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Birthday Invitation - A Really Useful Guide

Aug 17, 2007
All great birthday celebrations start with a birthday invitation. The birthday invitation doesn't just give the recipient the essential information about what, where and when, it sets the tone and spirit of the event. It creates anticipation! If you go about things in the right way, everyone who receives a birthday invitation from you will arrive at the right place, at the right time, in the right dress and fully in the spirit of the occasion. This article is a really useful guide for anyone sending out birthday invitations.

What type of occasion?

Your birthday invitation could be an invitation to a normal birthday party, or a surprise party, or the birthday invitation could be an invitation to an outing at a special location or event. There are lots of possibilities, so take a while to think about what sort of party or event you wish to organise, and where you wish to hold it. Your birthday invitation should then give a flavour of the event, the level of formality and tone.

What type of birthday invitation?

The main point to make here is that you need to think outside of the box--the mail box. These days, birthday invitations can be delivered via e-mail/internet, special delivery, or by conventional mail, and each method will have its own cost implications. The possibilities for the format of your birthday invitation are also wider than you might think.

E birthday invitations are either free or very cheap. They are easily available on the internet and are easy to send. If you decide to send your birthday invitation in this manner then make sure that you have all your recipients' e-mail details.

You can send a birthday invitation on a DVD or computer disc, and there are a number of suppliers that will produce these for you (do a search for Show And Tell Invitations). As you can imagine, the cost of a DVD invitation is likely to be more than for a conventional birthday invitation. Alternatively, you could create this the DVD invitation yourself! All you need is a digital camera that can record digital film, a DVD writer, some basic computer know-how and a dash of imagination. If you don't have all this, perhaps you know someone who does who can help you. These unusual birthday invitations can be great fun to make (you'll be giggling through the first few takes) and offer huge scope for innovation and personalisation of your birthday invitation. They can also be loaded with lots of information, such as maps, visual dress guides, and personalised information to set the tone and spirit of the event. There are no boundaries, you are the director and can be the star in a location of your choosing. DVD invitations can be easily mailed, but they are likely to be a little more costly to mail than a conventional birthday invitation card due to size and weight.

Conventional birthday invitation cards available on the market generally come in the standard rectangular format, but do a bit of research on the internet and you'll find square ones and other shapes. Square, or unusually shaped or over-sized birthday invitations will cost more to mail, so it's best to work out your budget first. The tone and theme of the event will give you ideas for the type of paper to use. For example, a heavy weight linen or smooth creamy paper might be appropriate if you wish to hold a formal or traditional affair, whereas brightly coloured or contemporary designs lend themselves to casual birthday invitations. Traditional invitations are generally printed or embossed with black or gray ink on white or ecru paper, whereas casual announcements can be made on any coloured paper you like, using any ink and often include graphics or photos.

Where do I get the birthday invitations from?

It is of course open to you to make your own birthday invitations, whether they be DVD invitations or conventional ones, but only if you have the time. You'll get lots of inspiration by searching the internet. All you will need are the basic materials, paper and card for conventional invitations, and a bunch of writable DVDs if you are making DVD invitations.

You may decide to download cheap or free birthday invitations from the internet for home printing. However, keep in mind that you are unlikely to create a real sense of anticipation and excitement for your birthday by sending out internet freebies. You can also send free E invitations by logging onto one of numerous websites. Again, just search the internet and you'll find them.

For formal events and larger gatherings, or events where the birthday invitations has to look just right, most people contract with a birthday invitation company to supply conventional invitations. For conventional invitations, the choice of ink colour, the paper, the designs, the font styles, etc., will be limited to the range of a particular company, but your choice of company is very broad and the variations between companies are almost unlimited. Shop around, search the internet. You can often download a company's whole catalogue on line and then order on line at your leisure. You should also be aware that companies outside your country may be able to supply birthday invitations more cheaply (e.g. India) but the lead time in supply of the invitations may be longer, and you'll have to pay particular attention to spelling and the details of dates and times. Always ask to see a sample for approval before you place the order.

If you plan to hold the birthday celebration at an outside location, keep in mind that companies that regularly hold birthday celebration events will often do the birthday invitations for you. This can save on time and expense, since the invitation may be a free extra.

Birthday Invitation Wording

Your aim here is to set the tone and theme (if any) and to answer all the questions that your invitees will have about the birthday party. Make sure you cover time, place, dress, nature of the party, whether it is a surprise party, and think about travel and parking information. Give direction where appropriate. Formal events include a note of who the host is.

You can get ready made wordings over the internet, or from your invitation supplier but remember that it is your invitation, so personalise it as much as possible to create the atmosphere and anticipation you wish for your
birthday celebration.

The reply

Give thought to how you wish your birthday invitation recipients to reply. You could ask them to e-mail you, or post a special reply provided by you, or you may ask them to phone you. The choice is yours, but keep in mind the costing implications of your choice. If you ask for a written reply then make it easy for the recipient and provide a reply device, like a reply card, and make sure you cover the postage on this. Then all the recipient has to do is pop it in the post.

Birthday invitation - the cost

The cost of your birthday invitation needs to cover production of materials and printing and postage. Even standard sized invitations may cost a little more than the standard postal rate due to their weight, which will depend on how many enclosures you have and the weight of the materials. A good idea is to cost postage for one invitation (with all the enclosures) by taking a sample to the post office and have them weigh it for you.

When to mail an invitation?

For casual parties, try to post the birthday invitation so that it arrives 2-3 weeks in advance. For formal events, the invitee should receive the birthday invitation around two months in advance. Some people like to send out a pre-invitation letter, say, four to six months in advance, so that the invitee can 'save the date'. The letter will explain that a proper invitation will be sent out later.

Keep all of the above in mind and you'll be sure to get your birthday invitation message across.
About the Author
Stephen Turner 2006. Stephen has set up http://www.invitationbirthday.co.uk. You'll find birthday invitation information, ideas, articles and links. This article may be reproduced provided that this 'author resource box' paragraph is displayed below the article.
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