What are Open House Invitations?

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  • Written By: Jessica Ellis
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 11 October 2019
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Open house invitations are notices for neighbors and guests of an upcoming party or event. An open house celebration is typically held upon moving into a new home, but may also be a celebration of a remodel or addition built on to an existing home. Some people hold open house parties to celebrate holidays or important events, such as graduations. Open house parties can be a great way to meet neighbors, reconnect with friends, or break in a new location with a good party.

Commonly, open house invitations are distributed to friends, relatives, and neighbors. They can be homemade, printed from a computer, or be formal party invitations. At a basic minimum, they must include the date and time of the party, as well as the host’s contact information. From there on the details of the invitations can easily be customized to suit any kind of event.

Customarily, open house parties have hours set in which guests will be welcome, though guests may arrive or leave at any point during those hours. Because these gatherings are largely informal, this allows guests to drop by without being worried about a formal start time. To accommodate such a broad schedule, hors d’oeuvers, snacks, or buffet-style dining is usually more suitable than a sit-down meal. It may be wise to specify the level of formality of the party in the open house invitations, so that guests will be aware of attire requirements as well as food availability.


If a specific occasion is being celebrated, such as a high school graduation, include the nature of the occasion on open house invitations. Etiquette experts have a long-standing argument about placing gift information or requests on invitations; it may be wise to avoid the issue altogether and simply answer guests personally if they whether a gift should be brought.

Some open houses are potlucks, in which each attending guest brings a dish or beverage to share. Open house invitations for potlucks should include the information that a dish is requested as part of the celebration. Be certain to include a phone number where guests can contact you to coordinate shared food and drink items. Generally, the host provides at least one main dish to serve the entire party, as well as all tableware, glassware, and cutlery.

Open house invitations should be warm and friendly and reflect the desired mood of the party. If the gathering is meant to be relaxed and informal, avoid using fancy handwriting, velvet ribbons, or overly formal language on the invitation. Such invitations can serve as a good indication of what the party will be like, and ideally will entice guests to join the fun. Whether made at home with the kids, or custom-ordered from a professional, these invitations can go a long way towards getting the party started.


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Post 3

Custom invitations for an open house add a nice touch, but if the gathering is a casual affair then the invitation's design and look should reflect this. Overly showy invitations can be misleading and intimidating for a neighborhood barbecue or other casual party.

Post 2

Whenever someone new moves into one of the houses in our neighborhood, one of the members from our neighborhood welcoming committee approaches the family and offers to help them set up an open house party as a way to introduce themselves to the other people in the community.

Committee members provide a list of people in the neighborhood and we even have standard printable open house invitations that can be created from a computer. The committee also helps with party planning and cost. This is a great way to add new members to the community and not have the open house be a burden for the new family.

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