I recently sent out the invitations for my twenty-first birthday party. Designing, making & mailing them was an intensive process. I’d forgotten how difficult it can be. But my mission left me thinking about how average invitations today can be. So I thought I might try my hand at writing about them.
Invitations are wonderful inventions. I used to save every single paper invite ever given to me, but in a fit of spring cleaning binned them all a long time ago. An invitation has purpose, firstly to let the reader know that you’re having a celebration or event of some kind, secondly to remind them of the time, date, place, etiquette & dress of the event & thirdly, to invite them. This last bit is important. When you read an invitation it should inspire you, you should feel invited, excited to attend & somewhat thrilled. An invitation should not give away all the details, but should whet the appetites of your potential guests, ensuring that curiosity drives them to attend. Gone are the days of drab Microsoft Publisher-inspired invites full of tawdry clip art & overzealous fonts. While publisher can be an wonderful tool for those into desktop publishing; please, stay away from the templates! There’s no one-stop formula for creating a really sensational invite, its more of an intuitive thing. But do not despair! Here are some lovely ideas that will get your imagination racing & have you reaching for the craft glue & scissors in no time!
Chances are, when you’re the one creating the invite, you’re also the one throwing the party. So let people know that it’s your party! Incorporate a photograph, or your signature, or something you love. There are bound to be certain, specific, things that will prompt your guests to think of you. Do you have flaming red hair for example? Are you a tennis nut? Is your favourite perfume Beautiful? Do you happen to make the best bowl of nachos this side of the hemisphere? If so, let your guests know the invite is from you by incorporating these cues into your invite.
Alternatively, if your throwing a themed party, weave your theme into the invite. This is important for creating that sense of curiosity I mentioned earlier. Get your guests excited by using the invite to suggest your theme & subtlety is nice. You don’t need your invite to list the entire itinerary or what kind of food you’ve prepared. Is your party a tea party? Could you incorporate tea into your invite? Scent (or even stain!) the paper with tea, create the invites with a tea-cup shaped die-cut, send the invite written on a packet of tea (blooming tea would be especially nice!), or send along one of these cute tea infusers. A clip art picture of teapot is just too drab – you & your guests are so much better than that!
Making one hundred invites that are all exactly the same & sending them out can be somewhat boring. Take the time to make your potential guests feel wanted! You don’t have to hand write every single one, but you could include a small handwritten note card in the envelope for example. “I hope to see you there!” or “Maybe we’ll get a chance to finally have that talk about kite-making!” Or go a bit further than that. Print copies of your favourite photos of you and your guests (assuming you know them well enough to have amassed photographs of previous fun!) and send your invites written on the back.
Think outside the box when it comes to the construction & decoration of your invites. They needn’t be written on a bit of paper and stuffed into an envelope. Most surfaces can be written upon. Grab a pen (or brush, or printer, or stamp, or sticker) liberate your sense of creativity & go nuts! Write on cutlery, crockery, napkins, clothing, plastic or vinyl. If using paper, you’re not just limited to normal card stock either. Write on newspapers, photos, handmade paper or pages from an old book. I used to write amorous notes on the back of cheap over-sized playing cards and give them to boys at school….OK, just one boy, but you get the point! Next, consider the delivery of the actual message. Occasion, time, date & place. These are the four key things your guests need to know. You could stitch the details onto fabric (computerised sewing machines make stitching out words in thread very easy), write it backwards, upside down, in another language or in shapely text. For a murder mystery party you could write the words onto individual pieces of paper & seal them in a zip-lock bag labelled “evidence.” Make your guests work for the information!
I guess what I’m trying to point out is that into today’s world of text messages & e-mail & general computer based chatter; we rarely take the effort to communicate with the written word in a tactile manner. Invitations are a wonderful opportunity to communicate with people in creative ways. Receiving invites in the mail inspires childlike excitement & curiosity in us & you can capitalise on this. You have all the inspiration & the creativity you need – now go!
This post was written by Bella Blithely (contact).