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Party Invitation Ideas

By an Award-Winning Professional Party Planner

Unique and unusual party invitation ideas for birthdays and special occasions.

About This Site

If you're tired of the same old clichéd party ideas, and are looking for something more inspiring or just a little bit different, this site is packed with original and creative party ideas. I'm Matt James, an award-winning professional event planner who has produced events for many celebrities including Elton John, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Stella McCartney, among others. On this site I'll share professional tips, advice, and trade secrets—that anyone can do—in order to add some creative touches to your party or celebration; whatever your budget.


matt james

Party Invitation Ideas

party invitation ideas

In This Section...
01

Party Invitation Ideas

A collection of unique, unusual, and tasteful party invitation ideas for any special occasion.

02

Adult Birthday Invitation Ideas

Original birthday invitation ideas for adults—including milestone birthday invitation ideas.

03

Kid's Birthday Party Invitation Ideas

A selection of tasteful and well-designed kid's birthday party invitations.



01

Party Invitation Ideas


Well Designed Invitations

This site is by far my favorite for all types of invitations; party, birthday, or wedding. They just have so many great designs regardless of whether you're looking for something modern, classic, unusual, whacky, clever, humorous, or tasteful—and they don't have that 'mass produced' or 'stock photo' feel like so many other invitation sites. Because there's such a large range, you kinda have to narrow your search a bit so it helps if you have a general idea of what you might be looking for. Check out the full range here.

1930's Great Gatsby birthday invitations
baseball ticket invitations
mad hatter tea party invitation
vintage travel invitation

Balloon Invitations

If you're looking for something more unusual, these balloon invitations will make a great first impression. The invitation details are actually printed onto the balloon so wouldn't need a seperate printed invitation. Check them out here. I think a nice way to present these would be to print a custom message (something like "please inflate and save the date") onto a decorative tag, which you can pick up here for around 35 cents each, tie it on with ribbon or string and mail them out in small gifts boxes filled with confetti or tissue paper (like in the example below right from Jenny Cookies). This site has a great range of gift and shipping boxes, many of which are sold in packs of 25 making them only 45 cents each.

balloon invitation
custom tags
balloon invitation in a box
box mailers

Anaglyph 3D Invitations with glasses

Another fun and unsual idea for party invitations are these anaglyph 3D ones that come with old-school 3D glasses for guests to decipher the details. The examples below are from wedding invitations and save the dates, but all can be customized for birthdays, parties, and other special occaisions. Of the best 3D photo invitations I've found, option 1 below, are available here or option 2 below is available here (Note: option 2 doesn't come with 3D glasses but you can pick them up here). For 3D invitations without photos, the best I've found are available here (option 3 below), here (not pictured), or here (not pictured).

anaglyph 3D photo invitations
Option 1: 3D photo invitations
anaglyph 3D photo invitations
Option 1: 3D photo invitations
anaglyph 3D photo invitations
Option 2: 3D photo invitation
anaglyph 3D invitations
Option 3: no photo

Wood Invitations

Another fun way to make your invitations a little more special is to have them printed / engraved onto wood. There are lots of different styles available, including some really intricate laser-cut designs, such as the tree design pictured below. Often these are used as wedding invitations, but again, all the text can be customized, so they can easily be used for birthdays and other special occasions. Check out the full range here.

engraved wood invitations
engraved wood invitations
engraved wood invitations
engraved wood invitations

Personalized Messaging Stickers

These scannable stickers are a great way to add a personalized voice or video message to any party invitation. Just record a video or voice message on your phone, link it to one of the QR code stickers, attach it to your invitation, then when the recipient receives it they scan the sticker with their phone to play back the personalized message. The stickers come in packs of 100 so, in addition to adding to invitations, you can use them in many other ways, for example adding grandpa's voice to a storybook or leaving instructions around the house for guests—such as how to use the TV remote. Check them out here.

personalized messaging stickers
personalized messaging stickers
personalized messaging stickers
personalized messaging stickers

In the Style Of....

