Invitations set the tone for your event. Formal or funky? Black tie or lounge suit? And of course they provide the when and where. And there is one more way to make an impression. Email invitations (or e-vites) are environmentally friendly, instant, affordable (often free) and there are thousands of templates to choose from.
The best-known online invitation website is probably Paperless Post. But there are many services out there, allowing you to choose a website that has the templates or ethos to suit you.
One of the big advantages of an e-vite is the option of digital RSVP, which collates and tracks guests’ responses. This not only helps the person planning the simchah but is also a plus for guests, who just have to click a button to tell you they are attending, rather than change their route home to coincide with a postbox.
If you are creative, e-vites allow you to be in the driving seat, choosing your colours, imagery, even using your own photos.
And taking the e-vite route does not mean skimping on the look — this is not a clip-art job. Most websites offer lovely designs by professional writers and artists. E-vite website Greenvelope even allows you to customise the colour and design of the envelope liner.
OK, your guests do not have the satisfaction of receiving a personalised envelope through their letterbox but there is still something enticing about watching the e-vite envelope opening up on-screen and the invitation popping out.
There is no paper wastage and many e-vite companies are adding to their eco-appeal. Greenvelope, for instance, donates a portion of each sale to conservation charities in America.
You can incorporate Hebrew text into your invitation. Your template is unlikely to have ready-to-go Hebrew options but most websites allow you to add it during the design process. If you have a Hebrew keyboard, you can enter your text into any editable field, while Paperless Post has a bespoke team that adds special characters to any design at no extra charge.
E-vites work well for engagement parties, save-the-dates and baby showers but what about bigger events? Many people like a physical wedding invitation, to place on their mantelpiece or keep as a memento. However there is a lot to be said for the convenience of an email invitation, especially if you are a guest: all the information you need will be in your inbox, so no more making sure you have squeezed the card into your clutch bag, or your suitcase for a destination wedding.In 2016, more than half a million people received invitations to “Jewish-related events” using online provider Evite, with Chanukah parties top of the list. The most popular wedding-related Jewish invitations chosen on Evite were for sheva brachot.
There is also a generational divide. Millennials and Generation Z-ers are used to curating their social life online and are probably planning every other aspect of their simchah online, too — reading wedding blogs, using a dedicated event- organising app, emailing vendors and compiling a playlist on Spotify.
However, every simchah is likely to have one or two guests who do not have an email address or use it rarely and so require a physical invitation. Most e-vite services do also offer a printable version, so whether your guests are receiving their invitations through email or snail mail, they will look the same.