Whether you’re celebrating a birthday, relationship milestone or major life change, creating your own party invitations is a great way to add a more personal touch. Not only do you get more freedom over the design, but it feels all the more special for guests to receive an invitation that has been personally created by hand (or computer!) by you. Below, we explain the invitation etiquette required for your next event and give you some design tips along the way.
While invitations have been around for a long time, in the modern age where you can send an invitation over text, email, Facebook and the mail, it’s hard to navigate the etiquette required for different types of events.
And, when it comes to designing your own invitations, there are a few key considerations to keep in mind. From weddings and baby showers to housewarming parties to intimate dinner soirees, each type of party comes with its own unique set of invitation etiquette. To ensure your guests are clear on what to expect from your event, it’s important to factor this invitation etiquette into not only the text but also the design.
Here, we explain the invitation etiquette for common types of parties, and how you can incorporate these into your designs. But, first thing's first: Invitation wording.
When writing an invitation for any type of event, it’s important to make the event details as clear and simple as possible. Essential information to include in your invitation:
When it comes to how you should word your invitation, it’s important to consider the tone you want your invitation to convey.
Tone can be defined as, “the general character or attitude of a place, piece of writing, situation.” If, for example, you are creating an invitation for your wedding, it’s likely that the wording you use will be slightly more formal than that of your intimate house-warming party.
Another factor to consider is how your invitation wording reflects your personality. If you're keeping your event casual, playful and relaxed, it’s best to keep your invitation wording in theme.
Whatever voice and tone you choose for your invitation you want to ensure that the important event information is still communicated clearly.
Getting engaged is an exciting moment in any couple’s relationship and many people choose to throw a party to celebrate the special occasion. If you are creating your own engagement party invitation, there are a few design considerations to pay attention to. Firstly, your invitation should be romantic—this is a celebration of love, after all!
Design tip: Cursive and script fonts tend to evoke a romantic feel, as do muted and pastel colors. You may also want to experiment with icons like rings, hearts and cupid’s arrows, as these are emblematic of a romantic union.
This engagement party invitation has used the bow and arrow in a clever way, placing it in between the names of the couple It also uses a muted color scheme, flower border, and cursive font to create an elegant and romantic feel.
Your engagement party should also encapsulate the unique bond between you and your partner. There is no relationship exactly like yours, and this should shine through in your invitation. For example, if you bonded over your love of home-brewed beer, consider using this tidbit in your engagement party design by incorporating icons of beer glasses.
If your engagement party has a theme, this should also be reflected in the design of the invitation. For example, if it’s a sit-down dinner party, you will want to create a sophisticated and elegant design. If it’s a more casual BBQ, make sure this is communicated through colors, fonts and icons you use, as well as explicitly stating this so your guests know what to expect.
This engagement party invitation reflects the couple’s sense of humor, as well as the theme and location of the dinner, a Mexican restaurant.
When designing your engagement party invitation, it’s also important to include the following:
You made it through the engagement party and now it’s time to invite your loved ones to the main event! Many aspects of the design etiquette remain the same as the engagement party. Wedding invitations should have a romantic aesthetic and reflect your unique relationship, as well as the theme and location of the wedding.
It is clear through the use of tropical icons in the border and use of colors that this invitation is designed for a beach wedding.
However, wedding invitations are perhaps even more important than the engagement party, as they are often kept as a keepsake long after the event. For this reason, there are a few additional design considerations.
Firstly, it’s important to get the size and dimensions right. Wedding invitations are often long and slim—perhaps to signify that this is an incredibly special occasion and to set it apart from all other types of invitations.
Design tip: Consider using a template as a starting point for your wedding invitation, to ensure you have the correct dimensions.
This classic wedding invitation design is in the standard dimensions for a wedding invitation and can be easily customized with your own colors and fonts.
Beyond the design of your wedding invitation, it’s also important to consider the kind of stock you will print them on. The most popular cardstock for single, flat wedding invitation cards is 80 lb and up, as this gives a luxurious feel and helps them last longer as a keepsake. Matte finishes like cotton and linen also tend to create a more timeless effect than glossy finishes. With Canva Print, we can print and deliver your designs straight from the app in a range of stock and finishes.
Other important etiquette considerations for wedding invitations are sending them out at least 8 to 12 weeks before the wedding and including a call-to-action, or you can always send out Save the Date cards to give your guests even more notice. Traditionally, wedding invitations should also include personalized names of guests and the expected dress code, much like the engagement party.
When creating a wedding invitation, it’s important to consider the following:
Discover more templates for unique celebrations, like an invitation for baptism, gender reveals, and a lot more!
Birthday parties are a big deal for kids, so the invitation should be suitably fun and special. While often, it's the parents who hold onto the invitation, it’s important to ensure the design is easy to read and appropriate for children. Typically, bright colors, bold fonts, and simple icons and illustrations are suitable for kids’ birthday party invitations. However, it’s also important to consider the type of party and the age your child is turning and tailor your party invitation accordingly.
If there’s a theme for the party, it’s a great idea to incorporate this into the design of the invitation, too. For example, if your child is having a pirate-themed party, you may want to use fun icons of a shipwreck or a swashbuckling pirate—this also helps parents quickly assess the type of toys your child is interested in.
This 8th birthday party invitation incorporates the dinosaur theme into the design, as well as sticking to a simple color scheme and using a bold, sans-serif font.
