Tag Archives: Party Invitations on a budget

Formal vs. Informal Party Invitations: What’s the Difference?

Whether you are planning a party, wedding, christening or birthday, invitations will make up a good portion of the planning process. An invitation is, of course, how your guests will learn that their presence is requested. It’s also used to convey information about the location, date and time, who the event is for, and sometimes even a required dress code where relevant.

You may wonder: are paper party invitations really required for every kind of event? Aren’t paper invitations always a bit formal, and best reserved for important gatherings, rather than casual ones?

In fact, paper party invitations can come across as either formal or informal, depending on their style, the wording, and the content of the invite itself. It’s always worth using paper party invitations for any kind of bash, whether it’s your little one’s space-themed third birthday party or a glamorous golden anniversary ball.

In this guide, you’ll learn the difference between formal and informal party invitations, so you can decide which would best suit your upcoming party.

What is a Formal Party Invitation?

A formal invitation is one that has strict rules and etiquette that must be followed. It is typically used for formal events, such as:

1) Weddings
2) Anniversary parties
3) Dinner parties
4) Award ceremonies
5) Graduations
6) Black tie events

Formal invitations can also be used for important or milestone birthday parties, which you want your guests to take seriously – e.g. a 50th birthday meal.

Sending out a formal invitation will set the tone of the event early on; it should reflect the theme of the event, and depict what is required from the guest attending.

What is an Informal Party Invitation?

An informal invitation is one that is more appropriate for a casual or laid-back event, such as:
1) Picnics
2) Kid’s birthdays
3) Most adult birthdays
4) Baby showers
5) House parties
6) Homecoming parties
7) Holiday parties (e.g. Easter, Christmas, Halloween)

The benefit of an informal invitation is that it has no strict rules it must adhere to, and so can design it to look however you want it to. They are usually written in first person, and in a more conversational, rather than traditional tone.

With informal invitations, you can branch out and use your creativity, making it as original and to your exact design and needs for your event.

What Wording Should I Use?

Whether you’re planning a wedding or a birthday party, the wording of your invitation can be important in setting the tone of the event to come, and will help your guests determine what kind of event they are attending, and how they should prepare for it.

Formal Invitation Wording

As mentioned before, formal invitations have a certain set of rules and etiquettes they have to stick to, which includes not just the way it is written but also the type of information about the event that must be included. Things that should be included in a formal invitation are:

Date and Time

It is important that the date of the event is written out using letters, rather than numbers, and it mustn’t be abbreviated. For example, Saturday 16th September should instead be written out as Saturday the sixteenth of September.

The time of the event must also be written out and must use phrases such as ‘in the morning’ for events set between midnight and midday, ‘in the afternoon’ for events set between midday and 6pm, and ‘in the evening’ for events set between 6pm and midnight.
Examples of this would be ‘Ten thirty in the morning’, or ‘Nine forty five in the evening.’ If the time is on the hour, then o’clock may be used, for example ‘Two o’clock in the afternoon.’


As with the date, the address must be written out fully, with no abbreviations. So, 56 London Ave would become 56 London Avenue, or even Fifty-six London Avenue for ultra-formal occasions.

Guests’ Names

When addressing the guests, full, non-abbreviated names must be used; Samantha instead of Sam, Thomas instead of Tom. Surnames must also be included if you know them. If you are inviting someone with a title other than Mr, Mrs or Ms, then you must use their correct title, such as Doctor.

Hosts’ Names

One of the most important rules of a formal invitation is the inclusion of the host or hosts. By mentioning them on the invitation, the guests know who is organising the event. This is especially important when inviting guests to a wedding.
This should also be written out fully with no abbreviations, and should be paired with the initials and/or logo of the party organiser.

