Event planning can be stressful, especially when there are so many factors to consider, from the venue to the theme. Of course, guests are the cornerstone of any successful event and managing and administrating a guest list can be one of the most time-consuming and stressful parts of organising any event.
The first contact that your invitee will have with your event is the invitation. This is your first opportunity to engage with them and the first and lasting impression you have of introducing your company and your brand. It doesn’t matter how fantastic your event is, if your invitation doesn’t make your invitees want to attend, you’ve already lost people’s attention. How you word your invitation, accept and decline forms and your Aide Memoire determines whether the person will attend your event and how quickly they reply. Worst case scenario? A badly worded or unprofessional invitation that could put your invited guests off completely.
When creating your invitation, think like the recipient of an invite. Decide what will most likely convince someone to attend and what information they’ll want to know before they commit. It’s all about creating the expectation. Then craft your invitation to reflect that.
First impressions count
The following points will help you create an invitation that is sure to make the right impression and set your event on the path to success…
- Start with purpose: While look has become a key focus of invitation design, many invites fail to clearly state the purpose of the event. You need to let your guests know why you’re holding your event in the first place. Give them a reason to join you, whether it’s the event itself, the guest of honour, the speaker, prizes, or the cause.
- Consider the medium: Paper invitations might be popular for personal parties but they can be difficult to manage when it comes to large corporate events. Electronic invites allow for wide distribution, including sharing on social networks, and tracking.
- Set the tone: Your invitation should reflect the event’s theme and level of formality. For more formal events, a simple but elegant design with stylised typeset will work best while for more informal events, you can be more daring and creative in design, layout, and colour. If your event has a specific theme, make it stand out by drawing out an element of the theme in the invitation’s design, image, or wording.
- Copy that: The same ‘tone rules’ go for the wording used on the invitation. Formal events require formal wording while more creative events give you the scope to include rhymes or riddles that reflect the theme and spirit of the event. Whatever the words used, don’t forget to include all the details – date, time, venue, dress code etc. Make sure that these details are displayed clearly to avoid any confusion.
- RSVP highlights: RSVP details should include a clear call to action – you need to tell the reader how to respond. This is also a good opportunity to repeat the reason for your event.
Plan to follow up
Creating the invitation is just the first step. It’s important to plan ahead – invitations should go out 6–8 weeks before the event. You should also allow yourself time for invite design and to plan the guest list. Invite ‘etiquette’ also dictates that sending out the invitation is not the end of the process. RSVPs need to be carefully managed – this includes guests who have not responded and those that have responded with questions or special requests.
Little things like pre-populating your clients name on the accept form can change their perception of your company/brand. It’s a good idea to call guests who have responded positively to confirm their attendance and to follow up with those who have not responded just in case their response didn’t reach you.
Asking guests who have declined the invitation why they are declining, or offering to meet with them personally at another time goes a long way to building a client relationship. Just because your client cannot attend your event doesn’t mean they should not get a copy of the presentation for example, or get the thank you gift.
A helping hand
A spot-on invitation will help to ensure the success of your event. But it can be a time-consuming process that is also only one part of the overall event. As an organiser, you might want to focus your attention on the event itself, not chase after RSVPs.
Need a helping hand getting the invitation wording just right? Or handling the guest lists and RSVPs? The RSVP Agency’s Event Management Software will maximise the success of your event by managing your email invitations and event registration, ensuring the highest possible guest acceptance rate.
The RSVP Agency prides itself on professional RSVP Management. After all, the perfect event starts with the right guests!