Whenever I throw a party, I face the same dilemma: Should I buy actual invitations and put them in the mail? Or can I get away with sending a digital invitation? A digital one is easier for me since I don't have to buy and address invitations. And for many of my guests, it's simpler too. They can usually just click to RSVP and tell me what they're bringing. But there's always someone on my list who will miss a digital invitation because they never check email. So what usually happens is that I get stuck at this decision. Then I leave it until too late. And I just end up just calling everyone at the last minute. Or worse, I decide to skip the party until the next holiday comes alone.
I am apparently not the only one thwarted by invitation indecision. According to a Harris Interactive survey, over 67 million Americans get stumped at the "buying stamps" step in this process. I rarely get that far. But if I ever did, I'm certain that would be the next point at which my party idea would fall prey to "host's failure to act." So I was rather pleased when the folks at Evite called me recently to tell me they have a solution: Evite Ink, a service from this popular online invitation service that lets me create all my invitations online. All I have to do to put an invitation in the hands of those guests who live their lives primarily offline is click a box. Evite Ink will print those invitations, place a stamp on them and drop them in the mail for me.
So that settles it for my next party. I build my guest list online at Evite.com, choose who gets a digital invitation (people who live with a smartphone forever in one hand) and who gets a printed one (people who rarely fire up their ancient computer). I pay $2 plus postage for the invitations I want printed and mailed. The others go out for free. Everyone—whether they get a printed invite or a digital one—can log on to RSVP. And all the information I need about who's coming and what they're bringing is automatically stored in one place online. Digital natives and digital refuseniks can now all come to my house for libations.
Maybe I do have time to throw a Halloween party.
Christina Tynan-Wood has been covering technology since the dawn of the Internet and currently writes the Family Tech column for Family Circle. You can find more advice about buying and using technology at GeekGirlfriends.com.