Other Important Details for Formal Invitations

Other things to include in your formal invitation include:

1) Third person wording. Instead of ‘I am inviting you to an awards ceremony’, instead ‘Emma Falcon requests the pleasure of your company at…’ It is also important that the invitation is typed, and using a formal, serif font such as Times New Roman.
2) The reason why the event is being held e.g. ‘to celebrate’ or ‘to honour’ and whether it is a wedding, a birthday, an anniversary or awards ceremony (for example).
3) The dress code. There are several types of attire for a formal event, and each type is very specific to the type of event. Therefore, you must inform the guests of the expected dress code, such as white tie, black tie, formal, cocktail, etc.
4) RSVP instructions. This is required atevents where you need to have a head count

beforehand, so that catering or drinks may be planned in advance. With your invitation, a card should be included along with a prepaid envelope with a response address on it. The RSVP should include the deadline by which it should be returned, a space for the guests to write their name, and two options for the response, with phrases such as ‘accepts with pleasure’ or ‘declines with regret’. If needed, you can also include a space for a meal choice.

Formal invitations are traditionally printed on high-quality cardstock in white, ivory, or cream, and will use accent colours that match the colours for the event. Try to avoid using a gaudy or loud colour scheme for a formal event, as this will look out of place!
For example, this Enchanted Evening template would be perfect for any formal party, with its classic black and white colour scheme featuring delicate fleur de lis motifs.

Informal or Casual Party Invite Wording

When it comes to creating an invitation for an informal event, you have a lot more flexibility with how you write it, as well as what information needs to be included, it does not need all the etiquette and rules that are required for a formal event.

The important things to include for an informal invitation are:

1) The date of the event, which you can write in any format you like
2) The time. You can afford to be a bit more flexible with how you write your timings with an informal event. You could put the exact start and end times, such as 1pm – 10pm; or you could avoid specifying the end time, e.g. ‘8 till late’. For super casual events you could be even vaguer e.g. ‘noonish’ if you don’t really mind what time guests turn up.
3) The location – no need for any abbreviations here, just write it in a way you feel comfortable. Include the full address or just ‘Emily’s place’ for example, if you’re sure everyone knows where the host lives!
4) The hosts – although informal, it is still important to let your guest know who it is that is inviting them (unless it’s obvious, e.g. the guests know whose birthday it is)
5) The guests – you may address the guests in anyway you like, whether it is their full name or an informal nickname you have for them!
6) The RSVP instructions – as as you can be more creative with an informal invitation, you don’t need to provide a separate card for the response. Instead you can choose to simply include an email address or phone number for your guests to send their acceptance or refusal.

With an informal invitation, the tone can be a lot more casual and warmer. You have the opportunity to make it as personal if you like – use whatever slang or abbreviations you’re comfortable with, and write it in first person if you’d prefer!

You can also have a lot more fun with the colour scheme and artwork if you’re hosting a casual party. For example, this bright and bold Party Clown invitation would be ideal for a child’s birthday party.

Where Can I Order Personalised Party Invitations?

If you’re looking for high-quality, professionally printed party invitations at an affordable price point, look no further than 123Print. We offer a huge variety of party invitation templates, wedding invitation templates and an array of other stationery for any use imaginable!

With both formal and informal designs available in various themes and colour schemes, you’re bound to find an invitation to suit your event down to the ground. All of our invitations are fully customisable at no extra cost, so you can add your personal details, alter the wording and change the font style and colour to suit your preferences.
Join our thousands of happy customers today and get ordering your party invitations with a click of a button!

Party Invitation Dos and Don’ts: a Guide

Whether it’s a birthday, a housewarming, a holiday celebration or even an anniversary: there’s a special occasion coming up, and it’s party time! But how do you choose the perfect party invitation, and what should it say?
A classic paper party invitation is the easiest way to share valuable information about your event with guests. You can design and personalise your own party invitations with the click of a button.

Obviously, you know that you need to share when and where your party will be held: but as well as conveying details, a party invite should get your attendees excited, and prepare them for the theme and tone of the party.
In this article we will go over some of the dos and don’ts of designing the perfect invitations for any party.

DO – Match the Style of Your Event to the Invitation

Your invite design should perfectly reflect the theme of your party. This lets people know straight away what they can expect. A beautiful themed invitation also helps get people excited for your event, and ensures your invite won’t get swept away with unwanted junk mail.

If you are having a clear party theme, such as Hawaiian, try and select an invite that reflects that in its design. A good choice for this example would be Laid back Luau which clearly reflects the Hawaiian theme. Your guests will know to don their Hawaiian shirts and expect exotic cocktails!