Design tip: Unlike many adults, children are genuinely excited to turn another year older. So, don’t be afraid to make their age the focal point of the invitation—whether that’s through a contrasting color scheme or using a bold number icon.
This invitation brings attention to Benny turning seven through the framing of the dotted lines and the contrasting orange against the teal.
When creating a children’s birthday party invitation, it’s important to consider the following:
Stumble upon more attention-grabbing birthday invitation templates here.
When it comes to designing birthday party invitations for adults, the demographic is the most important consideration. For example, an invitation for a 21-year-old’s birthday should look quite different to that for a 60th birthday tea party!
Design tip: Try to keep in mind not only the person whose birthday it is (whether it’s yours or someone else’s) but also the audience that will be receiving it and choose the font, colors, and other design elements accordingly. Using a template that has been designed for that specific birthday can be an excellent starting point.
With a classic design and pared-back color scheme, this 21st birthday invitation is perfect for a young man taking his next step into adulthood.
Your birthday invitation should also encapsulate what kind of party it will be. If it’s a large birthday extravaganza you may want to use bold, bright colors, while a low-key brunch may call for a more muted color scheme. If the party will have a theme, this can be incorporated into the design of the invitation through the use of icons and illustrations.
The elegant cursive font and a gorgeous rose border of this design are fitting for a 60th birthday lunch.
When creating an adult’s birthday party invitation, it’s important to consider the following:
Whether it’s to celebrate a special occasion, bring in the new season or simply to catch up with old friends, there are many reasons you might decide to throw a dinner party. This type of event has its own unique protocol which should be considered when designing your invitations.
Firstly, it’s important to determine what type of dinner it will be. Will it be a sophisticated, multi-course affair or a casual, picnic-style feast in your backyard? Both your text and design should work together to convey this through your invitation.
This invitation for a sophisticated dinner soiree can easily be repurposed with your own colors and fonts.
Design tip: While dinner parties tend to be thought of as the pinnacle of ‘adulting’, that doesn’t mean you can’t have a bit of fun with your invitations. If your dinner party has a theme (for example, you’re serving a certain type of cuisine), don’t be afraid to reflect this through the design of your invitation through the colors, icons, and font you use.
With dinner party invitations, it’s customary to include the menu — to ensure your guests know what to expect and sufficiently whet their appetite! It’s also a good idea to clearly state what your guests are expected to bring along if anything.
This dinner party has a karaoke theme, so the creator has used the structure of a song as a creative way to lay out the menu, as well as a fun, bright color scheme and music-related icons.
When creating a dinner party invitation, it’s important to consider the following:
So, you’ve moved into a new house and you’re ready to make it feel more like a home by celebrating with your loved ones. Before you start designing your invitation, decide what type of housewarming party you want to have. Whether it’s an informal BBQ, raging house party or a sit-down dinner, make sure you make it abundantly clear through the design and text of your invitation. Otherwise, you might end up with house guests who refuse to leave at midnight, when all you really want is to go to bed!
From the text used to the icons of the animals and warm color scheme, every aspect of this invitation makes it apparent that the housewarming party is a BBQ in the backyard.
Design tip: Houses and keys are common motifs in housewarming party invitations. You can experiment with these by using icons and illustrations or even creating your invitation in the shape of one!
This housewarming invitation uses the recurring motif of the key, not only in their text but also in the eye-catching larger icon and smaller icons used in the corner.
When creating a housewarming party invitation, it’s important to consider the following:
If you’re getting into the festive spirit year by holding your own Christmas gathering, you may want to consider creating your own invitations. However, people celebrate the holidays in many different ways, so it’s important to decide what you want your party to be before you start designing your invite.
This simple yet effective Christmas party invitation clearly communicates what the event will involve.
Will it be a casual Christmas Eve dinner, an Ugly Sweater party or a sit-down roast lunch? The answer to this question should guide your design.
Design tip: While red and green are considered the ‘official’ colors of Christmas, don’t be afraid to experiment with different shades and tints to give your invitation some personal flair.
Instead of using the usual primary colors of red and green, this Christmas party invitation opts for variations of black, white, and gold to create a more chic feel.
When creating a Christmas party invitation, it’s important to consider the following:
Nobody ever really wants to create an invite for a funeral but is a good opportunity to commemorate the loss of a loved one. While there is no “correct way” to invite guests to a funeral, some people opt to invite people over the phone and then send details in the form of a print or digital invite, that can then be shared on.
The most important considerations when it comes to designing funeral invitations are respect and sensitivity. This is a serious and solemn event, so bright colors generally aren’t appropriate. Instead, it’s better to opt for more muted colors like black, blue and white.
Flowers are a visual expression of love, sympathy, and respect, so these are commonly used in funeral invitations like this one.
Of course, it’s also important to ensure that the invitation celebrates the person in all their uniqueness. So, if you knew the deceased personally, you may want to consider their personal tastes and preferences when designing the invitation to their funeral.
Design tip: Funeral invitations are often kept by guests as a keepsake to honor their memory. Photographs can add a more personal touch, such as a beloved image of the deceased or a landscape that they loved.
The background of this template could easily be swapped out with an image of a landscape the person loved, whether that’s a specific beach, a mountain or their hometown.
When creating a funeral or memorial invitation, it’s important to consider the following: