How to Write a Birthday Invitation

Four Parts:Including Important InformationMentioning Additional and Sensitive InformationGetting Creative With InvitationsSample Invitation Notes

Birthday parties are fun for kids and adults of all ages, and creating an invitation is an important step in the party planning process, because invitations ensure people know to attend. But if you aren’t familiar with the birthday invitation format, it can be intimidating to write your own for the first time, especially if you’re working with blank invitations or making your own from scratch. The main thing is telling all your guests the most important information, such as when and where the party will be held, so you need to include all of this on the invitation. Once you get the basic format of an invitation and collect all the relevant information, you can start experimenting with fun and creative writing for your invitations.

Part 1
Including Important Information

  1. Image titled Write a Birthday Invitation Step 1
    Tell invitees about the guest of honor and the host. There are five main elements to any invitation, and they are who, what, when, and where. The first element to include on an invitation is who, because people want to know who they’ll be celebrating when they attend the party.[1]
    • To open the invitation, name the person celebrating a birthday. You can say something as simple as, “It’s Karen’s birthday!”
    • Most of the time, the people invited to a birthday party will be close friends and family, so you don’t need more than a first name to introduce the guest of honor.
    • When the host of the party isn’t the guest of honor, you need to introduce the host as well. In case the host isn’t known to all the guests, you can include more information, such as a last name, or the host’s relationship to the guest of honor.
    • For example, you can say “Karen’s sister, Mary, would like you to join her in celebrating.”
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    Explain what the invitation is for. After you tell guests who is celebrating, you must explain what kind of celebration they're invited to. In most cases, it will be a birthday party.
    • Don’t be afraid to include specifics, such as what age the guest of honor will be turning, especially if it’s a milestone birthday.
    • For example, you can say “Karen is turning 40!”
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    Tell guests when the party will be. This is an important element, so you must be specific and detailed. You can't just say Saturday, because then your guests won’t know which Saturday you mean! Include the time and specific date for the party.
    • If the party is only scheduled to go for a certain amount of hours, put that timeframe on the invitation.
    • For instance, you can say “The party is on Sunday, February 29, from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.”
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    Remember to tell your guests where to go. Regardless of whether the party is being held at someone’s house, at a restaurant, at a clubhouse, or elsewhere, you need to provide the name and address of the location. Never assume guests know where the host’s house is, or where a particular restaurant is located.
    • If the party is at Karen’s house, say “The party will be held at Karen’s, at 123 Pine Lane, Maintown”
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    Request that guests RSVP. In case you need to know who will be coming and how many guests there will be, the final line of the invitation should be a call to action for guests, asking that they let the host know if they will be attending.
    • RSVPs were traditionally done by mail, but today, people often prefer responding by phone or email. Be sure to tell guests how you want them to RSVP.
    • A call to RSVP can be as simple as: “Please RSVP to Mary, 202-555-1111”

Part 2
Mentioning Additional and Sensitive Information

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    Mention the dress code. For adult’s and children’s parties, there may be a theme or dress code for the party that you should mention to your guests. Most auxiliary and sensitive information can be included in the last line of the invitation before the RSVP. Dress codes might include:[2]
    • Black-tie if the party is happening at a fine dining restaurant or upscale club
    • A theme if the party is a costume party.
    • Casual if the party will be taking place at someone’s home.
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    Ask guests to pay attention to special instructions. There are several types of parties that require guests to come prepared with certain things, and the invitation should indicate this. Examples include:
    • Pool parties, to which guests should bring swimming attire and towels.
    • Sleep-overs, to which guests may need to bring pillows and blankets.
    • Excursion parties, in which case guests may need tents, sleeping bags, food, and other gears.
    • Hobby parties, where guests may need old clothes, paint brushes, or other craft supplies.
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    Indicate if guests shouldn’t bring additional guests. Some parties lend themselves to plus ones, whereas others simply don’t. For the types of parties where you don’t want guests bringing extras (such as friends, siblings, or significant others), be sure to note this on the invitation. You can say things like:
    • “No siblings, please!”
    • “Please note there is no room for plus ones”
    • “You're invited to an exclusive and intimate party,” which can be worked into the what portion of the invitation.
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    Inform guests of the food situation. This is especially important if guests are expected to bring something to the party, such as with a pot luck. Otherwise, you can mention if you plan to serve a meal, snacks, or just drinks, and that way guests will know if they should come hungry, peckish, or full.
    • You can also use this time to ask guests to inform you about any food allergies or dietary requirements that they have. Ask them to let you know when they RSVP.
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    Indicate if parents are expected to leave or stay at a child’s birthday. For kid’s birthdays, you may want other parents to stay, or you may prefer that they drop their children off and leave. In case you don’t want parents to stay, you can simply say “Please pick your child up at 5:00 p.m.,” or whatever time the party will end. If you'd rather parents stick around, you can say:
    • “Parents are welcome to stay”
    • “Separate adult snacks and refreshments to be served”
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    Mention if it’s a surprise. This is an extremely important element to add to a birthday invitation if the guest of honor doesn’t know the party is happening. The last thing you want is for all your hard work and planning to be ruined because you forgot to tell guests that it was a surprise party! You can explain this by saying:
    • “Karen sure will be surprised!”
    • “Please note this is a surprise party”
    • “Please arrive on time: we don’t want to ruin the surprise!”

Part 3
Getting Creative With Invitations

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    Include a quotation. Whether you want to be serious, formal, funny, or silly, including a quotation is always a great way to personalize a birthday invitation. Quotations, poems, and other creative customizations can go anywhere you like on the invitation, but they're a good way to open or close the invitation. Some famous quotations about age include:[3]
    • “Middle age is when your age starts to show around your middle!” — Bob Hope
    • “Age is strictly a case of mind over matter. If you don't mind, it doesn't matter!” — George Bernard Shaw
    • “Wrinkles should merely indicate where the smiles have been.” ― Mark Twain[4]
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    Write a poem. Poems can be in any mood or tone you like (such as funny, or serious), they can help set the mood or theme for your party, and they can help you convey some of the important information you need to tell guests. Examples of poems include:
    • Funny: “A surprise is in store, Karen’s not so young anymore, come see for yourself on April third, but don’t forget: mum’s the word!”
    • Serious: “Another year has passed, it sure has been great, please join us at the mast, as we join to celebrate, we’ll have a merry time, be at the boat for nine.”
    • Cute: “I’m turning one, won’t it be fun, come see my cake, and the mess I will make!”[5]
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    Say something witty or funny. Everyone likes a good laugh, and this can be especially helpful with people who don’t particularly like birthdays. You can include a funny quotation, poem, joke, or just say something humorous. You can try out something like:
    • “Karen’s turning 39…again!”
    • “Age is not important unless you're a cheese.” — Helen Hayes[6]
    • What goes up and never comes down? Your age![7]

Sample Invitation Notes

Sample Child's Birthday Invitation

Sample Adult Birthday Invitation


  • If you’re asking guests to RSVP, make sure you send out the invitations early enough so that people can respond.

Article Info

Categories: Birthdays | Invitations