Archive for September, 2011

Party Invitation Etiquette – Ways to Cut Party Costs

Friday, September 16th, 2011

Let’s face it – with the economy in it’s current state, many of us have had to cut costs and eliminate some of the little daily pleasures we sometimes take for granted, whether it’s the coffee at Starbucks in the morning, the US Weekly that we pick up at the grocery store every week or the bi-weekly mani-pedi which has turned into a bi-monthly affair.  We cut costs where we can to get by, and budget wherever possible.

One area we never want to make adjustments to is the celebrations and milestones we celebrate each year, be it our birthdays, our children’s birthdays, a holiday with the family or maybe even a wedding.  And just because an extravagant party is not in your budget, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t celebrate life’s most important events.  Yet at the same time, you don’t want to put your financial status in jeopardy for months after your event because you stepped way outside of your budget.  Believe it or not, there ARE ways to cut down costs when planning a party, and we’re here to help!

Follow these 10 steps to cut down your costs when planning your next upcoming party

1 – Plan and itemize your budget – Plain and simple.  Know how much you want to spend and stick to it.  Make a list of the things you need to buy, costs for your party location, food, etc. and make it work for your budget.

2 – Go from printed to plain – Next time you’re at a party store, look at the prices for the printed napkins, plates and utensils, (the ones with the Disney characters or patterns), and then compare those prices to the solid colored items.  The cost comparison is almost double!  If you have a party theme, maybe pick a few centerpieces that have your printed theme, and then decorate your other areas with solid accent colors.  This will save you a ton of money on your party decor.

3 – Research and compare – Never settle on the first location you look at for your party.  If you’re looking for a bounce house rental, a reception room or a caterer, never take your first offer as your final offer.  Shop around, or maybe even look at the next town over and compare your prices.  The difference of a hundred dollars on a party rental can mean you can rearrange your budget and spend more in other areas, or put that money back into your own pocket!

4 – Ask for help – Thinking about renting extra tables or chairs?  Need a centerpiece, cake stand or party linens?  Ask your friends or family to see if they can lend you some of their party items to save you time and money.

5 – BYOB or potluck – Food and drinks, (especially cocktails), can be one of the most expensive parts of your party planning.  Cut costs by asking guests to bring their own cocktails or a wine bottle to share with others.  You can also ask for guests to bring an appetizer or dish to share with others.

6 – Digital invitations – Being in the invitation business, we love invitations!  To cut costs on your invitations, choose an invitation without a layered card, ribbon or bow.  Choose a digitally printed invitation as opposed to a thermography or engraved printing invitation which instantly will save you a hundred dollars, or so.

Fall Party Invitations

Thursday, September 15th, 2011

As a lover of the hot summer sunny weather, I have to say that I’m a bit sad that summer is coming to a close and fall is creeping in.  In North Carolina it is supposed to be a high of 65 on Saturday, which is shockingly cold for this area at this time of year!  As we bid adieu to the summer sun, it seems only appropriate to celebrate the great summer we all had with a fall themed party that welcomes in the cool autumn season…and invite all of our friends to attend.

One of my favorite things about the fall season is the color palette that lends itself to the easiest theme of decorations, and some of the most inexpensive decorations around.  I am planning a fall party in just a few weeks and it should only take a few details to make the party an autumn smash!  The weather should be cool enough to invite guests to hang outside and still be comfortable…just make sure you have plenty of tunes playing in the background to keep everyone happy.  Line the edge of your yard or party area with tiki torches to keep the bugs down low, and let your guests know the boundaries of your event.  They also create a beautiful ambiance once the sun sets for the evening.  Another idea is to take luminary bags, like shown in the photo above, and fill them with tea lights, and line them on your back porch or property edge.  Fill the bottom of the bags with sand to prevent tipping, though.

Decorate your home entrance with a fall swag made of colorful fall leaves.  You can even use fall leaves from the outdoors and candles or stones to create a beautiful centerpiece at your buffet table.  Serve up some classic fall cocktails and drinks from apple cider to apple cinnamon martinis.  You may even want to offer guests a fall beer as opposed to the traditional lager or light beer.  Serve a variety of snacks and finger foods from caramel apples to chex mix, pumpkin seeds, acorn squash and crackers and cheese.  For those with a more mature taste, you may also want to offer a red or white wine option.

