Dinner parties are a fun way to get together with people you care about and spend some quality time together. Conversation, good food, a little music, and maybe a few drinks are all part and parcel of a well-planned dinner party. It’s a moment of celebration, a snapshot of time, and if you plan it right, it will be an evening everyone will remember for years to come. Planning a dinner party is more than just picking a date and cooking some food, though. So many little details go into planning it, including crafting the perfect dinner party invitations. But what should be included in one? Read on as we break down how to write a dinner party invitation.
What to write in a dinner party invitation
Writing invitations from scratch is a bit of an art. With the way customs, traditions, and etiquette evolve, it can be hard to know what to include and what not to include on the invite.
Invitations haven’t always included things like gift registries or dietary restriction cards. But with these nuances, come much-needed information. And when it comes to parties, the more your guests are in the loop, the better.
The good news is that once you learn how to write a dinner party invite, it’s only up from there. You will just get better and better at it. Whether you’re writing an invitation for a dinner party at home or a special venue, you will know what to include and what to skip.
The most important information for your invite will cover the five W’s:
Describe the who
Who are you having the dinner party for, or in whose honor is the party being held? Maybe it’s a birthday party for a special someone or a housewarming party. Perhaps it’s a networking event that you are hosting for local businesses. Write the name or names of whoever is hosting the dinner party, and if the “who” happens to be a child whose birthday you are celebrating, it’s a good idea to list the names and contact information for the parents too. If you’re hosting a dinner party for networking purposes, this is a good place to put information on whoever is sponsoring the evening’s festivities as well. Once you have information on who is throwing the dinner party nailed down, the rest is easy breezy.
Describe the what
Go into more detail about your dinner party so that guests know what to expect. This is where you would write information about the type of dinner party you have planned (i.e., celebration, birthday, mixer, networking). You’ll also want to mention the theme of your dinner party (i.e., Taco Tuesday, Around the World, Casino Night) if there is one. It’ll be especially helpful to let them know what activities may be planned or if it’s a potluck or not. Be sure to include any information that might be pertinent so that guests know what to expect when they arrive, what to wear, and what to bring, if anything.
Describe the when
Give clear and accurate details about the date and time of your dinner party. Don’t forget to include what day of the week the date falls on, and whether the time is referencing morning, afternoon, or evening. It’s also a good idea to let guests know when the dinner party will end.
Describe the where
If you’re hosting a dinner party in your home, this information is pretty easy to provide. However, if you plan on hosting the dinner party elsewhere, you’ll need to include the name and address, along with any information required to gain access, like where to park or where to enter the building.
Describe the why
This is where you’ll articulate why you’re throwing a dinner party in the first place. People throw dinner parties for lots of reasons and sometimes for no reason at all, e.g., simply because it’s Friday and they can.
Request an RSVP
RSVPs are helpful because they let you get a more accurate headcount on who will be attending the dinner party. That way, you can be sure to prepare enough dishes for everyone. Granted, not everyone who RSVPs always makes it, but generally if people do confirm, they show up. If not, well—more food for the rest of your guests!
Be sure to let guests know exactly when you need them to RSVP by and how they can do so. For example, with Paperless Post, guests can easily RSVP with our online invitations and hosts will have instant RSVP tracking. RSVP tracking allows you to keep a pulse on who will be attending your party and who won’t so you can adjust your preparation accordingly.
Mention expected attire
Guests hate to show up to a party feeling over or underdressed. Save them the anxiety and the hassle by including your expected dress code in the dinner invite. If you plan on hosting a formal dinner party, ask them to wear their best formal attire. Be specific, such as letting them know to wear a cocktail dress or sport black tie attire.
If it’s a costume party, expound on the theme and the type of costumes they may wear. If the dinner is jeans-and-a-tee kind of casual, say so. If your dinner party is themed, perhaps ask guests to wear something that fits the dinner party theme. The important thing is to be clear in what you expect people to wear so that they can plan accordingly.
Will you allow a plus one or family members?
Don’t forget to mention whether or not guests can bring a plus one, invite a friend, or if the party is family friendly and they can bring the whole crew. Make sure they know to RSVP and include their extra guests when they do.
Style of wording for dinner invitations
How you word your dinner invitations depends on what the gathering is for and what kind of theme (if any) you may be using. Knowing the theme, who your guests are, and the purpose of your dinner party will help you set the tone for the wording in your dinner invitations.
Formal or professional dinner invitations might use phrases like:
- You are cordially invited…
- We request the honor of your presence…
- The pleasure of your company is requested…
Casual dinner invitations might use phrases like:
- It’s a party…
- Please join us…
- You’re invited…
- Dinner at my place…
Themed dinner party invitations would use wording related to the theme itself. This wording could be formal or informal, depending on the theme. If you’re having a Taco Tuesday themed party, the tone of your invite may be more casual than if you’re doing a Masquerade theme.
Dinner party invitation examples
Formal dinner invite
Casual dinner invite
Birthday dinner invite
Themed dinner invite
Tips for creating your best dinner invitation
There are a few things you should keep in mind when you begin creating dinner invitations.
- Consider design: First of all, the design is important and one of the most exciting parts about any party invitation. If you have a theme, your invitation should go along with it. Also, all information should be clear and easy to read. A well-designed invitation will have you and your guests excited about your event.
- Set the tone: Let your wording convey the mood of the dinner party. If it’s a more formal dinner party, then convey that with your wording and keep text to a minimum for easy scanning. Keep your text centered and capture their attention right from the headline.
- Include a timeline: It’s a great idea to put a mini timeline of the sequence of events for the evening. For instance, if you plan on hosting a cocktail hour before dinner, make that information known in the dinner invitation. If dinner and dancing will be later in the evening, include that on the invitation.
Now that you have ideas and tips on how to write the perfect invite get started creating your own with our online invitations! With many beautiful designs and layouts to choose from, you’ll be able to create something that your attendees can look forward to once they receive it. For more help planning a dinner party to remember, check out these simple and unexpected hosting tips.