an event should be Black Tie or not – the “black tie optional” option is almost guaranteed to make some people feel underdressed and some overdressed – but that’s just my opinion. I am fond of the “Creative Black Tie” option, as well as “Party Attire.)

• An indication of the length of the event: “Join us for dinner and dancing from seven until ten o’clock in the evening” – this is particularly helpful for events where parents may be required to pick up their children at the end of an afternoon or evening event.

If you follow these suggestions, you will be able to create "an invitation to remember" - one that captures the spirit of your event. Which of course you will want to preserve as a framed keepsake of your wedding, which Purple Raincoat will be happy to create for you. See our newest samples of wedding invitation framed keepsakes and bar/bat mitzvah invitation framed keepsakes on our website,

When your friends ask what you want for a gift, be sure to send them to our ordering page so they will get all the information they need to select the perfect gift for you.

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