Set the scene for your autumn party with a fall party invitation that embodies this wonderful season.  Our fall party invitation collection for 2011 is full of invitations that will help you create the perfect fall party ambiance.  Choose from invitations with fall wreaths, pumpkins and apples, fall foliage, leaves, colorful fall patterns, fall place settings and fall trees.  We also have brand new layered vellum and ribbon cards which are great for formal fall party invitations or corporate party invitations.

Time to start planning now as fall is vastly coming in.  Below is just a glimpse at some of the great invitations you’ll see in our fall party invitation collection…

 

Doc Milo Holiday Bridal Shower Invitations

Wednesday, September 14th, 2011

The holiday season is all about warm wishes, being kind to others, making kind gestures and spreading love and cheer to those who matter the most to you.  A winter wedding is the perfect setting for your vows and nothing goes better with a winter wedding than a winter bridal shower!

I was surprised to learn that our vendors are slowly hopping aboard the holiday shower trend, and it’s producing some really great and fashionable designs for the upcoming winter bridal season.  Whether your bridal shower is right near the holidays or you’re having a December wedding and a shower a month or two prior, these holiday bridal shower invitations are perfect for adding a little holiday sparkle to your bridal shower event.     Below you’ll see a glimpse at some of our newest holiday bridal shower invitations, from famous vendor Doc Milo, which have just been introduced before our holiday season begins…

Bride On  Gift – Red (Blonde) by Doc Milo – Perfectly festive, posh and sassy, this flat white holiday bridal shower invitation features a vibrant red background which will catch the eyes of all of your guests, as well as give off that swanky holiday feel.  A  blonde bride, (also available in brunette), wears a wedding gown and carries a small black gift box as she sits on a large black and white damask present while wearing sunglasses and sitting next to a bouquet of white tulips.  Perfect for the fashion-forward bride.

Holiday Tabletop Invitation by Doc Milo – Bells are ringing – whether for the holidays or your wedding – this holiday bridal shower invitation is perfect to set the scene for your holiday bridal shower.  This swanky and festive invitation features a bright red weaved background with a formal table spread featuring wine bottles, champagne, holiday cupcakes, martinis and of course, presents!  Two ornate chandeliers adorn the top right and left corners of the card for a little formal flair.  This holiday bridal shower invitation is perfect for sending invitations to large groups or open house type shower affairs.

Glamour Girl Bride – Holiday Invitations by Doc Milo – The holidays can be a stressful time, and if you’re planning a wedding during the holiday season, you can go into bride-zilla overload!  Take a break and relax with your friends and family with a holiday bridal shower to celebrate your upcoming nuptials.  This swanky flat white holiday bridal shower invitation features a checkered charcoal background and features a brunette bride wearing a Santa hat and wedding gown as she sits on a deep red couch surrounded by presents.  She holds a small red present in her hand.  A tall white Christmas tree stands behind the couch, decorated with silver stars and red ornaments.

When planning your holiday bridal shower, decorating will be easy with red, green, silver and white accents.  Celebrate at the mother of the bride’s home which is decorated for the holiday season.  Add a little wintery mix to your decor with snowflakes or silver accents.  You can even send your guests home with a glass ornament decorated for the holidays, or perhaps with the name of the bride and groom to be.  Remember to send out your invitations 3-6 weeks before your shower, especially if it is during the holiday season.  With so many holiday parties to attend, you’ll want to make sure everyone reserves this special holiday bridal shower date!

Kids Arts & Crafts Party Invitations

Tuesday, September 13th, 2011

“Everything you imagine is real.” – Pablo Picasso

Part of the fun in planning your child’s birthday party is that you can incorporate one of their favorite hobbies or pastimes in with their party, so that they can share it with all of their friends.  Your child’s birthday is already an amazing day, but add in their favorite thing to do and you’ve got the recipe for the perfect kids birthday party.

