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Q & A : Where can I find free party invitations?

Where can I find free party invitations?

...and cheap ways to send them?

By Chris Dunmire

Q: I want to throw a party soon and am looking for ways to cut my costs. Are there places online where I can design and download party invitations for free? How about send them cheaply or free?

A. June is that time of the year when everyone seems to be having parties. Besides all of the graduating high school kids and college alumni, Dad's all over get their special day greeting card companies aptly named Father's Day. Oh, and let's not forget Memorial Day's onset of summer fun, with barbeque picnics and swimming pool parties. June is just a festival of fun!

So you're going to be the host to one of these parties, you say? Well, what's the first thing you need to do then? In your party planning stage you'll need to make a list of all of the people you want to invite to your party. Next, you'll need to invite them!

How are you going to do that? Here's five ways you can save time and money on your party invitations while having loads of fun spreading the word about your upcoming shindig.

1. E-Mail or Text-Message Your Invitations

Electronic mail and text messaging are the fastest ways to instantly send a message to anyone in the world 24 hours a day. Take advantage of these mediums to invite your guests to your party and have them easily RSVP back. Simply compose the invitation in your e-mail or text message programs and send! Cost considerations: e-mail is usually pretty cheap (or free), but text messages might rack up some coinage if your carrier has limits on the number of texts you can send per month.

Here's a sample e-mail text invitation:

Subject: You're Invited to Our June 19 Cowboy BBQ!

Dear Uncle Dave,

Come join us for our annual family BBQ party under the tent! This year we're featuring an authentic corral (of our three border collies and the CAT) for your little Timmy's petting pleasure.

DATE/TIME: June 19, 2005 @ High Noon (to Sundown)

PLACE: Richardson's Ranch (123 Saddleback Cove, Sometown, AZ, 46223)

PLEASE BRING: A tasty plate of grub to share.

RSVP: By Thursday, June 17, via e-mail or call 555-5555

Hope to see you there!


The Richardsons

If you need to frugalize the above for text-messaging, try:

Dave: Ur Invited June 19 BBQ @Richardson's 12pm. Bring grub. RSVP by 17th. 555-5555

2. Send a Free eCard

Closely related to the e-mail invitation is the e-Card. There are two types of e-Cards: the kind you make yourself (DIY), or the kind you choose and tailor at a third-party Web site.

The DIY card: If you have the right software and the graphics know-how, you can create an electronic version of a paper invitation and attach it to your e-mail message as an image. When your recipient opens it, they'll see a fancy graphic invitation instead of a plain text invitation like we used above.

Here's an example of DIY graphic invitation I made (scaled down):

DIY You're Invited printed card.

Image Design Tips: Create the invitation no larger than 4" x 6" , RGB color, and 72dpi so it doesn't clog up anyone's e-mail account space. Be sure to compress it for the Web in a .jpg or .gif format if your software program allows it.

The Third-Party Web Site e-Card: These free e-Card sites are all over the place. They allow you to select a greeting card or invitation design and add your own text message to it. Then you plug in the names and e-mail addresses of all your recipients and hit send. The third-party Web site immediately sends your e-Card out to your recipients and you a confirmation e-mail (if the option is available).

If you choose a third-party e-Card site to send out your invitations, we recommend sticking to brand-name Web sites (such as Yahoo!, Blue Mountain, Hallmark, etc.). Also keep in mind that a "free" service may utilize the e-mail addresses you plug in for their own future marketing purposes, so be sure to read their terms of use beforehand.

3. Use Your Blog or Social Networking Web Site to Announce Your Party

If your party friends are fans of your blog or social networking Web page (Facebook, MySpace, etc.), use its announcement or private messaging feature to broadcast your event to select friends. Use the same kind of format as #1, or if your network apps allow, customize as desired. Closely related is to use your Twitter page to tweet about it.

4. Design Your Invitation Online

A third no-cost option to create your party invitation is to use a free online invitation generator that allows you to design, download, and then print your invitation on your inkjet or laser printer. Creativity Portal has listed resources dedicated to online generators and free invitation cards.

Worth a mention here is that most of these free services don't require an e-mail address, but the printed card you generate often contains the branding of the Web site or company if came from (as do most store-bought cards!) and they may be a lower quality graphic. Experiment with different generators and find the one that works the best for you.

Free Printable No Frills Invitations

5. Free No Frills Invitations (Fun Humor)

A final fun option to creating your invitations cheaply is by downloading and printing one of my novelty humor No Frills Invitations hosted right here on Creativity Portal.

Intermixed with over a dozen other greeting cards you may also print for personal ise is a Party Invitation, a Birthday card, and a generic Invitation card — all with blank insides for your inviting message. Oh, and you'll also have to supply the envelope. Hey, when I say NO FRILLS, I mean it!

So now you're aware of five free or inexpensive ways to get (or make your own) party invitations. What's that? Oh, now you want some advice on the party clean-up? Hint: you know all of those people you're about to invite? Make sure some of them like doing the dishes! •

© 2005, 2009 Chris Dunmire. All rights reserved.

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Updated 11/25/09