Homemade invitations also offer the party host a chance to personalize their event right from the start, as well as create a keepsake for their child’s milestone.
Think about whether you want to go with a traditional style of invitation, such as a notecard or postcard, or if you’d rather use a more abstract method of inviting guests. If the party has a theme, you may also consider ways to incorporate this into the invitation. A beach party, for instance, can be conveyed with a piece of paper that is cut into the shape of a circle and decorated to look like a beach ball, or you can write the party details on an actual beach ball. Some design choices to consider include:
- Postcard photo: Print a photo of the birthday child, dressed in an outfit or against a backdrop that reflects the theme, on postcard paper.
- Cut Out invitation: Trace the shape of an item you would like your invitation to be onto colored paper. Things to use for templates include cookie cutters, household items (think a video game controller for a gaming party, a small slipper for a sleepover, or things like jar lids and potholders for basic circles and squares). Another great way to make a template is to print and cut out the shape of an image from a picture or coloring page.
- Homemade Notecard: Cut and fold colored paper into a notecard. Use colored pens, stickers or rubber stamping embellishments to decorate the invitation.
- Paper invitation: There are many decorative papers available in craft stores, so that you can find one in just the right color or design to suit your concept. Choose a size that is compatible with your home printer and you can create the text in the font style of your choice. These invitations can be delivered as flyers, folded to fit into envelopes or even rolled into scrolls.
- Item Invitation: Some ideas for invitations focus very little on a paper style and go instead with an item -- much like the beach ball as a beach party invitation. With the ball, the details are written directly on the item. If that isn’t possible, you’ll have to find a way to add the party details, so a tag or note of some sort is required. You can simply attach a note to the item or get a little creative, depending on the theme. For instance, I’ve seen a pirate party that used a bag of chocolate coins where the party details were rolled up on a small scroll that was “buried” in this bag of treasure.
Delivery is another thing to consider when choosing an invitation design. A message in a bottle is a fun way to invite friends to any nautical themed event, but try placing one in an envelope to mail. If you are able to hand deliver your invitations, size may not be an issue, but for those that need to be mailed, you'll have to consider packaging and postage costs. If this poses a problem, you might want to consider a one-dimensional version of your concept instead.
The great thing about store-bought invitations is that they usually have a cute phrase already printed on the cover. When making your own invitations, however, you’ll have to not only come up with your own wording, but decide where to place it. To create a kid-friendly invitation, try to come up with a heading that instantly introduces your party to guests. This can be as simple as It’s a Princess Party!, or can be personalized to include your child’s name and age:
Princess Kate is turning three
her castle is where you want to be!”
A simple statement or rhyme is all you really need to appeal to kids. Place the heading or phrase on the front or top of the invitation. This tells kids right away what to expect and leaves the inside or back space free for those boring details only their parents need to know.
Convey the Details
Designing a homemade invitation can be a lot of fun creatively, and it’s easy to get caught up in the frills, but it’s also important to remember to convey pertinent party information to potential guests. Sometimes parents need more information than a date, time and location. If the party is scheduled between meal times, for instance, you may wish to indicate whether or not food will be served. Adding specific details such as a phone number parents can call for directions or a note about whether or not parents are required to stay (depending on age group) can help both the parents of invited guests and the party host to avoid confusion. Adding these details ahead of time can not only help the parents of guests plan ahead, but can save you from having to answer questions over the phone (if the invitation politely states, “sorry, but we can’t accommodate siblings,” this can save you the awkwardness of having to deny such a request in person).
I wonder if there is a parent out there somewhere who once upon a time sent out invitations to a party and had every single person call to respond. Often times, there are several people who don’t call to reply, or simply think that a non-response is enough to indicate that they are or aren’t coming. To not have an accurate head count can be frustrating for a party host who needs to plan to have enough food, favors and game prizes for each child, or has to pay per guest at a location out of the home, yet it seems inevitable that some parents simply won’t respond.
When creating your invitations, try to make it as convenient as possible for parents to RSVP. In addition to a phone number, adding an email address and cell phone number with a note indicating that parents can text a simple yes or no to reply may increase the likelihood of responses. Even a social media outlet may find busy parents able to send a quick note when they don’t have time to call.
While providing several options ups the chances of receiving more responses, you should only give as much information as you feel comfortable with (I don’t want the whole second grade to tweet me either!).