There are many reasons to send out party invitations, from a themed birthday bash or an intimate garden party to a huge charity Christmas affair or a masked ball. Once you have set your budget, chosen your venue and decided on a theme you can then start to think about your invitations.

There are so many party invitation options and styles available these days that you can easily be overwhelmed by too many choices, but a good rule of thumb is to opt for a style that you like and that will appeal overall to everyone on your guest list.

Also choose the best quality you can afford since your stationery is going to set the tone of your party – cheap, tacky invitations might signify a rather second rate party while posh party invitations indicate a posh party.

You will find there are a multitude of sources for your invitations, once you start to do some research. You can look on the web, go to a local stationer, commission a bespoke stationery company to design something especially for your party (although this tends to get expensive and eat into your party budget) or, if you are remotely artistic you can make your own. The latter option can be very rewarding and of course economical, but be aware that it is also time consuming and may delay more pressing party chores.

If however you can spare the time and genuinely feel that your guests would appreciate receiving a party invitation made with your own fair hand try at least searching on the internet for free invitation design downloads. Just type free party invitations in the search bar and you will be surprised at what is available. If nothing else it gives you a starting point for design and colour.

Send out your invitations in good time to allow for slow post and people being away. On the invite put RSPV or ask for a quick phone call to confirm one way or the other. Most people fire off a quick email these days so it is a good idea to have both your phone number and email address on the invitation.

Here are a few party invitation ideas:

If you are having a themed party try to make sure the design of your invitation reflects the theme. For example send out green invitations, with pictures of shamrocks, for a St. Patrick’s Day party or dark and dastardly invitations (possibly with a shock pop-up picture) for a hallooween party. In other words set the flavour of your party even before people arrive.

For a wedding anniversary party have a series of glass goblets engraved with entwined initials and send to each guest with an invitation, inviting them to drink the health of the lucky couple on the day.

Send out formal invitations with a cheap watch stuck on the back, together with a hand written message that says “Don’t be late for a really great date”.

If you are holding your party at a country-style venue, organise a treasure hunt for the day and then send out your invitations with the first two or three clues, telling guests that the rest of the clues will be given out at the party. Offer good prizes and lots of fun brain-teasers which involve all age groups. This will get your guests excited about the party before they even arrive.

Send each guest a lovely boxed rose with their invitation.

Commission a local artist to design a pretty map showing directions to the party venue, have it printed and send a copy to each guest with the invitation.

For Christmas or New Year parties send a cracker with the invitation concealed inside.