Event Planning and Protocol
Invitations Okanagan College


The invitation should answer the questions who, what, why, when, and where. The invitation should provide guests an idea of the nature of the event, whether casual, formal or business attire should be worn. When possible, invitations should be sent out at least six weeks before your event. Designate your response deadline at least one week before the event.

If you use the Okanagan College logo, it should appear on the invitation appropriately (see our graphics guidelines).

Where possible, use electronic (e-mailed) invitations to reduce Okanagan College’s carbon footprint. Use Microsoft Word to send personalized email invitations via mail merge - not sure how? Follow this link for a step-by-step guide.

In some instances, more formal invitations may be required, but in these instances the invitations should be printed on paper certified by the Forest Stewardship Council of Canada.


Public Affairs can assist in the creation of custom materials - the following are three sample invitations: sample one, sample two, sample three.

When drafting your invitation, remember to include:
  • Names of the official hosts
  • Date
  • Program start time
  • Location
  • Whether they may bring a guest
  • Directions to the venue
  • Parking information
  • Rain date and location
  • RSVP method and contact person
  • Dress code

The President's Office should be notified of all events to which external VIPs will be invited in order to determine whether invitations should emanate from the President or the Board. 

Invitation mailing list

Create a spreadsheet using Excel or similar software. Manage your list and use it as a database with categories such as first name, last name, title, and address. This database will be useful in creating name tags, table assignments, etc. If your event is annual, you’ll be able to add and remove names as necessary throughout the year, so it’s always ready to use.

Ask the guest of honor (if you have one) for input on the guest list and compare the size of your guest list with the size of your venue. Consider issuing “courtesy invitations” to people who aren't likely to attend, but would feel honored to be invited. Remember to use campus mail whenever possible to save money.

Co-ordination with the President’s Office and Public Affairs on events and invitation lists is important – it is easy to overburden external VIPs with too many invitations to College-focused events.

RSVP methods

Printed card response: the response card is enclosed in the invitation with an envelope and postage is marked.

Phone response: if you have a large guest list, make sure you can handle the increased volume of phone calls; someone must be available during business hours to receive the calls.

E-mail response: make sure the e-mail address you provide has room in its inbox for all of the responses.

No response: depending on the event you may decide that no response is required. This would be appropriate if you are not serving food, and you are not worried about the size of the crowd.
Quick Links
Event Timeline
Speaking Protocol
Event Plan
Promoting Your Event
Print Materials
Catering and Alcohol
Seating Plan
Greening Your Event
Event Planning Resources
Okanagan College
Event Checklist

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