Buy or make fun invitations to go with your party theme. Involve your child with cutting, pasting, coloring, or applying stickers and stamps to the invitations.
If you’re mailing invitations, you’re pretty much limited to standard card-style invitations. If you’ll be hand-delivering the invitations to neighbors, classmates, and team mates you can have a little fun with 3 dimensional invitations, such as a note in a bottle for a Pirate Party or a toy dinosaur enclosed with a Dinosaur Party invitation. Note: many school teachers do not allow birthday party invitations to be distributed at school unless all children in the class are invited.
Invitations should be timed to reach the guests at least 2 weeks before the party. This allows guests to hold the date and also provides time to collect RSVPs before you make your final purchases of party supplies. Request RSVPs by e-mail or phone one week before the party. If the occasion is a birthday party, parents may ask for gift ideas when they RSVP, so have a few ideas in mind.
An invitation should clearly provide the following information:
- > party occasion
- > party host (your child’s first and last name to avoid confusion)
- > day and date of party
- > start and end time of party
- > party location and address
- > RSVP deadline with phone number and e-mail address
- > rain plan (back-up location or date for outdoor party)
Be sure to include any special information or requests. For example, if you want children to wear green to a St. Patrick’s Party or dress-up for a 70’s Party, note this on the invitation. If it’s a Slumber Party or Camp Out enclose a checklist of items to bring, such as a tooth brush, PJs, and sleeping bag. If you’ll be going to a venue that requires parent signed permission slips or waivers, such as a gymnastics studio or horseback riding stable, include the form with the invitation.
If the drop-off and pickup times are SHARP specify this. Otherwise many parents will assume times are flexible and may arrive and pickup late. This is especially important if you’ll be travelling from the meeting place to another location, such as from your house to the movie theaters.
If you specifically want parents to stay for the party, state this on the invitation or discuss it when you accept the RSVP. Otherwise, it will be assumed that it is up to the parent to decide if she wants to stay. Many parents will stay if their child is younger than five years of age.
If you can’t accommodate siblings of invited guests, tactfully discuss this when you accept the RSVP. Some families assume it’s OK to bring siblings. If you don’t care, just have a few extra favor bags on hand for this situation. However, siblings who are significantly younger can require lots of attention and older siblings may win all the games.
If the party location isn’t well known, enclose a map. Google Maps will generate a map for most locations.
Remember to buy or make Thank You notes to send after the party.