If your party is less specific, try and choose the closest fit, and at least match the invitation to the overall tone. For example, if you are hosting a dinner party, an elegant, sophisticated design like Bliss Sophisticate would work well.
If you were having a relaxed garden party a fun floral design like Modern Romance may be a perfect fit.

DON’T – Put a Gift List on the Invitation

No one likes receiving gifts they don’t want, but there are ways to navigate this. Putting a large gift list (or a direct link to one) directly on your invitation could come across as rude and tacky – you might look as though you are “gift grabbing”, and care about presents more than your guests’ presence.

Instead of this, you could set up a website for your party, and include a list of gift ideas on a dedicated page on the site (NOT the homepage). Provide a link to the website on your invitation. That way, guests can choose something they know you’ll like if they want to get a gift. This will be appreciated, as choosing gifts can be hard.
Using an online wish list also declutters your party invites and keeps the key information at the forefront.

DO – Let Attendees Know the Dress Code

There is nothing worse than turning up to a party in jeans if everyone else in in their finest! Being underdressed – or, in fact, overdressed – is a social nightmare which your guests would all rather avoid.

Save your guests the embarrassment by making the dress code clear and easy to follow, if there is one. Popular dress codes include black tie, cocktail, and semi-formal. A simple P.S. on your invite stating this should be enough to ensure everyone gets the message.
If you are having your party at a restaurant, some have their own dress code. While they aren’t often as strict as black tie, it’s worth mentioning it if there is one. Common expectations are no shorts, trainers, or ripped jeans. If you are unsure if your venue has a dress code, it’s worth checking when you book.

DON’T – Leave the Guest List Open to Interpretation

Make it clear if your guests are allowed to bring plus ones or not. If the invite is vague, you may end up having more guests than you banked on, which can cause problems (particularly if you are having catering).

If you are happy to have someone bring a plus one, address the invite to the person you are inviting plus a guest. For example, “To John Smith and Guest”. If you know the name of the invitee’s significant other, you can also name them, to avoid ambiguity. Ask them to list the total number of att

endees on the RSVP, so you’ll know whether they’re bringing a plus one or not.
If you aren’t allowing plus ones, address the invitation to the named person you want to invite only. By using their name on not only the envelope but the invite, you should send a clear message that they are the only one invited.

DO – Give Your Invitees Clear and Useful Information

The most important information your party guests will need to know is –
1) What date and time is the event?
2) What time is the event likely to end? (“Until late” isn’t helpful for guests with children or other commitments!)
3) Where is the party being held?
4) What’s the event celebrating?
5) If it’s for a birthday, how old is the birthday person? (This is optional for adult birthdays, but it does help with choosing cards and gifts)
6) Is there a dress code?
7) How should guests RSVP? Do they have to return a reply card, send an email, or call a phone number?
8) Is there anything else they need to know? For example, is the party being held outside? If so, what weather should guests expect?

Make sure that the information is clear and precise, and not vague. If your venue is slightly hard to find, it could be worth giving some general directions, or linking your guests to the venue website.

It’s also considered polite to let guests who will be travelling know of hotels in the area where they may choose to stay.

DON’T – Provide Contact Information that You Won’t Use

If you never check your email, don’t use it as your RSPV method. You wouldn’t want to miss your guest’s correspondence as this could skew numbers. Use a contact that you check regularly like your phone, or a social media.
If you give your phone number, ask people to text if possible and leave their name. This is so if you don’t have them saved as a contact, you won’t be left guessing as to who they are. It also means you won’t be inundated with calls, although older friends or family members may feel more comfortable with calling.

If you’re worried about missing texts, calls or emails, it may be best to stick to a good old-fashioned reply card. Your guests can fill out their details and send it back to you in the post.
Sending a physical card also means you can leave room for your guests to add any notes or special considerations (such as food allergies or accessibility requirements).

