How to Invite Someone to Dinner?

How to Invite Someone to Dinner
Include the date, time, location, dress code, and type of event in the invitation. Match the wording and tone to the event - be formal for formal occasions, and be casual for chilled get-togethers. Give clear instructions on how to RSVP, and follow up if required.

1. Different Types of Invitations

woman writing invitation cards
Woman writing invitation cards

There are a number of ways to send a dinner party invitation, including an email, a handwritten letter, a phone call, or asking them face to face. Each of these methods has pros and cons.

Email invites are easy, cheap, and fast but can feel a little impersonal. Handwritten letters are great for a special occasion but require a lot of effort and can be difficult if there are a lot of guests.

Phone calls and face-to-face chats feel very personal, but because there is nothing written down, people can sometimes forget the event is happening!

2. What to Say?

In a dinner invitation, you must include key details: the time and date, place, type of event, and dress code. An example could be something like:

  • Birthday party get together
  • Friday night next week, 8 pm
  • Potluck dinner
  • Smart casual

When writing up a dinner invitation, it can be as simple as a list of that information; however, you can also choose to add some more personal touches if you wish

3. Formal Invites for Formal Nights

You must use formal language to host a formal dinner party or event. This often means being slightly less friendly but ensuring you are always polite. Phrases like ‘the pleasure of your company is requested at this special occasion’ can elevate the invite.

When inviting somebody to a formal dinner party, it is incredibly important to specify the dress code. There is a big difference between black tie, white tie, smart, and glam – make sure you know which you are going for!

Formal dinner invitations should generally not be sent out to loved ones or close friends unless they are being invited to a bigger event. You do not need to send out formal invites to simple birthday dinner parties or housewarming nights.

4. Casual Invites for Casual Nights

If you host a casual dinner party or event, keep your invitation friendly, brief, and informal. Be sure to include any dress code rules and the menu (good food is key to any dinner party!) in a casual dinner invitation.

The actual party invitation wording can be almost anything you like. If you are unsure what to say, try looking up templates online – plenty of examples of casual dinner invites from various places worldwide are free.

5. Inviting Groups

The best way to invite groups of people for dinner is to use a Whatsapp or Facebook Messenger group or an email chain. This way, everybody’s RSVPs are in the same space, there is an easy way for the guests to check the details, and you don’t need to keep track of many people’s responses over different formats.

6. Occasion-Specific Invitations

When writing an invitation to an occasion-specific event, try to theme your invite around that occasion! Wedding invites should be beautiful and romantic; rehearsal dinner invites can be a notch lower than that; graduation dinners should be celebratory; costume party invites should lean into the theme.

7. Double-Check

Before sending out an invitation, always be sure to proofread before you hit send. Small errors, such as typos or spelling mistakes, can be embarrassing but will be laughed off; bigger errors (such as putting the wrong time, date, or address) can be disastrous! Save yourself the hassle: double-check your invites!

8. Essential Details

RSVP invite
RSVP invite

Always include the following details in your invitations:

  • Date
  • Dress Code
  • How to RSVP
  • Location
  • Start Time and End Time
  • Theme
  • What to Bring

9. Sending Your Invite

Always try to send your invite at least a month before the event to give your guests time to plan and avoid potential clashes. Once people RSVP, list who has responded and whether they can come, as well as any potential plus ones – this will help keep an accurate track of the number of people at the party.

If anybody doesn’t respond within a couple of weeks, send a gentle follow-up asking whether they received the invitation. This will nudge them to respond if they have forgotten or flag up that your invite hasn’t reached everybody! And if they decline to join the party, don’t take it to heart or hold grudges.

Jack Fairey

Jack is a writer based in west London, England. He is a keen traveler, and has a particular interest in the fascinating differences in etiquette across the world. When not writing, he can be found dreaming up his next trip to far off places.

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