One of the largest trends in kids birthday party invitations and themes is an arts and crafts party, or a painting party.  Ask your guests to bring a smock and their wild imagination to this kids themed party event!  And no need to stress about buying tons of art supplies and red paint being spilled on the carpet – believe it or not, the art trend has caught on to local businesses too!  Many local shoppes offer painting and craft classes for kids and will offer party specials.  Or, head down to your local pottery shoppe and have each kid paint their favorite ceramic animal, bug, vehicle, flower or even a piggy bank.  After they’re finished designing settle down with some cake, ice cream and presents while your paint dries.  This is a great party because everyone gets to take home their creative masterpiece and feel just as special as the birthday boy or girl.

When browsing for the perfect arts and crafts party invitation, InvitationBox.com has you covered, as always.  You can choose from a die-cut palette of primary colored paints, a paint splotched border like the one in the top left corner of the blog, an art scene with an easel, a child dressed up as an artists standing next to her masterpiece or a colorful pottery scene made only for kids.

Think your child is the next Picasso or Monet?  We don’t doubt is!  Expand the imagination of your child and their friends at their very own arts & crafts party.  Take a look at all of our creative designs which will really help you get a jump start into being an artist!

Halloween Photo Greeting Cards

Monday, September 12th, 2011

Time to dress up the kids, grab your camera and head out to your local pumpkin patch!  Fall is underway and there’s no better time of year to send a warm greeting to family and friends than during the autumn season.

Our Halloween photo greeting cards feature vibrant fall hues in black, brown, orange, yellow, green and purple which collage around your favorite digital photograph(s).  Add a fun fall or Halloween themed greeting and your names to make it truly personalized and choose a design that best matches your digital photo or fall harvesting style.  Choose from delicate designs with colorful fall leaves, damask patterned pumpkins, cornucopias of fall foliage or ornate trees.  We also offer fun Halloween themed designs which are great for kids from scary monsters, cartoon pumpkins, Halloween characters, ghosts, goblins and spiders.  We also offer patterned Halloween and fall photo cards which feature stripes, damask patterns and polka dots in fun fall colors.  Pair it with a satin, grosgrain or velevet ribbon for an elegant touch.

These Halloween photo cards are perfect to send to friends, family and associates and truly make a great keepsake, whether it’s for the fridge or a family scrapbook.  Make it a yearly event to show how much the kids have grown.  Take pictures of the kids in their new costumes a few weeks before Halloween or maybe even take the family to pumpkin patch to snap some great family photos while they’re picking out their favorite pumpkin to carve.  You might even want to frame your Halloween greeting card, especially if it’s your little monster’s first Halloween.

Check out some of the amazing fall photo greeting cards we offer as part of our fun Halloween collection…

Halloween Return Address Labels

Friday, September 9th, 2011

It’s that spooky time of year again – and if you’re a holiday-lover like we are over here at InvitationBox.com, you’re ready to start decorating for Halloween and the upcoming fall holidays.  At InvitationBox, we make it easy with our collection of Halloween round stickers and Halloween square stickers, which feature brand new designs for the 2011 fall season…and they make the decorating oh-so-easy and fun.

Round stickers are great for Halloween return address labels or envelope seals, which you can stick on the back of your stationery envelopes, Halloween party invitation envelopes or even your bills, (to scare those bill collectors away)!  It’s the perfect way to add a little spook to your everyday letters.  We also see them used as favor stickers on on party favors for Halloween parties or as stickers and labels for a sweet Halloween treat bag.  Personalize the text on the outer border with your name, address, phone number, party event, honoree’s name or a fun Halloween phrase like, “A Sweet Treat – If You Dare…” or “Happy Halloween from the Michaels”.  Each round sticker is just 1.5 inches around, which will draw the attention of your guests, without being tacky.  We also offer larger square stickers which work great for large envelopes, treat boxes during the fall or fun stickers for the kids to play with.

Below you’ll see some of our favorite personalized Halloween stickers which will really get you in the mood for this spooky Halloween season.  Choose from a variety of styles and designs with creepy skulls, vintage chandeliers, eerie silhouettes, monogrammed initials, damask patterns, grunge emblems, cartoon Halloween characters, haunted houses, black cats, jack-o-lanterns and traditional Halloween hues in orange, black, white and purple.