A great way to make attention-grabbing invitations is to design them in the style of something familiar—a passport, newspaper, telegram, ticket etc. It's a trick often used by professional party planners to re-inforce a particular theme. The two best sites for these type of themed invitations are this one here and also this one here. Because both these sites have so many different designs, it helps if you have an idea of the item you want your invitation to resemble, and then enter a description into the search box on each site e.g. "cassette invitation" or "newspaper invitation"—otherwise it's a little bit like looking for a needle in a haystack! For any of the invitations pictured below, just click on the image to go to the relevant site.

telegram invitations
custom dollar bill invitations
cassette tape invitations
passport style invitations

newspaper invitations
book invitations
airplane ticket invitations
vinyl record invitations

Voice Invitations

Another way to make your invitations more personal is to record it in your own voice with these stick-on sound tags. Available as 10, 120, or 200 second sounds tags, you simply record your message, peel off the adhesive backing, and attach it to your printed invitation. Because of the unsightly wiring involved, the recordable sound tags come encased in slim matchbook style wrapping. You can choose between pre-designed ones, that say things like "congratulations" (below) or "birthday wishes", or blank black or white ones (below). Check them out here. If it were me, I'd go for the blank black or white option, then have some custom sticky labels printed (only $3.15 for sheet of 30), like the ones below available here, with some brief instructions—such as "Amy's 40th Birthday, press for details". They also make light-activated sound tags that start playing automatically when taken out of an envelope / gift box, so you could do away with a printed invitations altogether and just add a custom sticky label with instructions and send them out in a gift box filled with shredded tissue paper like the ones below. See here for affordable gift box options.

recordable sound tags
recordable sound tags
custom sticky labels
gift boxes

Voice Card Invitations

Another way to create talking invitations is to take any custom printable invitation design, see here for the best range, print it at home or upload it here to have it professionally printed onto flat 5" x 7" cardstock, and then glue it onto one of the 5" x & 7" blank black or white greeting cards with a built in recordable sound card available here. When choosing your printable invitation design, just remember to check it is 5" x 7" design (it's a standard size, so many are but be sure to check). If you're going for this option, I'd also choose an inexpensive custom sticker from the range of designs here, edit the text to say something like "Press Here" (like the example below) and attach this to the inside of the card to make the instructions explicit—you don't want to go to all that trouble only for the recipient to focus their attention on the front over of the invitiation and not realize they're supposed to press inside to hear the personalized voice recording!

printable invitations
blank recordable greeting cards & invitations
blank recordable greeting cards & invitations
custom stickers PRESS HERE

3D Object Invitations

Another trick used by professional party planners is to incorporate a three dimensional object into the design of our party invitations—which instantly makes people sit up and take notice. People just love to receive unusual invitations—and often they're not expecting a 3D object to arrive in the mail so it really captures their imagination and gets them excited about the party. Below are some great examples from professional events, including a couple by my own company Left Field Productions.

Update: a lot of people have asked where to buy ornate keys like in the example below, so I'm including a link to these here. It's also a good place to start for other 3D objects you might want to use as your invitations. Alternatively, check out this site here for inexpensive novelties and party favors—such as disposable sunglassess, foam baseballs, rubber duckies etc—that you can use depending on your party theme / occasion.

key invitation
Key invitation by Jika González for BizBash.
chocolate bar invitation
Chocolate bar invitation by Left Field Productions.
snake invitation
Rubber snake invitation Left Field Productions.
glasses invitation
Giles Deacon fashion week invitation via Wallpaper.