DO – Create a Personalised Invitation

It’s your celebration – so why pick a generic pack of pre-printed party invitations? By far the most personal and rewarding option is to design your own custom party invitation, either from scratch or through editing a template.
By personalising a party invitation online, you can truly tailor your invitation to your event’s aesthetic, theme, tone, and specific celebration. You can edit the font colour, style, and wording to your heart’s content, and even upload your own artwork or photographs to the invitation itself on some designs.
No more trailing to the nearest party supply store and choosing between two or three premade designs to write on by hand!

Where Can I Order Custom Party Invitations?

Custom party invitations are a brilliant way to not only invite your guests, but also communicate important details. They are a fun way to spread information about your party, and are easy and stress free to order with 123Print.
Browse from our huge selection of templates to choose the perfect one for you. We offer both standard (A6) and large (A5) designs, so you can pick the perfect size. And if you can’t find a design that you like, you can always create your own. This allows you total freedom to design your invites specifically for your event. It’s quick and easy to do, and personalised invites are just as easy to order as any other.
Thanks to 123Print’s 48 hour shipping and 100% customer satisfaction guarantee, you won’t be disappointed. Simply place your order and let the RSPVs roll in!

How to Throw an Awesome Kid’s Birthday Party on a Budget

Gone are the days of jelly and ice cream, musical chairs and pass the parcel in the local community hall! With the birth of social media, and documenting every moment of our lives online, sometimes we feel pressure to compete in hosting the biggest and best kid’s birthday party.

But with the price of living increasing, it may not seem to make financial sense to spend all our time planning something that will only last one day. What if we told you there was a way that you could have a great celebration, whilst still sticking to a budget!
Follow our step-by-step guide, and ensure that you throw a party that will last in your memories, not break the bank, and leave you with enough spare change to treat yourself for a job well done.

1. Plan in Advance

Planning is the most crucial part of the process, and is potentially more important than the party itself. The earlier you start, the easier it will be to:

 Narrow down details, such as where you’re going to host the party (more on that later)
 Research what you need to know
 Ensure you stick to your budget, without impulse buying
 Spread out the expenses over a few months, rather than spending all at once

Start a few months early with a rough plan; when do you want the party? Can you be flexible with the date? How many guests do you want to invite? Do you want to book a venue, or use your garden?

And as early as you can, start to think about your hard limit on your budget. Figure out how much you can spend on each aspect of the party, and stick to it!

2. Timing Considerations

A huge plus of planning in advance is that the earlier you look at venues, the more you can narrow down the perfect one – and the more you can save. The later you leave it before you book, the higher the chance that venues will be booked up, leaving you stuck with the most expensive ones.

Consider the day of the week – weekends are always going to be more expensive than weekdays. You can plan the party for after school on a weekday if you need to save a bit of cash. (The party doesn’t need to be on your child’s actual birthday!)
But also think about the time of day. If you have a party at midday or in the evening, you may be expected to provide a full meal for the kids. If you plan your party between 2pm and 5pm, guests will have already eaten lunch, and won’t be ready for dinner. This means you won’t have to spend money on set meals, but instead can provide a few snacks, which keeps the costs down.

3. Prune the Guest List

The best way to prevent large spending is to limit the amount of guests you invite. Consider sticking to a core group of 10 or fewer friends, rather than the whole class. This will help you save on your food and drink budget, and also allow you to choose a smaller venue.

Make the drop off and pick up times very clear on the invitation, so that parents don’t stick around expecting to be fed. You may also need to say if siblings are or aren’t invited – you don’t want to prepare for 10 children only for 20+ to turn up.
If your guests are under 6, their parent will probably want to stay with them. Be aware of this, and invite fewer kids if you can’t afford to cater for the parents too.

4. Choose the Invitations

These days, it is becoming more common to send a text or email instead of physical invitations. It makes sense – how many times has your child received an invite only for them to have lost it minutes later? Part of the birthday fun, however, is handing out paper invitations to their friends! This is a tradition that you don’t want to lose.

You could make your own invitations. But if you don’t have the time, try a website like 123Print that offers professionally printed party invites at low cost. There are many fully customisable designs to choose from, and they won’t break the bank.

