In the old days, Lords, Ladies, and other well-to-do socialites used to compete to see who could throw the grandest parties. Such competitions included everything from the food to the music to the invitations. As we can see from today’s modern suburban society, not much has changed at all.
Joking aside – while we may not be out to throw the “Garden Party of the Century,” we still care about looking our best.
Party invitations are usually the first thing that your guests see and can be a significant influence on whether or not they attend or not. Luckily, there are thousands of unique, innovative, and specially-themed party invitation ideas from which to choose. In the following article, we’ve compiled some of the very best party invitation ideas that you can use for your next event.
For this article, we’ve chosen to put separate our invitation ideas into sections – one for children’s parties, one for teens, and one for adults. In some cases, a concept from one category can still work for another, but you can leave that decision to the party planner or the guest of honor!
Top Kids Party Invitation Ideas
Kids invitations are all about the theme, delightful colors, and getting the attendees excited to come to the party. In this section, we’ve outlined some of the top kid’s party invitation ideas for ages one to 12.
1. The Royal Invitation
Prince and Princess party themes are quite common for kids, so it would make sense to invite all your child’s friends over with an authentic-looking (and sounding) royal party invitation. For these invitations, you can find cartoon images of thrones and crowns online and then print them out on thick paper. To make the design the proper shape, just copy the outline of the crown or throne in paint or photoshop.
The wording of a proper royal invitation is the entertaining part. Put on your very best writer’s hat and try to use phrases like “hear ye, hear ye,” and “his Royal Majesty requests your company at the celebration of his seventh name day.” Kids will love receiving these types of invitations, and it will give them an excellent idea of what the day’s activities will entail.
2. Kid President Invitations
Why not put your child’s face right on the $100 bill and put the invitation information where the standard dollar bill text would go?
You can find dozens of templates for this idea online, or (if you’re familiar with Photoshop or other software), you can actually design it all yourself quite easily. Otherwise, you can consult with a professional party planner and have them create the invitations for you (for a price).
This concept is another one of those invitation ideas that can fit directly in with an associated theme. For your child’s birthday party, you could have a special “inauguration” that kids attend by “buying” tickets with their invitations. There’s a lot of different ways to make this party idea unique and special, but it all starts with cool invitation designs.
3. Batman vs. The Riddler Invitations
If you have a boy or girl that’s obsessed with Batman and other such superheroes, chances are their friends are just as interested in playing along. Find and print some images of a big green question mark and have “The Riddler” invite the kids to your child’s Batman-themed party. By solving the riddles you write, they can figure out where the party is, what day, and what time.
They’ll be having fun before they even show up!
4. Balloon Invitations
For a small price, you can have balloons custom printed with all manner of text. This idea can make for an engaging invitation experience for kids of all ages. Start with a standard card invitation, but tape a balloon to the card as well. Once they inflate the balloon, the time, date, theme, and other event information will become clear!
5. Candy, Popsicles, and Cupcakes
Just like us parents, kids tend to get excited when they see sparkly, brightly-colored treats – even in paper form. If you plan to have cupcakes or popsicles or other treats at your party, try using construction paper to create delicious-looking invitations that will get your attendee’s mouths watering. If you’re not particularly artistic, you can find thousands of images online with which to work.
Again, this sort of invitation goes best when paired with the theme or idea of the party. If you’re going to have pink cupcakes with sprinkles instead of cake, why not use your invitation to say so?
6. The Butterfly Tree
Here is an adorable idea that the kids will love. For each child’s invitation, create a different colored butterfly shape. Be sure to ask them to bring their invitation when they show up to the party, however, or the idea won’t work. Using a wall inside your home, draw or cut out the shape of a large, barren tree with branches sticking out in all directions.
As the kids arrive, you can help them stick their butterflies on the tree until you fill all the branches up with beautiful, colorful shapes! You can also have each child take photos in front of the tree so they can remember how they contributed.
7. The Fortune Teller Invitation
No matter your age, chances are you remember making and using those little paper “fortune tellers” in school. Make a few folds, write a few words, and you could tell someone pretty much anything about their future with these innovative little crafts. Now, using your printer and some online patterns, you can use these fun devices to invite kids to your child’s party!
One of the best parts about this invitation idea is that you can be endlessly creative with what information you print on the inside of the fortune teller. Depending on what color and number combinations they choose, they might only get a little bit of the party invitation at a time. They’ll have to play over and over again to get the full story.
