Top 5: Online Invitations

Meeting Planning

Cutting costs is top of mind these days, and what better way to save on printing costs (and help the environment) than by creating online invitations for your event. While Evite is the tried-and-true invite standard, more websites have sprung up trying their hand at this market and adding innovations.

These virtual cards have the benefits of allowing you to manage your invite lists, update all event information and invite more guests with the click of a button. You are the card’s designer, and you can select a prefabricated template or create your own design using photos of the property or colorful themes. Many of the sites allow you to collect payment, update locations and times and add music and video to set the tone.

These invites range from clean and professional to fun and festive. We would recommend trying out a few websites to find the perfect fit, here is a round-up of five online card companies (in alphabetical order) to get started.

  1. MyPunchBowl: MyPunchBowl features easy simple designs (many of which look like real cards to appeal to the traditionalists out there). You can add the event to your Outlook calendar, invite all your Facebook friends and tweet about it. This site is a CNET favorite for its feature allowing guests to select the time and its easy integration with social networks.
  2. PurpleTrail: This website allows you to create your invite almost like using design software, with various artsy components in addition to having a host of fun templates. If you’d like to use animated themes you can upgrade your plan for $9.95 a year.
  3. Pingg: Like my MyPunchBowl, Pingg integrates well with Facebook and Twitter and lets you save your invite at every step of the way. You can import contacts from your e-mail or a CSV file, include a photo-sharing component and request a payment through PayPal.
  4. Sendomatic.com: With an appearance of a business person’s online invite, Sendomatic offers clean, simple designs (some of which are animated), and they can also create a template just for your event (for a fee). The website allows you to add a map, and the invite is sent in a digital envelope for a special touch.
  5. Socializr: Socializr has creative templates that allow you to interface with other websites like Facebook and Evite, all in one place. You can even add YouTube videos, music and a message board to each event. Wired magazine described the site created by Friendster founder Jonathan Abrams as “It's Evite 2.0, finally.”
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