5. Pick the Right Venue

Planning a party on a budget is all about the location. The most obvious choice is to throw the party at home!
Not only does this cut costs – you don’t have to pay a fee to hire your own home – but you can also decorate it exactly how you want (some venues may not let you hang things up). You also know how many guests can fit into your home.
However, renting another location makes clean-up easier, and you don’t risk anything getting broken – some people can get overwhelmed at the idea of children rampaging through their house!

Consider a community hall. If booked early enough, they offer reasonable rates, and usually come with a small kitchen, chairs and tables.
If you have good weather, heading outside can be a simple yet still creative way to throw a party – either in your back garden, or in a local park, which may have the added bonus of play equipment for the children.

6. Theme Ideas

Coming up with a party theme can be as simple as thinking of your child’s favourite toy or TV show, and also means you could use their toys to decorate (you don’t have to buy decorations).
Unless your child wants something specific, consider a generic theme such as pirates, princesses, superheroes, or even the colours of the rainbow. These will be very easy to shop for, and you’ll probably be able to find everything you need a discount store or pound shop.
You could even ask guests to dress up for the party, which would add to the decor without extra spending.

7. Source Cheap Décor

You may have seen pictures of Pinterest-perfect parties, but with the average one costing £300, you shouldn’t be pressured into spending more than you have. You can do so much with just some balloons, streamers and bunting, all of which are cheap and widely available.
With the internet and some basic supplies, you could even make your own decorations, such as tissue pompoms, DIY confetti balloons, and simple but fancy banners. Injecting colour into your decor is a great way to take something simple and make it look fun and exciting.
If you do choose ready-made decorations, stay away from party shops that come with premium pricing, and order well in advance to get the cheapest prices possible.

8. Budget for Food

Let’s face it: children are more interested in playing at parties rather than stopping to eat food. Therefore, there’s no need to over-complicate things. This isn’t a grown-up dinner party, after all!
Stick with small bites of finger foods. Home-made sandwiches, pizza slices (made from frozen pizzas), and mini sausage rolls are all cheap and tasty ideas that are big hits with the little ones.
Consider portioning out the food in advance in party boxes so you don’t overspend, and cut down on food waste! It also means that the kids can take home leftovers, leaving minimal mess.

9. Entertainment Options

Don’t feel as though you have to hire a magician, a balloon artist or a clown. Cutting down on the expense of entertainment doesn’t mean cutting down on the fun.
The internet is full of great games and activities that take no planning, minimal set up, and will cost very little if anything at all. For example:

• Pass the parcel. You can use recycled newspaper or even left over wrapping paper, and a small bag of sweets to pop in each layer. The final present doesn’t have to be expensive – a toy from the pound shop will do!
• Musical chairs is always popular, but if you don’t have seating, instead try musical statues – you only need a smartphone and a playlist.
• Pin the tail on the donkey: an old favourite that only requires paper, scissors, and a pin (or blue-tack). You could alter this game to fit the theme – for example, pin the eye patch on the pirate.
• “Simon says” is completely free, and a great way to get children to calm down and pay attention – perfect when waiting for pickup.

If you’re hosting the party in your back garden or a park, you could have a scavenger hunt. The kids could find things from a list (such as leaves and rocks) or you could hide things for them to find.

10. Cut the Cost of Cake

Every kid’s birthday party has to have cake – but you don’t have to spend a bomb on it! The cheapest choice, of course, is to make the cake yourself. A simple Victoria sponge goes down a treat, and isn’t difficult to make.
But not everyone is a baker, and with trying to prepare everything else, you may not have the time to make your own from scratch. If you’re not a confident baker, cupcakes or fairy cakes are easier, and you could even incorporate cupcake decorating as one of the party activities.

Another option is to buy a basic cake from a supermarket, and jazz it up yourself with decorations – then you can make sure it fits in with your theme! Chocolate buttons, sweets and sprinkles are cheap and easy options.

11. Party Bags?

There is an ongoing debate about party bags, and whether to provide them or not. It is completely up to you whether you want to provide them. If you want to, making them yourself can be much cheaper than buying ready-made ones.
But if your budget just won’t cover it, try to think of party bags as a bonus, and not a necessity. Provided your little guests can take home a slice of cake, and as long as you send out thank you cards after the party, there will be no hard feelings!