How Do I Word Cocktail Party Invitations?

cocktail hour image by Steve Johnson from

The way a cocktail party invitation is worded will be the first step in setting the tone of the party. The invitation should encompass all information a guest would want and need to know prior to attending the party. The wording, along with design and theme of the invitation, will give the guests the first glimpse of what to expect of the occasion.

Provide Important Information

Each individual invitation does not need to name each guest if it does so on the envelope. Whether the guests' names are specified on the envelope or actual invitation, all invitees should be addressed specifically. If you are allowing the invitee to bring a guest of his choice, address either the envelope or invitation to Mr. Smith and Guest.

Simply state the reason for the party or the occasion if applicable. For example, a birthday cocktail party could read, "Please join us at our home for a cocktail party in honor of John's 30th birthday." Don't go into too much detail, merely tell guests the information they need to know prior to attending.

Disclose pertinent information such as the date, time and location of the event. For example, ask guests to join you for cocktails in celebration of John's birthday at your home on May 1 at 8 in the evening.

Dress code is a key point to convey, as cocktail parties can range from casual to very formal. For a more formal dress code, state in the invitation, "Guests are encouraged to wear formal party attire to this event." Or simply write, "This event is black tie optional."

Tone Tells All

The tone and formality of the wording will be essential to cluing guests in on the type of party you are throwing. Even if certain details like dress code are omitted, the phrasing used can be enough to tip guests off.

For example, beginning the invitation by stating, "You are cordially invited to a cocktail party in my home on May 1 in honor of Mr. John Smith's 30th birthday celebration," gives the impression of a formal event due to the formality of phrasing.

In contrast, opening the invitation wording by saying, "You are invited to ring in John's 30th at a party at my home on May 1. Join us for cocktails and celebrating at 8:00." This more casual wording gives the receiver the impression that the event is more laid-back. Ensure you are sending the appropriate message when wording your invitation.