Already planning for December? It’s almost never too early for (drumroll, please!) holiday invitation tips! Holiday events are important. They can be very good news for your budget, whether your goal includes sales, fundraising, or celebrating. Why not get a head start on invitations to get your best numbers ever? Here are 6 fabulous holiday invitation tips for you.
Get a Jump Start with these 6 Holiday Invitation Tips
#1 – Inviting right
Get all your details right. Know exactly:
Who you want to invite. Get mailing lists accurate and goals clear. When it comes to whether you should invite plus-ones, a good basic rule when it comes to the holidays is the more, the merrier.
How to invite plus-ones. Never just say “spouses.” A plus-one can include a spouse, partner, live-in sibling, roommate, or even a good friend. Staying neutral and classy about terminology avoids awkwardness.
What kind of vibe the event will have. After-work casual? Black tie? Churchy? Goofy? Sit-down dinner? Potluck? Make this clear in your design and wording. Decide on specific instructions on dress and other details (such as Bring Your Owns) if needed.
Where it will be and when. “TBD” just ain’t going to cut it. People are happy to come to events, but typically trying to pack a lot in. Especially if your goal includes raising funds, no matter how casual, your level of professionalism needs to stay tip top.
How to spell stuff. This includes names, days of the week, and the address you’re sending people to. Again, seems obvious. But there is a reason this has its own paragraph!
#2 – Casual vs. formal
Fundraising doesn’t mean an event needs to be high-falutin’. Family-like gatherings can go a long way in forming and securing valuable relationships. On the other hand, it doesn’t mean you’ve got to have an ugly sweater contest at the boss’s house. Again: what’s your goal? A relaxing time to form relationships? An atmosphere conducive to intimate conversation? A community celebration of the year’s achievements?
With casual invitations, keep language informal, use warm and bright colors, and engage warmth (and humor, when appropriate) in copy and design. You want to evoke coziness, familiarity, bonhomie, laughter, good food, open-heartedness—all the feelings. You can wax cute, hipster, poetic—there’s a lot of room to play.
For formal invitations, it’s about the details. It’s crucial to use proper titles and to include details such as dress code, valet parking, type of food served, and (often) the host’s name. Use cooler colors and simpler designs. Consider metallics. You may need an RSVP card with envelope included. Be sure your event has a title, and that the date is written out in full, rather than in numbers (ex. “Nineteenth of December”).
#3 – Staying short
A long invitation is not a classy invitation. The more words, the more chance it might be approaching unprofessional. Even if you need to include a lot of detail (and some invitations require extra detail), don’t go on and on. If people need to bring a white elephant gift, fine. Don’t add a story about what happened last year when someone forgot to bring a gift, or add numerous suggestions for the kind of white elephant gift to bring.
Holiday parties also carry a lot of charm when your guests are surprised by at least one thing. Prepare them as much as they need, but save some delight for the day of!
#4 – “Holiday” vs. “Christmas”
“Holiday” language is more appropriate in most corporate and non-profit settings than language that focuses on Christmas alone. Your goal is for guests to feel welcome, comfortable, and ready to party, and there are so many fun and creative ways to express this with more generalized language, no matter how the holidays take shape in your own life.
But that doesn’t mean you can never get specific. Au contraire! If your event is specifically affiliated with Christmas only, and you won’t have any invitees that don’t celebrate Christmas, then Christmas it up! The point is to choose the most practical, most hospitable language that works for your audience.
#5 – Customizing
If you know your invitees, you’ll know how to throw in those little details that make them feel known. An audience of young professionals may enjoy a bit of irony or the appeal of a craft cocktail. An office party invitation might include reference to an inside joke, a particular food everyone loves, or a victory you want to celebrate.
And consider carefully your audiences who are asked often for money. They need professionalism and a certain level of formality—they want to know they’re not wasting their time. Yet their presence is appreciated, not just their gift. Use preferred names, make the event sound fun, and consider including a brief mention of a portion of the program they’re sure to enjoy.
Finally, providing a last-minute RSVP email address or an “I’m running late” contact number, using real stamps, and using an envelope font that resembles handwriting can be great ways to personalize invitations. Put yourself in the recipient’s shoes. What would appeal to you?
#6 – Having fun!
Holiday planning can be stressful. But must it? If you’re turning into a (pre-reformed) Scrooge or a Grinch just thinking about holiday invitations, try again. Customizing, personalizing, adding warmth and sparkle—these aren’t just marketing tactics, they’re acts of friendship and hospitality. Enjoy them!
Remember: you want these people to come, you want them to give, you want them to enjoy themselves, and you want it to have something to do with your organization. So cheer up! Get into that positive space, where great ideas about how to make a party or fundraiser even more spectacular come to you freely. If you need to, get help from a co-worker who loves this kind of thing, and the enthusiasm will be contagious. Cheers!