If you're going to use an object as your invitation, I would suggest keeping the printed card part (with the details on) simple. All you really need to do is have the party details printed onto a custom tag (like in the London Dry Gin key and rubber snake examples above), which you can pick up here for around 35 cents each, tie it on with ribbon or string, and mail them out in small gifts boxes. This site here has a great range of gift and shipping boxes, many of which are sold in packs of 25 making them only 45 cents each. Alternatively, if you want to make the tags a little more special you can also have them made out of wood for only $2 each, check them out here, or transparent acrylic for around $5 each, check them out there.

box mailers
custom tags
wood tags
acrylic tags

Ready Made 3D Object Invitations

It's also worth having a browse on this site for 3D object invitations, such these pharmacy prescription bottle invitations, available here, real vinyl record invitations with personalized labels, available here, personalized fortune cookies, available here, or these Wonka Bar Golden Ticket chocolate bar invitations, available here. These are just a few examples I stumbled across but I'm sure there are lots of others on that site (including different design options for the examples below) so be sure to search for specific ideas, e.g. "Flip Flip invitations" or "Vinyl Record Invitations" to see what else you might find.

pharmacy prescription bottle party invitation
vinyl record invitation
custom fortune cookies
Wonka Bar invitation

Personalized Candy Bar Invitations

These personalized printable candy bar wrappers are a great way to combine a 3D object invitation with the "In the style of..." approach to invitation design. The Hershey Bar wrapper, below, is a good alternative to the Wonka Bar wrappers mentioned before if you want to create candy bar invitations for an adult birthday or baby shower. There are lots of of custom candy bar wrappers available online, but most are intended as favors so they don't have enough space to communicate all the party details in order for them to be used as invitations. This design is different in that nutrition information box on the reverse has been adapted to accomodate all the party details. Check it out here.

Alternatively, the same designer has other custom candy bar printable wrappers available, such as Snickers, Rolo, Nestle Crunch, and Reeses (click brand name to go to that option). While these haven't been designed specifically to be used as invitations, the designer offers a "custom modify" upgrade option for only $5 available here, so she can add additional text on the reverse to communicate all the party details.

Hershey Candy Bar invitation
Rolo candy bar invitation
Snickers candy bar invitation
Nestle candy bar invitation

Cookie Invitations

Cookies are another fun way to send out unusual 3D invitations—just wrap them in cellophane bags, add one of these custom stickers (you can edit the text online to include all your party details), then mail them out in shipping boxes (or DVD/CD box mailers might work well). Check out this site where you can get good "bulk rate" pricing on boxes and cellophane bags.

In terms of the cookies, you could make these yourself using a custom-made cookie cutter based on the face of the birthday boy or girl (below left). Check these out here. Alternatively, you can have these made for you from a photo—available here. Another option is to have a photo recreated onto a cookie, available here, or simply use a decorated cookie that fits with your party theme—just search here.

custom portrait cookie cutter
custom cartoon cookies
custom photo cookies
pizza cookies

Cake Postcards

For something really unusual, how about sending a cake postcard as your invitation?! These hand-made almost life-like cake slices have a card attached one side and can be sent through the mail as they are—just apply postage! Check them out here. Update: There are several suppliers offering these, but my personal favourite is this supplier here. Not only are her cakes the most realistic looking, she doesn't use a basic looking postcard (like some of the ones below) and offers to hand-write the cards and pop them in the mail for you.

cake postcard
cake postcard
cake postcard
cake postcard

Foil Pressed Invitations

This site has a range of beautiful foil-pressed invitations that have a metallic finish that shimmers as it catches the light. I think these are stunning; so chic and luxurious. Although some of the designs are intended as holiday party invitations, all the text is fully customizable and many of the patterns are abstract, so they can be used for any special occaision. This site also has a good range of other well-designed invitations that aren't foil pressed. Check out the full range here.

foil pressed invitations
foil pressed invitations
foil pressed invitations
foil pressed invitations

Retro Invitations

Another way to make your party invitations stand out is to go for a fun retro design. The two best site for retro-style invitations are this site here, and also this one here.

retro pool party invitations
surprise party invitations
retro postcard invitations
retro bridal shower invitations

