Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Sesame Street birthday party - Part 1: The Invite!

I can’t believe it’s almost 2 years since our lives were turned upside down by this little monster we call Ali. In this short time he has completely stolen my heart and ruined my carpet/walls. No I’m not speaking of a pet, I’m talking about my son! Although, some days I think getting a pet would’ve been easier. All jokes aside, it’s true; parenting is challenging but it is SO rewarding and just the sight of his smile beaming after a long day at work is enough to reassure me that indeed my life is perfect. But I’ll save the teary eyed ‘can’t believe my baby is growing up’ post for later. 

Currently, I’m in party planning mode overdrive like the crazy mama that I am. My little man is turning two and I am just bursting with ideas for the party I want to plan for him. We started out wanting to do a casual small birthday party but due to my obsession with planning nothing ends up ‘small’ or ‘casual’. I’ve decided to go with a Sesame Street theme since he’s currently in love with all things Elmo and Ernie-Bert (said as one word), but mostly because Ali is a monster in himself so he deserves a spot on Sesame Street! 

The first item to tackle on our party planning list was the invites:

To me the invitation defines the party. Personally I love sending out mailed invites the old fashioned way, but after spending several hours on Etsy realizing how ridiculously people spend on invites I decided to go with online invitations. Being a child of the new age, I know email invites not only saves on costs but guarantees a faster responses from my guests too. In college I would create event invitations via Facebook for simple gatherings all the time, however for this event I wanted to try something a bit more sophisticated, stylish yet possessing the same ease of delivery and response.

I wanted the invite to set the tone for our party, that it’s fun, whimsical and just a bit different than what you might expect. 
Enter: Paperless Post

I was shocked that I hadn’t heard of this website before, since they have some of the most creative designs I’ve ever seen! Also, I loved the amount of options the website gave me, they have both e-cards and paper cards too. While some require payment, there is a wide variety of free cards too, especially if you are emailing. I had already created a .jpg file of the invite I wanted to use and was easily able to upload it into a template. I tried this on other websites, ahem Evite, and none of their templates would allow my image to fit correctly. It was requiring me to reformat the size which then compromised image quality. No such issues on Paperless Post! 

The best parts:
1) free download of their IPhone app. I’m able to track my event, see who’s responded and who hasn’t, change event time/location all on my phone. And if you’re a mom on the go you know this is a blessing! Plus you get 10 ‘coins’ for downloading the app which can be used towards future card purchases. You can earn more coins from liking them on Facebook or referring friends. (great way to earn those snazzy paper invites for free!)
2) you can track if people have opened the email (can’t use the ‘it got lost in the mail’ excuse, I saw you opened that email liar liar pants on fire!) and you are notified if email addresses are invalid so you can follow up with guests.
3) The website does not require guests to register in order to respond to your event (some websites require it or if you’re using Facebook Events it’s hard to send to someone who doesn’t have an account)

No, I’m not being paid to rave about this site, but trust me once you start browsing through their selection you’ll see what I mean. I’ve already picked out styles from their bridal/baby shower invites that I plan to use it in the future. 

If you’re a busy girl who is on a time/money budget, but still wants to set a classy tone for your event this is probably the invitation station for you. (See what I did there with the rhyming!) 

PS- Take a look at the invitation I created for my son’s birthday.
This was all using Paint software (free on every computer in the world) and some copy/pasting of images I found on Google. Who says you have to pay a ton for adorable invitations.
From one mama to another: Go ahead click on the image to enlarge, right click and save it. Then go into Paint and take your own creative liberties on it, just like I did  :)


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