When Should You Mail Invitations for a Child's Birthday Party?

An event planner has the ultimate timeline.


When it comes to your child's birthday, no detail will be spared, including when to mail—yes, mail—the party invitations. "In a world where social media rules and everything happens online, [mailing invites] is a great, personalized way to let guests know about the party," says Melanie Tindell, owner and event planner at Oak + Honey Event Planning Co. in Cleveland, Ohio. Not only that, but physical invitations can be keepsakes in a scrapbook for your children.

The perfect time to head to the post office is about four weeks before the event, Tindell says. "This is enough time for guests to determine if they can make it, because their schedules are typically already set for the month ahead," she says, "and party hosts are more likely to get a faster turnaround of RSVPs and 'yes' responses if you stick with a four-week turnaround time."

To make sure you don't cut things too close, don't mail invitations any later than two weeks before the party. "Any shorter of a time frame is too close to the date and guests may already have plans and are unable to attend," says Tindell. If you forgot to drop them in the mail and only have a couple weeks to go, consider using a digital invitation at that point, Tindell says.

But don't send them out too soon, either: Eight weeks would be the farthest out you could let guests know about an upcoming party. "You take the chance of guests forgetting about the party if it is mailed too early or guests not knowing their plans and forgetting to RSVP," Tindell says. (But don't try to avoid lost cards or long post office lines by passing out invitations in school or daycare. Kids who aren't invited could see the invitations being handed out, Tindell points out, which could hurt their feelings.)

When you prepare your invitations for the mail, consider asking your kids to address them, she suggests, for a personal touch. Or "put their handprint on the back with paint," Tindell says. Then, make sure you check the invitations' weight before you put on postage. Some children's invitations can get heavy. And, as she points out, you don't want it returned to you because of lack of postage.

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