As soon as an event is in the planning stages, it is critical to determine the guest list or invitation list with addresses. Once determined, the next step is to develop the invitation. The invitation, or guest’s first notification, creates the first impression of the anticipated event, and also provides the critical information about the event.

The invitation may be hand written or printed by computer. The following is a sample invitation and the key pieces of information to look for in an invitation.

invitationsample1. The “Who” defines the host of the event. This is the first line of the invitation and will indicate who is hosting and if spouses are invited (in formal circumstances).

Using the example above, if spouses were not invited the second line would have read “Colonel John A. Doe” instead of “and Mrs. John A. Doe.”

2. The “What” defines the type of function planned. Examples of events include: a farewell dinner, a change of command ceremony, a reception.

3. The “Why” clearly identifies who or what the event honors. The invitation will state “in honor of” and provide a specific name, conference attendees, or reason for the celebration.

4. The “When” is self explanatory, but take note to read the invitation clearly. The day and hour should be spelled out and only the day of the week and month are capitalized.

5. The “Location” should be clearly stated and specify which room if the event location has more then one room.

6. “Dress and R.S.V.P.” are the final two elements of the invitation, but two of the most important.

Often there will be a graphic used at the top of the invitation which will indicate the rank of the host, or provide them information on the dinner. The number of stars on an invitation is determine by the rank of the host, not by whom you have invited. If the host is not a general officer, the graphic on the invitation will be representative of the officer who is hosting or the standard Wing logo.