Invitations pictured from Cartwheels Paper and Gifts

Delicious food and drink are certainly important. But our resident event experts, Ina Miller and Marcella Kragel explain that the foundation of every great party is in the asking.

What’s the most important ingredient to a successful party? Decorations help. Great music and entertainment can liven up even the shyest bunch. But it wouldn’t be a party without guests! So, don’t underestimate the importance of your invitation— especially during the holiday season.

A clever, carefully designed invitation will help your event stand out from the deluge of invites flooding mailboxes and inboxes during this time of year. It can also help you organize your plans and solidify your vision and, literally, get the party rolling.

If you’re envisioning an elegant cocktail party, then your elegant invitation should set the tone. If, however, you’re throwing a wild ugly sweater party, then kick off the quirky humor in your language. This is your guests’ first impression of your party; therefore, it should create the right mood and help them get in the spirit. 

Here’s how.

3 Easy Inspirations

  • Palette. Pick a color scheme and carry it through from invitation to decor.
  • Food and Drink. Are you an accomplished mixologist? Are you cooking or bringing in fabulous food? Include food or spirit imagery in your invite and subtly remind guests why a party at your place can’t be missed!
  • Font. Think out of the box with font choices to customize your invite, but make sure it’s easy to read.


Make sure to include the who, what, where, when and why. And don’t forget to include information on how guests can RSVP. There are many options these days; reply cards, email, telephone.  If you have a large guest list, “regrets only” might be the easiest way to keep track. Whatever you decide, make it clear on the invite, and make it easy for your guests.  

Top Invitation sources

We have some wonderful resources around town for beautiful invites. Here are a few.

  • hound dog press is a fully custom Letterpress print shop, specializing in invitations, announcements, business cards and stationary.
  • caligraphy by jennifer. specializies in modern, traditional, and exquisite hand lettering.
  • Cartwheels papers & gifts in Chenoweth Square provided all of the fine stationary here and offers custom-printed and ready-to-send options.


  • Timing. Printing ahead always saves you money. Print a few extra just in case your guest list grows. 
  • Size and Shape. Yes that custom reindeer-shaped invite is adorable, but it will undoubtedly cost you extra. Standard sizes will always be cheaper to print. Also take postage into account. Square invites and envelopes cost extra, even if they aren’t oversized. 
  • Return address stamps. If you throw a lot of parties the best purchase you can make is a custom return address stamp. Save you wrist and never have to worry about your handwriting again! 


  • Know how many guests you can entertain based on your budget and venue. As a general rule, you can comfortably count on about twenty percent of your guests declining.  
  • Think about the whole picture. You want to invite guests who get along, but don’t be afraid to mix friend groups. A good party is also a great time to introduce those two friends that you have been meaning to get together. 
  • Be clear about whether kids or “plus ones” are invited. No matter how clear you are, someone will always ask, but if you make it clear in the invite it won’t seem personal when they do, therefore the clearer the better! 

About Marcella Kragel and Ina Miller

Ina Marcella Events is a full service event planning and creative consulting business co-owned by Ina Miller and Marcella Kragel. With shared backgrounds in the arts and non-profit management, and a mutual passion for community engagement, Ina and Marcella have developed a unique approach to event planning aimed at creating inspired one-of-a-kind events for their clients.   Ina and Marcella have been friends for twenty years and each is married with three kids.

Posted on 2017-11-03 by Marcella Kragel and Ina Miller