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Caution: Big Mistake in Invitations!

In this busy season of holiday invitations, one common mistake is making it difficult to say yes: People are sending out invitations in which the days of the week and the dates do not match. 

I was invited to a Friday night party, but the date on the invitation was Thursday.

An email invitation I received for coffee mentioned Wednesday, but the suggested date matched Monday.

A winter solstice party invitation I received yesterday prominently featured November 21. But the solstice is December 21!

The problem of mismatched dates does not stop at invitations. Today, December 15, I attended an event whose printed program gave the date as December 8.

Let's slow down and breathe. Let's take a quiet moment to proofread our invitations and programs before we click Send or Print. Especially if you are reusing a file from a previous month or year, check the date carefully. Then check it again.

Have you received invitations that made you wonder?

I hope all your parties, meetings, and other events are happy successes!

Syntax Training
PS: It's not too late to get my new book, Business Writing With Heart: How to Build Great Work Relationships One Message at a Time, before year's end. Order it here from me and get an autographed copy with a laminated bookmark, or order it at

PPS: Learn about our upcoming classes, including Proofreading Like a Pro, on our website. 


Posted by Lynn Gaertner Johnson
By Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston has helped thousands of employees and managers improve their business writing skills and confidence through her company, Syntax Training. In her corporate training career of more than 20 years, she has worked with executives, engineers, scientists, sales staff, and many other professionals, helping them get their messages across with clarity and tact.

A gifted teacher, Lynn has led writing classes at more than 100 companies and organizations such as MasterCard, Microsoft, Boeing, Nintendo, REI, AARP, Ledcor, and Kaiser Permanente. Near her home in Seattle, Washington, she has taught managerial communications in the MBA programs of the University of Washington and UW Bothell. She has created a communications course, Business Writing That Builds Relationships, and provides the curriculum at no cost to college instructors.

A recognized expert in business writing etiquette, Lynn has been quoted in "The Wall Street Journal," "The Atlantic," "Vanity Fair," and other media.

Lynn sharpened her business writing skills at the University of Notre Dame, where she earned a master's degree in communication, and at Bradley University, with a bachelor's degree in English. She grew up in suburban Chicago, Illinois.

8 comments on “Caution: Big Mistake in Invitations!”

  • Makes one wonder if they really want us to attend. πŸ˜‰

    Equally frustrating is a wrong phone number or email address.

    The devil is in the details. I guess you could view this as job security, Lynn – or at least fodder for blog posts. πŸ™‚ Wishing you a happy holiday season.

  • Hi, Cathy. Yes, I wondered too. But I think the issue is people simply moving too fast.

    I agree with you about errors in phone numbers and email addresses. And the situation can be worse when that information is NOT included.

    Happy holidays to you too!


  • Of course you don’t want to discourage people from providing the day of the week: “Tuesday, January 7” is more informative than the naked “January 7” that many people seem to think is enough. Once people are in the habit of also providing the day of the week, it serves as a carelessness detector.

  • Hi Lynn,

    Thanks again for the reminder to proofread (and then proofread again!) before sending anything out. Always good advice, but especially timely during the hustle and bustle of the holidays.

    I’d also like to add that, to make it easier for invitees to respond, party planners should include more than one way to contact them in order to RSVP. For example, it is much easier for me personally to write a brief e-mail to let a hostess know of my plans to attend a party, than it is to pick up the phone to make a call. Maybe that’s just the way I am, but I appreciate being able to respond in the way that is most convenient and comfortable for me.

    I like your new profile photo above, Lynn. It exudes the warmth and approachability that already comes through in your writing.

    Happy Holidays!


  • I believe it happens because people use previous invitations to create new ones. I’ve seen a previous year on invitations as well.

  • Hi, Leigh. Thank you for your good suggestion. I should write a blog post about giving people various ways to respond. I was recently invited to a party through Evite, and I could not attend. However, I did not want to decline online. I sent a private email with regrets instead.

    Thank you so much for your compliment on my photo. I had it taken for the back of my book.

    Happy holidays to you too!


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