This post is part of the Party Primer Series. Answers to all of your party and event planning questions.
Now that your guest list is set, its on to the fun part – invitations!
There are about a million ways you can invite someone to a party, from custom designed formal wedding invitations, to a quick phone call before a cookout. The important thing to keep in mind with invitations is that they are generally the first impression someone is going to have of the party.
So, keeping this in mind, it is important that they fit the theme and tone of the event. A formal wedding is going to have a swankier invitation then a three-year-olds birthday party (most of the time). It’s also your first chance to play with your party’s theme – so have fun with it.
What kind of invitation should I send?
For formal events an invitation should traditionally be mailed to the guests homes. There are dozens, if not hundreds, of websites out there where you can design your invitations and have them printed. These are generally the most expensive types of invitations, and there is not set price range. It depends on the printer you use. You can also design and print your invitations at home, but this is not always a less expensive option. Depending on the event, you may also have a response card for guests to mail back, or include a phone number or email address for guests to contact with their responses.
A few of my favorite sites for printed invitations
For more casual impromptu events like dinner parties and birthdays, my favorite way to send invitations is with an online evite service. These fun sites allow you to design an invitation that looks a pretty as the printed versions, then emails them to your guest list. They also have great tools for tracking your RSVPs. Sometimes these are completely free and sometimes there is a charge associated. You can also design a simple invitation in a program like Word and email it out to your list for free.
A few of my favorite sites for online evites
When should I send them?
For a formal party like a shower, wedding, etc. invitations should be sent out 6 to 8 weeks before the event. Since you are probably asking for RSVPs for this type of event, make sure the invitations are set to arrive soon enough that guests have 3 to 4 week before the RSVP deadline.
Invitations to a more casual party the invitations should be sent out 4 to 6 weeks before the event. Again, make sure your guest have a few weeks in between receiving the invitation and the RSVP deadline.
If you’re e-mailing an invitation, whether though an online service or just via regular email, try to send it out two to three weeks before the party and at a very minimum 4 to 5 days before the event.