What are your best tips for birthday party invitations? (What to include, where to make them online, etc?)
Always check around for online promotions at sites like Cardstore, Treat, and Tiny Prints. It seems like they are always offering a discount on their products. And sometimes you can even find Freebies. For instance, for the next 3 days Folded Words (Walgreens new premium card division) is offering 10 Free cards, you will just pay shipping (around $4.99). You could make invitations with these or opt for after party Thanks Yous, all for around just $0.50 a card
I always approach birthday party invitations with the belief that the invitation sets the expectation. I like it to be in the spirit of the party, which always means fun! In my opinion, it should also be tied to whatever theme is being used to celebrate. Sometimes this is simply a matter of color palette but other times it may include motifs such as zoo animals, or a dinosaur, or a ticket to a county fair. I love printed cards and papers to i goo "all out" with my invitations--they are always snail mailed and often come in more elaborate forms such as a mini book or an accordion card. I design all my invitations myself so I can customize them, but there are fabulous invites to be found on Etsy, many of which include "editable text" or customizations to tailor them for your party. In addition to the essential details of day, date, time and location, I like to include a note about what else to expect--lunch? swimming? a trip to the zoo? Anything parents might appreciate knowing before they arrive.
If you're in Canada, I suggest the online service from www.VistaPrint.ca. They have hundreds of invitation templates that are very customizable. You can often get upwards of 80% off if you watch the site regularly. While the cost of the actual invitations is really reasonable, they can get you on the shipping charges. So here's the trick: don't wait until the last minute. Sure, you can get invitations delivered in two days - but you're gonna pay through the nose. Better to give yourself a month and choose the cheapest (slowest) delivery method. In my experience - and I've been using the service for four years and have had invitations, thank you cards, and family "notecards" made - the delivery time is much faster than what you've paid for. Be sure to put the date, time and location, plus who the party is for and how old s/he's turning. Add an RSVP date, but know that not everyone will RSVP (but will show up) and some with RSVP and be no-shows. Leave a phone number or email address where people can reach you. And, if the directions to the location are particularly tricky, I like to add those to the back of the invitation. And - most important - don't forget to order one extra for your child's baby book/keepsake box. :)
If they can read and write I think home-made party invitations are great. The kids love to show off their artwork and what better way to do it! Just buy high quality paper and some colored envelopes and let them do the rest!
I am a photographer, so I almost always make my children's birthday invites with a recent photo of them. An extremely beautiful and cost-effective way to do this is by opening a photo in your editing software, typing the information directly onto the photo, getting prints and mounting them on some coordinating cardstock. http://estellelle.blogspot.ca/2012/09/invitations.html
I love to browse Etsy for invitations that match my son's party theme. You can seriously find the cutest invites at a reasonable price. All you have to do is order the invite and the shop owner will email you the invite. Then you save it to your computer and print at your favorite photo shop. Walmart and Costco can be really cheap and get your invites out fast!
I am usually behind schedule as far as sending out birthday invites, so getting them printed somewhere is definitely not an option. I always let the kids make their own - they can create them on the computer and print them or use some of the billion scrapbooking products I have around the house. I make sure that they include their name & age, our address (or party location), my name and phone number. They enjoy making their own and adds to their excitement about their upcoming party.
I love to create my own invitations. Before my son became a tweenager, he would help me design his party invites. We would use cardstock, construction paper, and embellishments purchased from the dollar store. The guests loved our fun and one of a kind designs.
Visit the dollar stores, they are a chock full of ideas and inspirations. Sometimes they have the cutest birthday invites. You can get 8 to 10 invites for $1 with envelopes.
I bought plain invites and decorated them with stickers that matched the theme of the party.
I purchase mine from Etsy. I can usually find exactly what I'm looking for, they are personalized, and the seller will either send them digitally for me to email out or print myself. I've also had them printed out by the seller if I'm running out of time and they always look great!