Acrylic Invitations

These transparent acrylic invitations are another great way to create a big first impression. They're often used as modern and unusual wedding invitations, but the text is fully customizable so they can be used for any special occasion. Check out the full range here.

transparent acrylic invitations
transparent acrylic invitations
transparent acrylic invitations
transparent acrylic invitations

Illustrated Invitations

If you're looking for chic and sophisticated party invitations, check out this site. Note that they have a lot of great illustrated invitations, such as the ones below, but they are not listed under the birthday section on their website—so be sure to check out their general party invitations too and then just customize the text accordingly.

martini invitations
champagne bottles invitations
shoe invitation
beer bottle invitations

Laser Cut Invitations

Laser cutting can add some really intricate designs, cut outs, and patterns to printed invitations, giving them a delicate, sophisticated, and expensive look and feel. They're often used for weddings, but I think they're a great way to make invitations for any occasion just that little bit more special. Browse the full range here or click on any of the images below to view that design.

laser cut invitations
laser cut invitations
laser cut invitations
laser cut invitations

Custom Portrait / Cartoon Invitations

Another fun way to customize party invitations is to have a custom portrait or cartoon made of the person celebrating. There are many different styles of portaits available here, or click on any of the images below to see more of those particular styles. Some of these are intended as wedding invitations and so feature couples and families, but most of the designers will happily customize these if you're looking to feature just one person.

custom portrait invitations
custom portrait invitations
custom cartoon invitations
custom cartoons made from photos

Jigsaw Puzzle Invitations

Sending your invitations out in pieces for the recipient to assemble will surely create a big first impression! This wooden jigsaw puzzle style invitation, available here, is great value. Alternatively, there are numerous different card designs available here, such as the examples below.

wood jigsaw invitations
wood jigsaw invitations
jigsaw invitations
jigsaw invitations

CrossWord Puzzle Invitations

These custom crossword puzzle invitations are often used for weddings and save the dates, but there's no reason why they can't be used for other special occasions. The clues and answers you provide are a great way to really make the invitation personal (and test how well the recipient knows the host!). Check out a range of options here, or I quite like the photo ones shown below, available here. Don't be put off by the cheesy stock photos used in the examples below, with the right photo I think these will look great.

custom crossword puzzle invitations
custom crossword puzzle invitations
custom crossword puzzle invitations

Cootie Catcher Invitations

These custom cootie catcher invitations are also a fun way to test the recipient's knowledge of the person being celebrated by including questions and answers about them along with the party details. There are lots of different designs available, check them out here.

cootie catcher invitations
cootie catcher invitations
cootie catcher invitations
cootie catcher invitations

Metal Invitations

I'm including these fantastic metal invitations just because they're so unique, but unfortunately they require a minimum order of 50 which might make them too expensive for some people unless they have a healthy budget. Check them out here.

metal invitations
metal invitations
metal invitations
metal invitations

Custom Postage Stamps

A perfect final touch for any invitations is to add custom postage stamps. You can choose from illustrations in keeping with a particular theme or occasion, or my personal favourite is to add a photo of the person celebrating (if it's a milestone birthday, it's fun to add a vintage photo of them when they were younger or a baby photo). Check out all the designs here.

custom photo postage stamps
custom photo postage stamps
custom postage stamps
custom photo postage stamps
Don't Forget

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matt james




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Many thanks

Matt





party invitation ideas


About Matt James

is a professional event planner and owner of event agency Left Field Productions, which has produced events for Elton John, Sarah Jessica Parker, Kevin Spacey, Stella McCartney, David LaChapelle, John Waters, and Elvis Costello & Diana Krall. Left Field Productions has won 30 event industry awards for excellence including Production Company of the Year. Matt is the author of the book Become an Event Planner: Secrets for Getting Hired from Employers, Recruiters, and Event Professionals.


matt james

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  • Party Invitation Ideas

    by an award-winning professional party planner