Catered event invitations 101

Key takeaways:

  • Choose your guest list, then create an invitation timeline
  • Consider how formal your event will be when designing invitations
  • Include the “5 Ws” 
  • Request an RSVP so you know how many guests to expect and how much food to order

You’re invited!

Planning big events can be overwhelming. From designing invitations to selecting the perfect caterer, there are many details to consider. 

If creating catered event invitations overwhelms you, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. These strategies and resources will help you make your invites in no time. This way you can focus on party decor or deciding on a great catering menu.

Make a guest list and invitation timeline

First, consider your guest list. Give yourself a few days to make it and review it. You may realize that you forgot a name or two or included someone you know can’t make it. 

Once you know who is on the guest list, you will be able to establish a timeline of when to start sending out invitations. If your list includes coworkers, you may want to place your order for catering a few weeks ahead of time. If your invitations are going to out-of-town guests, you’ll want to provide ample time for them to receive the invitation and make plans and arrangements to attend.

Typically, out-of-town or out-of-state guests should receive invitations around three months in advance. If it’s a big event consider sending a save-the-date even earlier. Local guests should receive invitations six to eight weeks before the event. 

Invitations are indications

Typically, the formality of an event is reflected in the event invitation. Black-tie gala event invitations may arrive several months before the event handwritten in calligraphy. They are usually austere in appearance, contain proper language, and provide thorough details about the event. 

A children’s birthday party invitation, on the other hand, is commonly a one-sided card with colorful graphics. The information may be scribbled onto pre-provided blank spaces, and most likely, it was hand-delivered just a few days before by the parent. 

The point here is that the style and tone you use in your invitations should give attendees an idea of what the event ambiance will be like. Think of your event’s purpose.  Is it a corporate business luncheon? If so, you may want to opt for a professional, clean invitation design. If it’s a family celebration, your invitations will be casual and fun

The catered food will follow this sentiment. You can work with your caterer to select a laid-back meal plan for a more informal gathering, while you’ll want to select more gourmet catering options if your event is upscale. In the end, the formality of the event will dictate the look and feel of the invitation. 

The information to include on event invitations 

There are a few basic pieces of information that every event invitation should have. If you leave out crucial information, your guests could arrive at the wrong place or miss the event completely! To avoid these mistakes, keep your invitations practical and include all the necessary info. 

A good basic system to follow when creating invitations is to review the 5 Ws:

  • WHO – Let your guests know who is hosting the event. Be sure to let them know if they can bring a guest, if their clients are invited, or if children can attend.
  • WHAT- Give invitees an idea of what type of event it is so they know what to expect and what to bring.  Let them know if there are scheduled meetings and if you’ll be serving a catered lunch or meal.
  • WHEN- Be sure to include both the date and time for your celebration or meeting. Some guests may need to re-arrange their schedule or plan for a babysitter. Give them plenty of advanced notice about the day of the event and expected arrival time. It can also be useful to share the start and end times of the event so guests know when the event will be over.
  • WHERE- Include the location of the luncheon or party on the invitation. Go beyond just sharing the address – share the apartment or office number and room number if applicable. Plus, you can include GPS directions or even provide links for digital access to the location. 
  • WHY- What is the purpose of your gathering? Is it a celebration? Is it a business function? This will give your guests a better idea of what the itinerary of your event is and how long it might run for. 

There are a few other pieces of information you may want to include on your invitations so that guests feel comfortable and arrive with everything they need. 

  • Dress code
  • Type of food being catered (find out allergies beforehand)
  • Special instructions (where to park, what to bring) 

Where to get event invitations

If you’re looking to print out your invitations or have them professionally printed, try these websites:

If you’d like to send out digital invitations, here are some websites to use: 

You can also purchase invitations at a local paper store or general retailer. They’ll have great options you can fill in by hand or print from your printer. 


You should request an RSVP from guests to know how many people to plan catering and other activities for. This will be helpful as you choose the caterer and menu, the venue, and the number of party supplies you need.  

Place your catering order

Creating stellar event invitations should be a fun part of the event-planning experience! Pick your guests, choose invitations that match the event style, and include the right information. This way attendees will know exactly what to expect at your upcoming soiree. 

Most importantly, don’t worry! While you’re busy planning your amazing event, we’ll get busy preparing the perfect catered menu for your guests. We’ll take care of determining the right quantity of food to order for your event, and combining the best food options so party-goers have a variety of delicious options to choose from! 

Contact us to get your party started.