Your invitation might not be the most glamorous part of party planning, but it certainly is important. It’s also a key step in the initial stages of your planning. Before you send out your invitation, you need to finalize party details and build your guest list. Once you do, you’ll be able to deliver a thoughtfully designed invitation to your guests.
Invitation design can be fun, too. You can use your invitation to showcase the party theme and provide important details to guests. Invitations can even help connect guests before the event if you opt for a virtual invitation.
Follow this guide to discover the best strategies for designing perfect party invitations that are equal parts stylish and informative.
Whether you’re hosting a casual get-together or a formal dinner party, invitations are the most effective way to send details about your event. While a last-minute get-together with your neighbors probably doesn’t warrant formal invitations, more official gatherings certainly do. Sending invitations deliver a few key advantages:
- Guests have important details about your event accessible in one place.
- You can send out details with the click of a button if you opt for e-invitations.
- Invitations convey the theme and tone of your event more effectively than word-of-mouth invites.
In today’s digital age, you can deliver invitations in a variety of ways. While the paper invitation is certainly still an option, you have other digital methods to consider as well. So, choose which type of invitation is best for your event because the invitation style dictates many of the other decisions you’ll have to make.
Paper invitations are classic and never go out of style. They’re completely customizable, making them easy to personalize for your event. They also are available in a variety of price points, ranging from store-bought fill-in-the-blank invitations that you can complete and send to personalized printable invitations customized exclusively for your event.
- Pros: Endless personalized options allow for customization
- Cons: Cost, including design, printing, and postage
If you prefer a more high-tech approach to inviting your guests, opt for e-invitations. You can find a variety of websites with many invitation designs, which you can customize with your party details. Many of these sites offer free invitations, with some upgrades available for a modest fee. Then, you can deliver the invitations to your guests via email.
Alternatively, if you’re design inclined, you can create your own e-invitation and then distribute it via email. This option gives you total flexibility, allowing you to create a design well suited for your guests.
- Pros: Free or inexpensive to design
- Cons: Some guests might overlook an emailed invitation
Social Media Invitations
If social media is your preferred method of communication, you can send invitations out this way, too. Sites like Facebook make it easy for users to design event invitations, which you can keep private so only your selected guests can see it. You don’t have a lot of flexibility in your design options on social media, but you can always upload photos or images to enhance your event page. Plus, these invitations allow your guests to interact, ask questions, and get to know each other––if they don’t already.
- Pros: Ability for guests to connect virtually before the event
- Cons: Excludes guests who may not have social media accounts
Add the Details
Once you’ve chosen an invitation style, it’s time to personalize your invitation so that guests have all of the details you need about the event. First, start with the basics and include the following information:
- Type of event – Identify the event so that guests know what to expect
- Date – Don’t forgot to include the day of the week
- Time – Include both start time and end time, if you have one
- Location – Identify the location by name and address
- RSVP information – Provide name and phone number or email address
While you can certainly stop there, you can also add other information to your invitation to give your guests even more details. First, consider elaborating on the theme so that guests know precisely what to expect. For example, if you’re hosting a dinner party, you can further enhance the invitation by providing more details about the theme or type of food. Instead of saying “Join us for dinner,” your invitation can say “Join us for a backyard barbecue… .”
You can incorporate other key details into the party invitation as well. Think about what, if anything, guests might need to bring to the event. A pool party might call for guests to bring their swimsuits and towels, for instance. If you have a dress code or want guests to contribute something to the party, the invitation is the spot for sharing that information too. Guests will appreciate the details you include so that they know exactly what to expect at your event.
While the content of your invitation is the most important because it tells guests where to go and what to expect, the design of the invitation has the most impact. So, an effective invitation is one that’s well-designed with your event in mind, while offering all of the important details.
Draw on several factors to discover your design inspiration, including the following:
- Color scheme – If you have a color scheme for your event in mind, incorporate those same colors into the invitation for a seamless look from start to finish. Color scheme-inspired invitations work well for bridal showers and baby showers, for example.
- Theme – If you’re hosting a theme party, carry that theme all the way to your invitations. If you’re hosting an ‘80s-inspired bash, opt for bright colors and retro graphics on the invitation. A Hollywood-themed event can feature a red carpet-inspired design with glamorous accents.
- Occasion – Let the occasion dictate your invitation design. Birthday invitations, for instance, can showcase the guest of honor’s age or classic party-themed designs. A baby shower invitation can follow a pink or blue scheme with baby-inspired accents.
- Photos – Many invitations can even be customized with a photo. Showcase the guest of honor on the invitation for a truly personalized touch. An engagement party invitation, for example, can feature a picture of the happy couple, or a first birthday invitation can showcase an image of the growing youngster.
Your designed invitation features all of the details about your event, along with a design that conveys even more information. Now, all that’s left to do is deliver those invitations so that your guests can put the event on their calendar.
Make sure guests get their invitations at least two to three weeks before your party. Give them even more notice if you’re planning an event during a busy time of year, such as around Christmas or another holiday like Memorial Day or Labor Day. Then, set an RSVP deadline of about a week to 10 days before your event. That way, you’ll have plenty of time to prepare for the right number of guests, securing food and drink that will satisfy your crowd.
Obviously, your method of delivery will play a role in when you choose to distribute invitations. Consider transit time when mailing your invitations to ensure they get there with plenty of time for guests to prepare. E-invitations and social media events are delivered with the click of the button, so you can send them whatever day you’re ready.
Invitations are your guests’ introduction to your party. As a result, you want them to convey the tone of the event and provide all relevant details. Plus, it can generate excitement about your event and, in the case of e-invitations and social media invitations, they can connect guests long before they walk through your door.
The time you invest in designing your invitations is time well spent. As you design them, you’re also brainstorming about your event, envisioning all of the details. Consider invitation design the first step in your party planning process. Use those inspirations, which may include the theme, color scheme, or tone of your event, to continue the party planning process. When you do, you’ll design a seamless event that guests will appreciate, from the moment they receive the invitations to the moment they say goodbye at the end of the party.