Top Teen Party Invitation Ideas
Once kids reach a certain age, they no longer will be as interested in the same things a child would. While that doesn’t eliminate any of the above ideas from being used for kids age 13 to 18, you might have to make some changes to the concepts to make them a bit more adult. Below, however, we have some teen-specific party invitation ideas that are sure to be a hit.
1. Beach Record Invitation
A theme that you see more and more often at teenager parties is that of a beach party or dance party. An excellent invitation idea that you can pair with this theme is to find a template of a single or .45 record and make the artist and album information relate to the party. For instance, the song could be called “Beach Party” by Michelle Johnson, and say that you recorded it at your address on a specific date.
2. Recorded Invitations
A really cool idea that teens will love is the ability to record customized messages for each one of their friends. There are already tons of types of cards that allow you to do this, but there are also fully-customizable card designs that you can make (or have made) to fit your theme. The small recording devices are surprisingly inexpensive, even if you have a lot of kids attending the party.
Remember – when it comes to teens and young adults, often, the more control they have over their party, the happier they are!
3. Cookie Invitation
One of the coolest ideas that have come to us thanks to 21st Century technology is the ability to have customized cookies made in pretty much any shape. From local bakeries to various websites, you can easily construct cookies that fit your theme, or even feature the face of the guest of honor! When included with a traditional paper invitation, these make for an event that no one will want to miss.
4. Jigsaw Puzzle Invitations
If you have a little bit of a budget to work with and really want to create something memorable, consider making a cardboard or wooden jigsaw puzzle invitation. There are many different websites out there that can help you do this creatively and affordably, and your child’s guests will love attempting to put together the puzzle to “reveal” their invitation.
Afterward, they’ll have an impressive memento of a great party!
Top Adult Party Invitation Ideas
As adults, we sometimes have a much more sophisticated way of interacting with our friends and family. As a result, our list of Top Adult Party Invitation Ideas sometimes requires a bit more flair, insight, and innovation than those for kids and teens.
1. Old School Telegram or Postcard Invitation
Most adults will have a bit bigger budget for their parties and get-togethers than they will for those of their teen or child. After all, having kids is expensive enough! With those extra funds, you can consult with a professional printer or designer to come up with some real knock-out invitation designs. For instance, why not an old-school telegram?
To pull off this design, you need a cool photo to make up the front, and some lovely sepia tone imagery and old-timey text to make up the back. Invite your guests to attend in your favorite Victorian dialect or Western slang – it doesn’t matter! It’s a creative idea that your guests will love but ultimately won’t break the budget.
These designs can be funny, heartfelt, or any encompass any range of emotions that might fit the theme or purpose of the party. All that really matters is that they look good and get the attention of the invitees.
2. Acrylic Invitations
If you’ve never seen an acrylic party invitation, chances are your guests haven’t either. These invitations are crystal clear with white or black print and are about as elegant and beautiful as party invitations get. To get your hands on them, you can work with a wide array of websites or local printers. No matter who you choose, they’ll have designers on hand that can help you customize the design for any occasion.
Not only will acrylic invitations get noticed by all who receive them, you can design them to include all manner of images or text to turn each invitation into a memento your guest will cherish forever.
3. Laser Cut Invitations
Laser cutting allows printers to include incredibly intricate 3D designs into paper invitations. Though typically reserved for weddings and other special occasions, they are also suitable for a wide range of other parties. If you have the budget and you truly want to make a splash with your guests, these are an excellent investment and will result in a keepsake that people will hold onto for years.
NOTE: Laser cutting services vary quite a bit in price, so be sure to shop around and see what you can find that fits your specific budget. Between $2 and $8 per invitation is a pretty standard price for professional work.
4. Custom Portraits and Cartoon Invitations
Another way to create a cute, customized party invitation is to work with an artist or designer who can render the guest of honor (or your entire family) as a cartoon character or funny portrait. Just like at the carnival or amusement park, people love to see an artist’s funny take on them, and these invitations will likely turn into valuable keepsakes for all your attendees.
For a little added fun, you can have a full-sized version of the illustration as the centerpiece of your party or even raffle off the finished piece to raise funds to pay the artist. All that matters is that everyone has fun and that the guest of honor is a good sport.
5. Retro Invitations
Be it the 80s, the 90s, or the 70s – retro style is definitely “in.” Because of this, invitation designers have come up with hundreds of different retro ideas that you can send to your guests. These include:
Fill a cassette tape with an exclusive mix for all your invitees, and print the cassette with a special message inviting them to your party. Last of all, include the address and other relevant information on the cassette sticker or sleeve. You can find both functioning and non-functioning cassette invitations online.
