Invitations are perhaps the most overlooked process of party planning. They are the announcement of your upcoming event, they notify guests of the theme, date and time and they inspire your guest to attend or not. Too often, invitations are kind of an afterthought, a necessity, but not a priority.
The invitation can make or break a party.
So to throw the ultimate bash, you must spend some time making the invitations. A well designed and creative invitation will impress upon your guest the quality of the party they are invited to. It evokes excitement and sets the tone for what is to come. I have had more turnout success by having sent an impressive invitation than one that is completely store bought with no personalization.
So you don't have a creative bone in your body? And you don't want to spend hours making handmade cards? It doesn't take a really creative person with time on their hands to make a great invitation. Here are some tips and ideas to get you started.
Store bought invitations
I recently visited Party City in search of invitations for my son's 7th birthday party. I was surprised to find the largest selection of party invitations I've ever seen. Not only are there isles of themed party decorations for every Disney Character and Cartoon favorite, but they also have on staff someone who can personalize invitations to fit your needs. I wandered around the corner and found a rack floor to ceiling with fun and different invitations for almost any party theme you could imagine.
I have, on many occasions, purchased these types of invitations and personalized them. You will find what you need for personalizing your invitations at stores that carry scrapbooking products like Archivers on North Academy or Hobby Lobby with various locations around town. Hobby Lobby has sales on scrapbooking items pretty much every week, so keep an eye out.
You'll want to bring in one of the invitations so that you can color match your paper and stickers for the best presentation. Buy some card stock paper to make inserts that will cover the "date, time, place" portion of the invitation- you may want to have a colored paper and a white or cream paper. Find some stickers the match the theme of your party- preferably stickers that are dimensional so that they "pop". Buy a "tape runner" that is specifically for card making and scrapbooking. You may want to invest in a "paper trimmer/cutter" to make things easier and for more precise straight cuts.
On your computer, type the party information (Date, time, place, RSVP, and party details) in a fun font and color. This can be done using a Powerpoint program or Excel program where you have the option to cut and paste the info and utilize the whole page. You may have to play with the sizing a little before getting it just right to insert in the invitation. Once you have these printed, just cut them to size, insert them over the existing "date, time, place" location and add your stickers. This actually saves you from hand writing every invitation and looks professional and neat.
Computer Designed Invitations
This is another great way to create a unique and fun invitation. You will need a Powerpoint Program ideally. But this can be done on Word or Excel programs with a little more effort.
Buy some 8x11 paper that has a pattern to match your party theme on one side and that is white on the back. I pull images from places like Google Image to design the invitation according to the theme. Find an image that you can stretch across the whole 8x11 page as the background. Play with the color if needed, make it dimmer or watermark so that you can see the writing that will describe the event. Then add a text box that has all the party details. Add some more photos or clip art that go along with the party theme or find some stickers at the scrapbooking store. Fold the invitation and tie it with a ribbon or close it with a sticker. These can be hand delivered or placed in an envelope and mailed.
Another way to get the word out about your party is by creating an invitation online at one of the many websites that help you to design, send and collect RSVPs for your party. Evite and Smilebox are a couple of big ones that have plenty of templates and designs to choose from. Smilebox allows you to upload photos which would be a great idea for a party that is annual. You can upload photos of parties past to remind guests of how much fun it was and to inspire guests who missed last year's party to make it this year. These are both FREE websites and it only takes minutes to create cards and invitations.
While this is a great way to get the word out about your party, you could use this in conjunction with the mailed or hand delivered cards to make the best impact. A physical invitation is great for a constant visual reminder of the upcoming party. It can be posted on their refrigerator or bulletin board.
Make sure to give plenty of notice. Usually 2 weeks is a rule of thumb. Then, a reminder a few days beforehand is helpful. This can be done by phone or e-card. People usually wait until the last minute to RSVP so this could be a way to collect more confirmations.
Remember that about 30% of your invited guests will actually make it to the party, but by making the invitation something to be remembered and by following up, your turnout can be better than expected.