You can also coordinate your stickers with your Halloween party invitations, as we offer coordinating Halloween sets including Halloween party invitations, Halloween reply cards and Halloween return address labels.

Formal Halloween Party Invitations

Thursday, September 8th, 2011

The cold weather is about to come in and the warm colors of fall are the perfect backdrop for your elegant Halloween affair, be it a corporate event, adult birthday party or themed upscale Halloween party with friends.  Formal Halloween parties are becoming very popular for the fall season, as it’s a great time to celebrate before the craziness of the big Thanksgiving/Christmas season rolls in and it creates an ambiance that cannot be duplicated with any other holiday.

Thinking about hosting your own formal Halloween affair, but not sure where to start with the decorating?  Think dark yet formal with a large vintage chandelier, (possibly draped in cobwebs).  Set your table like the one above with a burnt orange table cloth with black napkins with orange ribbon details.  Set the formal scene with an array of lit candles or a large candelabra in the center.  You may even want to decorate the center of the tables with fall leaves to bring out a few extra colors of the fall season in red, green, yellow and brown.  Serve up some blood red wine or a creative creepy cocktail for your adult guests.  Keep the lights dim and set the mood with a fog machine on your floor or some elegant yet eerie symphonic tunes in teh background.

When inviting your guests to your party, choose a formal Halloween party invitation that will entice your guests for a fun event, however one which also informs them to come dressed in their best, for your elegant affair.  Our brand new collection of Halloween party invitations features a variety of patterns and styles to help you set the mood for your elegant Halloween party.  Inside the Halloween collection you’ll find dark colored cards with grey, white and black vintage borders, frames and emblems which hold your party text.  These are great for corporate Halloween party invitations and wedding invitations.  Those looking for something a bit less spooky will love our vellum layered cards which feature an antique or ornate patterned/designed bottom card with a vellum overlay for your text, attached with a velvet ribbon.  We also now offer formal pocket Halloween party invitations which add an element of formality and class to your everyday simple Halloween invitation.  Each pocket features a deep hue or pattern which holds an insert card for your text, which is held together with a fall colored satin ribbon.  Intricate Halloween patterns are printed upon the insert card to give it that extra Halloween flare.

Below are just a few of the amazingly haunted formal Halloween party invitation designs you’ll see inside our creepy Halloween Invitation collection…

Second Marriage Wedding Invitations

Wednesday, September 7th, 2011

Unfortunately a lot of us have been there…the fighting, the stress, the disappointment, the tears.  Whether you’re divorced or widowed, losing your first love is always a difficult time, no matter what side you’re on.  Remember to keep your head up and know that hope and love are just waiting for you on the horizon!  There’s a second chance at love, and it might just be the last time you fall – how great would that be?

Celebrate your second chance at love and the merge of two families into one as you plan your second marriage.  Many second marriages are small, intimate affairs with your closest family members and friends in a quiet, romantic or getaway setting…truly focused on your new-found love for one another.  This is not to say that the huge 500 guest wedding isn’t appropriate, by any means, however is just not as common in today’s modern society.

When planning your second wedding, choose a wedding theme or location that means something to you as a couple.  Set the scene for your wedding with a wedding invitation that embodies that theme.  Since it is your second wedding, feel free to have a little bit of fun with your wedding theme – whether you have a traditional ceremony and a beach party or barbecue pig pick’n after or  ask your guests to all pack-up and head with you to a tropical or mountain destination to celebrate.  You’ve done the traditional wedding affair before, and this time it’s all about having fun and celebrating your love.

Below are some of our most popular second marriage wedding invitations, which range from formal and classy to casual and fun or romantic and destination.  If you are merging two families into one, you may want to include this as a part of your wedding, or word your wedding as your family/children hosting your wedding.

