Hostess Secrets: A Step-by-Step Guide to Informal Invitations

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Every good hostess knows that to pull off a spectacular dinner party you must plan ahead. Menu planning, tablescapes, and home decoration are all thought of well in advance.

But, what makes a good hostess great is the one who knows the subtle art of informal invitations.

When are Informal Invitations Used?

The vast majority of the time you will use an informal invitation to request the company of a guest.  I dare say, 95% of the time, an informal invitation is appropriate

The exceptions are weddings, baby showers, religious ceremonies (i.e. Christenings, Baptisms, Bat Mitzvahs), and major milestones (i.e. 40th birthday or 20 year anniversary).

How Do I Extend Informal Invitations?

Over the years I’ve settled into a rhythm for informal invitations that is easy, effective, and low stress.

Most importantly, it still gives friends and family the attention and forethought they deserve.

An informal invitation doesn’t mean you are half hazard about the way you request other’s time.  It simply means you are not mailing a formal hard copy save the date card, invitation, and RSVP card.

It is important to note that while you may not be creating a large paper trail, you are still hitting all of the targets.  Here’s my method.

The Pre-Invitation

Step 1: Send a greeting card.  At the end of your message simply say, “We should get together again soon” or “We’ll be having a get together later in the summer.  I’ll send you more details when we have the date”.

Why send a greeting without a solid date and time for an event?  Because its a classy and thoughtful way to build and maintain relationships.

You never want to make someone feel like they’re just a name in your address book.  It’s important to make sure people know that you care about how they’re doing.

Let them know that you want to celebrate important events in both your life and theirs together.

There is always an occasion to send a greeting card.  Birthdays, holidays, new babies, engagements, graduations, the list goes on.  I reiterate, there is always a reason to send a card

It does not matter if your card goes out weeks or even months beforehand.  Consider this the pre-invitation.

It lets people know that you’re thinking about them and intend to host them soon.

For a while, in the early 2000s the masses chose to forego the traditional greeting card for e-greetings because the cost of sending cards to 20 or even 10 people was unreasonable.

But, if you’re familiar with the mission of Dianne Decor, you’ll know I do everything on a small budget.  This includes buying real greeting cards.  My favorite place to buy cards, hands down, is Dollar Tree.

I’ve been buying my cards there for the past 10 years.  Every year they seem to get better and better.

In fact, today, August 30, 2018 the new Expressions from Hallmark line is being released in over 6,500 Dollar Tree stores nationwide.

Every store will carry these cards for just $1.00 each.  That is an amazing price for a Hallmark greeting card.

I’ve gotten my hands on a few of them and they’re truly beautiful.  The designs are lovely and they’re made of nice heavy card stock.

They’re the kind of high-quality cards you would expect from Hallmark.  In other stores similar cards may run you $6 apiece.

Dollar Tree will also have cards from Heartline a Hallmark company that will be 2 for $1.00 in every store.

Additional lines such as Joyfully Yours, Hallmark Mahogany, Hallmark Vida, and Hallmark Tree of Life will also be available in select stores.

For more info on their new cards visit

How to Send Informal Invitations

Step 2: Text or Email the Date, Time, and Location

The actual invitation should come by a method that is most convenient for the receiver.  These days it tends to be via text or email.

Both are acceptable and provide the receiver with a written date and time that they can easily add to a calendar.  It’s also great to have something you can reference back to easily without flipping through piles of old mail.

Send this electronic invitation out 2 weeks in advance.

At this point you may begin to receive responses regarding attendance.  If you don’t get a yes or no right away it’s okay.  You’ll follow up to get a final count in step 3.

Before I move on I’d like to mention something that may seem premature.  But, I assure you it is not.

At the time you send out your informal invitations you should also acquire your thank you cards.  These, like the greeting cards, should be paper and sent via postal mail.

Why? Because people took time out of their lives to get dressed, drive to your home, possibly bring a gift, spend time with you, and drive back to their house.  Send them a real thank you card.

After all, they didn’t Facetime into your dinner party.  They physically showed up for you and you should reciprocate that with a physical token of your appreciation.

The Follow Up

Step 3:  Follow up.  This is an easy step.  Three days before your event reach out via phone to anyone you haven’t heard back from yet.

A simple “hey, I’m picking up a few last things for our get together on Saturday, are you guys going to be able to make it?” will suffice.

Tip: Giving your invitee a time-related reasoning for needing an answer is key to getting a yes, or, no on the spot.

Most people understand that you have to plan ahead for food and drinks, so this should be easy breezy.

Always Say Thank You

Step 4:  Thank you.  Send out your thank you cards as soon as possible.  Ideally, these should go out the next day to ensure that your guests receive them within 1 week of visiting.

At this point you can cycle back to step 1 and add another pre-invitation for later on in the year.  It’s that simple.

Over time this method of informal invitations will become second nature.  You’ll be a great hostess and a great friend.


I really hope you liked this post.  If you did please share it with a friend.

Don’t forget to stock up on the Expressions from Hallmark greeting cards at Dollar Tree.  The price can’t be beaten and having a few on hand makes keeping in contact with loved ones really easy.

For more from Dianne Decor follow us on Bloglovin’ and check us out on Twitter.

informal invitations

Hostess Secrets: Informal Invitations
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