Choosing the Right Invitation

One of the first things when planning a party is to think about the invitation. Luckily, there are a few options these days. All fall under 2 mains types: 

  1. Traditional Paper
  2. Digital

Ok. Let's break these two down a little further. And yes, I will be addressing invitations for virtual parties too. But back to these two main types of invitations. Let’s start with Traditional invites.


Traditional invites are the good old physical, post it in the mail and wait for the RSVP’s to come in. Now in this category you also have choices.
1. Pre-Designed and Printed

These are the ones that you buy from the shops and fill in the details by hand yourself.

  • Can be fun for people, especially younger ones, who love the idea of having a little ownership in writing the party details.
    • It may be time consuming writing all the details.
    • The handwriting will look different to any other fonts on the invite.
    • If you don’t see people on your guest list regularly and cannot hand it to them, you will have to pay for postage.
      2. Pre-Designed Template with Personalisation option

      This option is fairly broad, you can get invites printed from websites like Etsy or Vistaprint. Sites like Vistaprint work more with templates. You have control over removing and adding items as you see fit. You pay and they print, then you just wait for them to arrive. On Etsy, for the most part, you have the downloadable PDF templates that you can add your party details to -with their font. You cannot adjust other items on the template as most designers have intellectual copyright. (There are also designers on Etsy that offer complete custom designs- more on that below) The you can print off as many as you need. Or some designers prefer to gather your details and they will add it in for you, print and send you a hard copy. Just make sure you read the description. It can be frustrating for both sides if you expect a physical printed set of invitations when it's actually a digital download.

      • You have an invitation that looks cohesive, where it still looks well designed.
      • There are many designs to choose from.
      • If downloading- you may save on printing costs.
      • Having your personal details in beautiful font can still feel personal 
        • Generally, it can still be cost effective.
        • If downloading, you will still need to deal with printing them from home.
        • Can use up time and resources like ink and paper. Also, depending on your printer, the quality may not be as good.
        • While cost effective, you still need to factor in the cost of envelopes and postage.

          Birthday Invitation by Pink Pom Pom Kids. Jen is a designer and has a beautiful range of invitations for you to choose from. Or ask for a custom design. Shop her range here.
            3. Custom Designed

            This is where you get the cake, the cherry and the cream all to yourself option! A custom designed invite is when you hire a designer (usually a graphic designer) to create a your invitation to your personal wants and they expertise.

            Remember, those who offer full customisation know what they are doing and can create some truly amazing invites that will blow your guests away, get them excited and curious as to what  else is in store for the party. They are really worth their weight in gold.

            I should also mention, these designer may also offer Pre-Designed invites with personalisation. It doesn’t mean they have slapped it together, they have still used their time and knowledge to create it. 

            • You have a professionally designed invitation that will perfectly suit your party theme.
            • You don't have to fiddle around with templates, software working correctly, printing issues. No headache here.
            • It's printed and usually all packaged beautifully for you.
            • This option can also be really creative. It may have a 3D element, where a part of the invitation opens up in a unique way.
            • It will not look like ANY other invitation out there. Completely originally and unique. You can't have an invitation make your birthday VIP and guests feel any more special than that.
            • It isn't an option if you decided to put your party together last minute. A designer usually has more than a few jobs to get through. Plus it takes time to create a unique invitation tailored just to your needs.
            • It is the more costly option. Remember you are paying for their expertise and less stress for you. I like to think of the saying "you pay them for the years of experience they have acquired to learn to do the job, not the few days to do it."
            • You still need to then post the invitations or hand them out.


            Digital invitations have been around for years. But with the current climate and virtual parties becoming a new norm, many are just discovering this option. It is when an invitation is sent via the internet- usually email or sms. and it opens to reveal an invite just like you would see in your letter box. This isn't the same as the digital downloads you would get from Etsy. It is all run through a website like Paperless Post or Evite.

            You simply sign up. Search and select the invite you like. Then fill in the details of the party, guests emails/mobile numbers and off they go! The guests can then RSVP on the spot.


            • Great for those with low budget, there are many options that are free.
            • You don't need to worry about posting anything.
            • You don't have to buy envelopes, or pay for printing.
            • You have the option to customise the look of the invitation.
            • You can gather information such as how many guests will be attending, how many are children etc.
            • You can upgrade elements if you wanted to make things extra special.
            • It gives you live data, like who has opened the invitation and when, who has replied, which emails bounced back.
            • It is the most sustainable, eco-friendly option.
            • You need to have an email address for each household.
            • Can be difficult for older family members who prefer a physical invitation they can easily see- like putting it on their fridge.
            • You may have to pay for some premium features.
            • You can't keep a physical memento for those milestone events, like first birthdays.
            Virtual party invitations

            With virtual parties now on the sharp rise, sites like Paperless Post and Evite, now have specific invites or flyers, for virtual parties where you can either enter the URL you will be hosting the virtual party. Or the added option to host it through their site (like Evite) Regardless, if you are having a virtual party, there are still options for you to 'formally' invite your guests. So it still feels like a party.

            So there you go. I hope this has helped you decide which option is best suited to your needs. As you can see, each option has it's own pros and cons. But doesn't mean you can't find the best one for YOUR party and budget needs. If you like this blog and want more, leave me a comment below.

            Otherwise if you haven't already signed up for your FREE Mermaid Party Planning guide, head here.


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