Wording Tips for a Formal Dinner Invitation

by Kyra Sheahan

Whether you have something special to celebrate or just feel like getting out the fancy china, a formal dinner party is a good way to share time with friends or family. When you invite guests to your formal dinner party it is good etiquette to let them know that the occasion is formal by way of the invitation. Word your invitation wisely to make it known that Bermuda shorts and flip-flops are not the most appropriate attire.


The envelope is an extension of your invitation because it is where you address your invitees. As such, formal dinner party envelopes should specify the addressees in a formal manner. Rather than addressing the invitations to "Bob and Helen Rickman," word it with formality by writing "Mr. and Mrs. Robert Rickman" on the outside of your envelope. This is an automatic hint to your invitees that the occasion is formal.


The top of your invitation is an ideal place to write your dinner party announcement. Use this opportunity to write something formal. You can word your invitation announcement to read, "You are cordially invited to join us for dinner..." or "It is with great pleasure that we invite you to join us for dinner..." Such wording gives off the impression that the dinner will be formal, whereas a more casual invitation announcement might read, "Come to our dinner party!"


Your formal dinner invitation should include information, such as the date, time and location of your dinner party. Providing the information up front in the invitation is a formal way to relay the details of the affair, but keep the language around the information formal. For instance, instead of writing "10/8/11," word it "October 8th, 2011" or "The eighth of October, two thousand eleven." Do the same thing for the time of the dinner party. Rather than putting "5:30 p.m." on the invitation, a more formal way to deliver the information is to write "Half past five o'clock in the evening" or "Five thirty in the evening."


Keep your dinner invitations formal by including response instructions at the bottom of the invitation. Request your invitees to RSVP by a particular date. The instructions should also include whom to contact to RSVP. You can make your invitations even more formal by including response cards that contain a "yes or no" response, which guests mail back to you. If you go this route, have the response card envelopes already pre-stamped and pre-addressed with your address on them.

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