Throwing a party? Paper invitations are no longer the standard. Now, thanks to some creative and fun online invitation sites, you can create a memorable invitation that not only shares all of the important details for the event, but allows you to track important details, like how many guests are coming and who is bringing what. They also make it much easier to update guests if anything changes. And it sure doesn’t hurt that it’s also a much more environmentally friendly way to get the party started.
Here are five online invitation sites that get our (virtual) stamp of approval. On a budget? Don’t worry. Most of them have a free option.
We love Paperless Post because it has thousands of designs, 1,000 of which are totally free. There’s really something for every occasion from a surprise birthday party to a BYOB game night to graduation announcements to holiday cards. You can also customize the shape and size and make it personal by adding a photo, choosing the typeface and color, and writing a custom message. Once you’ve finished the design, just import your guests from your address book.
When guests get the email invite, there’s an animation that shows the card sliding out of an addressed envelope. They can then RSVP, see who else was invited (and is attending), add the event to their calendar, get directions, message the host, and leave a comment for everyone to see. You’ll be able to easily track RSVPs and afterward can upload party photos into a gallery.
Paperless Post also has invites from well-known designers like Kate Spade, Kelly Wearstler, Jonathan Adler, and Oscar de la Renta, and, despite the name, you can even order paper invites for around $1 to $2 per card if you want to go old school. The best part of that? They’ll address the envelopes for you.
Pingg is great because the designs come from a large community of independent designers and there’s a huge range of styles. Like Paperless Post, you can import your address book and track RSVPs through the browser, but the invites will only come with animated envelopes that open and reveal the card if you pay.
In fact, if you want to invite more than 75 guests or have your invite show up without ads, you’ll also have to pay. A $10 single use purchase is the way to go if you don’t throw a lot of parties (you get one premium design, an ad-free invite, a guest list of up to 2500 people, a digital envelope, and a custom web URL), while the $30 and $70 a year memberships are for social butterflies and party pros.
You can also add a gift registry or potluck to events to indicate who is bringing what and if you’re selling tickets to an event, Pingg has an online ticketing service that is easy to use.
Pingg is definitely more geared towards people who throw a lot of events and need to collect funds, but it’s hard not to love that for each premium design used, revenue is shared with the designer.
Punchbowl feels very geared towards families thanks the huge selection of invites featuring kids characters from “Frozen,” “Sesame Street,” “Skylanders,” and so many more. There is also an entire baby category that includes announcement cards, baby shower invites, and even gender reveal cards. The RSVP system also allows you to track how many adults, kids, and infants will attend your party.
If you want to send your invites for free, you’ll only be able to send the cards to 75 guests and ads will appear. Memberships are available for $1.99/month, $4.99/month, and $6.99/month, but it’s not until the top tier that ads are removed or that you can invite more than 100 guests.
As with most of the online invitation sites, Punchbowl does allow you to import email addresses, track RSVPs, and send updates to guests. Guests can also add the names of their plus-ones and there’s an interface that allows people to collect monetary donations using PayPal and add a potluck list.
Greenvelope has some of the most elegant designs we’ve seen and is one of the most user-friendly of all the invitation sites. Once you’ve picked the design for your invite, you can edit and add texts, images, links, and the envelope appears on a customized background. What we really love though is that there’s are separate tabs for photos, RSVPs, and details like a summary of the event, location and map, hotel, attire, and gift registry. Of course, with beauty and elegance comes a price. Greenvelope allows you a free trial, but you can only send up to 10 invites. If you want to send more, you’ll have to pay. It’s $19.99 for up to 20 people and $199.99 for up to 300 people.
Like with all of the online invite sites, it’s easy to import your address book and filter guest lists. But unlike other sites, one of our favorite things is that RSVPs can come with survey questions like “What would you like for dinner?” and an easy way to export all necessary information to Excel when the time comes.
On oldie, but goodie, there’s a reason Evite is the preferred online invitation site for so many people. There are tons of designs available for all occasions from your standard events like birthdays and weddings to BBQs, tailgates, pool parties, getaways, and more. Most invites and cards are free, but if you upgrade to premium, you’ll get to customize the “envelope” color, stamp, liner, and the envelope will animate when guests click on it after they open the email. Premium invites also are ad free, which is nice when you’re trying to appear more elegant or professional. It can cost anywhere from $5 for 15 invitations to $80 for up to 750.