Like many aspects of event production, the overall purpose and the audience of your event will determine how you approach invitation management.

If you are hosting a formal event, paper invitations sent via mail with enclosed RSVP cards remain the standard. In these cases, try to send out all invitations 8-10 weeks before the event date, with save the date cards mailed (by post or electronically) 16-18 weeks before the event. Document Solutions can help you with your invitation printing needs.

For more casual events, or events open to the public, electronic invitations or public callouts on your website may be more appropriate. Check out the resources under Communicating About Events for help with getting the word out about your event.

Online Invites and RSVPs

  • To send professionally designed emails the University uses the marketing software Eloqua. To acess and use this software you first must attend the training class VI250. To learn more email,, check out this webpage, or visit their help page.
  • On Evite you can choose from a large gallery of online invitations, or design your own.
  • Paperless Post features a broad range of beautifully designed online invites, many of which you can access for free. 
  • WuFoo is a form builder where you can create a custom RSVP for your event. When complete, email the link to your RSVP to invitees, or embed it on your website if you want a public RSVP option.


Advance Registration

Registration for a meeting or event prior to the day of the event; also called Pre-Registration

Black Tie

Required dress is formal; tuxedos for men and evening dresses for women

Business Attire

Required dress is what would normally be worn at the office, i.e., business suits

Casual Attire

Generally considered a middle ground between business attire and street wear, but its definition can vary widely among different organizations

Head Count

Total number of guests at any point in time


An expected guest who does not attend and does not cancel; for University events, a 20% no-show rate is typical

On-Site Registration

Guests register upon arrival at the event

Pending Registration

A registration that is not complete due to lack of payment or completed forms