The correct etiquette for party invitations varies depending on the occasion for the party and the formality of the event. Whether the host of the event or the invited guest, there is a responsibility to adhere to certain etiquette.
The style of the invitation should reflect the style of the party. A more formal event suggests a more formal invitation such as one engraved on a card or handwritten in calligraphy. For an informal event, it is acceptable to send invitations by email.
The timing of the invitation is very important, especially if a head count is required. The general rule is to mail out invitations to informal events two to three weeks in advance. For a formal event such as a wedding or anniversary party, the invitations should be mailed out six to eight weeks in advance. If the formal event falls on or near a holiday, a "save the date" card should be mailed out a few months prior to the mailing of the invitation.
The information provided on the invitation should be clear and concise. Only include important information: the reason for the event, the date and time of the event, the location and any gift registry information. If the invitation includes an RSVP to the event, as a host, include a self-addressed, stamped envelope. As a guest, always respond to an RSVP with an answer in a timely manner.
The invitation envelope should be addressed to only the guests who are invited. For example, "Mr. & Mrs. Smith and Sally Smith" indicates that Mr. and Mrs. Smith and their daughter are invited. "Mr. Doe and Guest" indicates the invited may bring a guest. As a guest, always ask in advance if you may bring an additional guest if you are unsure.