Old-timey vacation postcards are a great way to get the attention of your attendees. With hundreds of unique, funny, or classic images to choose from, your retro invitation can look pretty much however you want it too. If you’re feeling particularly innovative, have personal photos color-treated to mimic your desired era.
One of the best things about postcards, of course, is that they don’t need any additional envelopes, which will save you money in the long run, particularly if you design them at an unusual size.
3D Party Invitations
If you want, you can get your hands on some 3D glasses and design a party invitation that will literally jump out at each invitee. For most designers, creating 3D images is not particularly hard. However, there are professional printers that can execute this idea in a myriad of awesome ways
6. Great Gatsby Invitations
Our obsession with retro culture doesn’t stop with the 1970s. Since the release of “The Great Gatsby” in 2013, many adults have found themselves entranced by the “Roaring 20s,” its fashion, and its unique aesthetics. The key to a Great Gatsby Invitation is gold on black, elegant lettering, and sophisticated wording. Luckily, you can find dozens of images and templates online!
7. Mad Tea Party Invitations
Alice and Wonderland fans will adore the idea of a Mad Tea Party, and there are dozens of different ways to tie your invitation in with this super fun theme. From top hats and pocket watches to hookah smoking caterpillars and nonsense arithmetic cards, this is truly a design that any fan of the books and movies can appreciate.
If you truly want to embrace the Mad Tea Party theme, consider having custom tea bags made to serve as your invitations. Available at many different outlets online, your invitees can get their request and then use it to make a delicious cup of tea.
8. Passport and Plane Ticket Invitations
If you plan on having a destination or location-themed party, why not invite your attendees with a cool passport or plane ticket invitation design. For those who want to do their designs at home, there are countless templates out there (including real plane tickets).
However, if you want a much more professional look, you can work with a print shop to design hardcover passports and even perforated tickets!
9. Invitations Carved in Wood
There are many different companies out there that will laser etch or print invitations on wood. In some cases, they will even include customized laser cut designs, resulting in some of the most beautiful, decorative, and unique party invitations you or your friends have ever seen. You should note that these invitations will not always be cheap, but they are well worth it for their uniqueness and durability.
10. Fortune Cookie Invitations
There is a range of companies out there that allow you to custom print all sorts of messages into real fortune cookies! Regardless of the theme of your party (fortune cookies are uniquely American anyhow), this will be a simple, cost-effective, and fun way for you to invite your friend and family.
Unfortunately, however, these are the types of invitations that are best given in person to prevent breakage.
11. Willy Wonka “Golden Ticket” Invitations
Another truly unique way to invite your friend to your party is with a Willy Wonka Candy Bar that contains a one-in-a-million golden ticket. You can find both professional versions and DIY versions of this theme online. Either way, it’s sure to be a big hit with everyone who remembers the movie.
If you don’t want to custom order candy bars, you can always use cholate-colored paper (though your guests might not be as happy!).
12. Halloween-Themed Invitations
One of the main reasons adults get together for parties is to celebrate Halloween. Due to the holiday’s spooky and scare nature, it naturally lends itself to many different unique invitation ideas. Some of our favorites include:
Toe Tag Invitations
A toe tag invitation is an excellent idea for Halloween. If you are feeling creative, you can find hundreds of different examples online and merely print them out. However, you can also custom order them (with or without printed “bloodstains”) to create a more professional look. Either way, it’s a fun, memorable, and macabre way to ring in the best night of the year!
You can make or buy black cardboard caskets to spice up your Halloween invitations without having to break your budget. If you want, you can even include a skeleton or some candy to complete the theme and ensure that the invitees take the time to open their casket. No matter what you choose, you’re sure to get more RSVPs than RIPs.
Ouija Board Invitations
You can find a range of Ouija Board invitation templates online or have your invitations made up by a professional printer. These are particularly good as RSVP invitations, as you can have each invitee put the pointer on “yes” or “no” in order to signal their attendance. Keep in mind that some people are still legitimately scared of Ouija Boards, so be sure you know your audience before choosing this theme.
As you can see, there are countless ways that adults, children, and teens can buy or create amazing, innovative party invitations. No matter your budget, your party’s theme, or the tastes of your friends and family, there are always plenty of party invitation ideas to go around. No matter what you choose – just remember to have fun with your friends, family, and neighbors.