Formal Invitation Elements


When embarking on an invitation project, the first step is determining which stationary elements are necessary. Here is a guide to some common invitation needs:

Save the Date

When inviting guests to a formal event, such as a wedding, a save the date is typically sent at least six months in advance. Save the dates are meant to provide convenience to your guests. Therefore, be sure to include basic event details, including the city, date, and event name, which will allow guests to coordinate their schedules and travels arrangements in advance. It is also courteous to inform guests if a formal invitation will follow and/or if there are any other resources available with additional information (i.e. a wedding website). While save the dates can include any other logistical information you would like, etiquette suggests to not include registry information.

Formal Invitation

This is your opportunity to provide guests with all the information they will need for your event. Remember to include basic details, such as time, date, and location(s) – but don’t forget guests are also relying on your invitation to be a preview of your event. Don’t forget to add guidance for attire, highlight who is hosting the event, and inform guests of any non-traditional elements of the wedding (i.e. an adults only reception). As with your save the date, it is not advised to include any registry information.

Accommodations Card

If you will have traveling guests attending your event, it is important to provide them with accommodation suggestions. If you have a hotel block, make it easy for guests to book their rooms by including hotel contact information and the name of the block. Over the years, accommodations cards have become an optional component – this information can either be an individual card, included on the invitation, or even communicated through your event website!

Directional Card

Help ease your guests’ stress by providing them with directions for the entirety of your event. Provide directions (and feel free to even include maps) to the ceremony, reception, and after-party locations. Make sure directions are clear for guests whether they are staying at the hotel or coming from their homes. Before finalizing your directional card, confirm with your local government of any planned road closures or construction – your guests will thank you!

Reception Card

Reception information is another element that often is incorporated into the formal invitation. However, if your reception and ceremony are held at different venues, it is advised to highlight the location change through a reception card. This card can be very simple – just highlight the location, start and end times, and any venue specific information (i.e. parking restrictions). You can also inform guests whether dinner will be served and what type of festivities will take place.

Response Card

Response cards are a key component to any formal invitation! You will want to make sure the card includes all information that you will need as a host, such as number of guests attending, guest names, dietary restrictions, and meal choices (if applicable). It is also an opportunity to engage your guests in your event. Recent trends have moved away from formal RSVP cards and are starting to get very creative (see some fun examples here). Ask your guests to provide a song for the DJ to play, make your RSVP card a mad libs game, or create an card that can be used as wedding decorations. Finally, don’t forget to make it easy for your guests to RSVP by including a stamped envelope or postcard they can easily mail back to you!

Now that you’ve decided what invitation elements your next big event requires, Paper Bag Invites, located in Columbus, Ohio, can help create customized wedding stationary for you. Just contact us at!

Invitation Elements