Send your wedding invitations out about 4-6 weeks before your wedding day, or longer if you have a lot of out of town guests.  A popular question we receive from a lot of second-time-brides is the question as to whether or not you can register for your second wedding.  In short, yes, go ahead and register.  You may not need a toaster, but perhaps a small registry at a place like Pottery Barn, Bed, Bath and Beyond or Lowes/Home Depot will help you receive some essentials that you’ll need in your new life together.  Spread your registry by word of mouth only, (NOT on your invitation).  Your guests will likely want to give you a gift to celebrate your special day.

Party Invitation Etiquette – Adults Only Affair

Tuesday, September 6th, 2011

We all know the scene…the bridesmaids have walked down the aisle with the groomsman and the groom turns to watch his bride walk up the aisle.  As she begins you hear little Jimmy screaming in the background, “But I don’t WANNA sit in the chair…Dad, I’m soo BORED!!” as his father carries him out of the ceremony.  The bride and groom begin their vows and a crying baby whales like she’s never cried before and then at the reception red juice is spilled all over the bride’s white dress.  Okay, maybe a bit dramatic, but these things do happen, and will happen, and there are certain events to which requesting an adults only affair can seem appropriate, whether it’s a corporate event, a wedding or a cocktail party.

The issue becomes not about the fact that it is an adults-only event, but how to relay that information to your guests without offending anyone.  We all love our friend’s kids, our cousins and of course our own kids, and nobody wants to exclude them from a fun event.  However, when Uncle Tom is hammered after 9 PM every night and is wearing a lampshade on his head, and Grandma is taking off her wig to ‘let loose’, it’s a good time to make sure the kids are safe and out of the party scene.

Proper party invitation etiquette dictates that instead of stating who isn’t invited to the party, you should focus on who IS invited to the party.  This way you are not singling out one group of people against another, which can make people feel offended or uncomfortable.  Ergo, writing “No Children, Please” or “No Children Allowed” is not appropriate on your party invitations.   A phrase as simple as, “Adult Affair”, “Adults Only” or “Adults only, please” is appropriate.  Put this party detail in the bottom right or bottom left corner of your invitation, or reception card, printed small.  It should be read almost as an afterthought on the invitation.  If you are having a reception, you can even change your wording to read, “Adult reception to follow”, which is a very easy way to explain to your guests that children are not invited to your reception.

If you’re not comfortable with putting your guests guidelines in writing, spreading it by word of mouth is appropriate.  Also, be very careful on how you word your party invitation envelopes.  Addressing your envelopes to “Mr. and Mrs. Jane Smith” is much more direct than “The Smith Family”.  Remember that etiquette is a guideline, and not a strict rule.  Do what you feel is appropriate, as always, however consider the feelings of your family, friends and relatives before wording your invitation requests.

Boy Baby Shower Invitations

Friday, September 2nd, 2011

She’s expecting a baby boy!  Nothing is as precious as the day she learns she’ll be a mother, and her family of two will soon become a family of three!  Celebrate the mommy-to-be before her new baby arrives with a baby shower in her honor, to help her receive all the things she’ll need to take care of her newborn baby boy.

At InvitationBox.com, we offer a plethora of boy baby shower invitations in a variety of styles, depending on your baby shower theme, be it chic and expecting, baby western, a couples shower, cars, trucks and tractors or baby rattles.

One of my favorite baby shower themes is a teddy bear baby shower, inspired by this adorable Polka Dot Teddy Bali Invitation to our left, which makes for an adorable baby shower theme.  With a light blue polka dotted background, brown scalloped details and an adorable teddy bear sitting in an upside down umbrella, it’s one of our cutest new baby shower invitations.  This perfect baby shower invitation is also available with a coordinating thank you note, response card and round sticker to create a coordinating ensemble.  The round stickers work great as envelope seals, return address labels or party favor tags for your shower.

Carry the teddy bear invitation theme into your baby shower event with blue and brown party decorations, from table cloths to napkins, plates, balloons, streamers and banners.  Use a large brown teddy bear sitting inside a small light blue umbrella as your shower table or gift table centerpiece.  Serve up some teddy bear themed cupcakes that you can create yourself or pick up from a local bakery.

Need a little inspiration?  Take some of the ideas below and create your own teddy bear theme baby shower