Event Invitations: Best Practices for Success!
The first impression you can make on your attendees at any event is in your event invitation. Let’s talk about three basic considerations you will need to make before designing your invitations.
This crucial element sets the tone for what’s to come. Many people may think the art of sending an invitation is overrated. However, we are here to tell you that although there are certain steps you should never overlook, it can be a simple process to help you stand out!
When to Send
It sounds simple enough, but allow for extra time in your planning schedule for all print and marketing materials! Delayed theme concepts, unconfirmed honorees, or last-minute registration details are common and may create delays. We recommend sending a minimum of four communications about your event via a variety of mediums. Whether your guests prefer email, direct mail, or social media messages – cover your bases. Here’s an example of an effective communication schedule for a gala:
- Save-the-date: As soon as you have a date and location confirmed, send out save-the-date emails and postcards. Include as many details as you can, but don’t let a lack of comprehensive details delay you from sending a save-the-date! Aim to send this at least five months out from your gala. See this simple example for an idea!
- Invitation: Send an invitation at least nine weeks before your event date. Support your announcement with social media posts, website updates, and more.
- Reminders: Throughout the planning process send email reminders with gala announcements. Include details such as entertainment, honorees, sponsors, etc. to draw up excitement about the event. We recommend sending these monthly from the first save-the-date through the event.
What to Include
- Date, time, and location: Be as detailed as possible by including a brief timeline of the event or ballroom name at the venue.
- Event description: Entice your audience with a short (no more than 50 words) but exciting description of the event and the cause.
- Ticket price and sponsorship opportunities:List ticket and table prices and highlight the benefits.Sponsorships are the lifeblood of gala events, and you need to team up with your major sponsors to make sure they are well-represented at your gala. Consider even listing committed sponsors on your gala invitation, after all, you may get a new sponsor just based on who is already attending!
- How to RSVP: Clearly explain how your invitees can reserve their spot, buy tickets, purchase sponsorships, or learn more.
- How to donate: We don’t want to leave any funds on the table! If they cannot attend, provide supporters with an option to make a donation.
- Dress code: Is it a black tie affair, cocktail, or business? Tell attendees the attire to help them prepare.
- Event theme: Are you planning a roaring 20’s theme? Tell your guests! Many attendees enjoy dressing up! Your invitation design should reflect the theme of the event as well.
- Contact information: Let recipients know how to reach you if they have questions.
How to Stand Out!
- Design a consistent look: Your gala invitation design is just one piece of the gala event puzzle. The design should be applied to all event materials including your website, email, and social media assets, as well as venue signage and sponsorship materials.
- Don’t skimp on design: If the gala invitation design and branding for the event are not inspiring and compelling, people may overlook the event. Hire a graphic designer, invest in interesting paper or design the invitation with a unique size, all of these elements will help you stand out from the crowd! Check out this concept to get started!
- Focus on the outer envelope: Just like other forms of direct mail, your priority is to get a recipient to open the envelope. If the envelope is not eye-catching, your gala invitation may get tossed. To prevent this scenario, we recommend several things: colored envelopes, interesting font types, and non-standard paper sizes.