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How to write formal invitations

Updated February 21, 2017

Whether writing invitations for a wedding, graduation, business function or fundraiser, it is important to make the invitations as formal or informal as the event is going to be. There are some important features that will make the invitation just as formal as the occasion, simply by following some etiquette guidelines.

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  1. When writing a formal invitation, the most important thing to do is include all of the important details. Make sure to include the honorees, host and hostesses, type of event, location with full address, date, time, RSVP date with phone number (if not including a response card with invitation), black-tie or other dress requirements, and rain date or change of location (if outdoor event).

  2. To make the invitation appear more formal write out all numbers, including the date, in full. Numbers written out in full can also include the street address number or time of event. Customarily it is only the date that is written out in full. For example, instead of February 5, 2010, write out the date as February Fifth, Two Thousand Ten.

  3. When writing the address of an event, or addressing invitations to guests, do not abbreviate parts of the address. This includes the words Street, Boulevard, Lane, Avenue and Circle.

  4. In addition to writing out numbers in full, write the names out in full. Guests will feel like the event is more formal if they see their entire name, including middle name, written out on the invitation. If the middle name of a guest is not known simply leave out, do not use just an initial. Also, try not to use nicknames or shorten versions of the guest's name. For example, rather than addressing the invitation to Jimmy A. Jones, write out as James Andrew Jones. Names on the invitation itself should also be written out in full.

  5. When having the invitation printed, try to select an elegant font to use for the wording. Using a script font appears more formal than Times Roman, when printed on an invitation. The colour of font and paper can also make the invitation appear more formal. Select a sturdy paper in a nice off-colour, such as ivory. Try not to use bright colours in the writing; it is best to stick with black for the font. The dark font colour on the light ivory paper will stand out and look crisp, clean and formal.

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About the Author

Heather Leigh Landon has been a writer since 1988 when she started her career as a stringer for "The McHenry Star News." Since then she has worked for newspapers such as "The Woodstock Independent," "The Northwest Herald" and "Press Journal." Landon graduated from William Rainey Harper College with an Associate of Applied Science in journalism.

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