I am a big fan of the Evites that I receive for birthday parties, showers, GNO's, holiday parties etc. They have some really nice sites that offer a wide selection of invitations for any occasion - all at no cost. Punchbowl, Paperless Post and Red Stamp are a few sites that I like. You can't beat the electronic invite. Especially because hitting a button to upload the event onto your calendar can make anyone a social diva in a matter of seconds.
The only reason I don't use electronic invites very much is because I really enjoy creating invitations and I like to use the postal service to deliver them. Call me old fashioned but I like the printed hard copies of an invitation a lot better than the electronic ones. There are many pros and cons for why we send out either type of invitation. However, that's not a topic on the agenda today.
Instead, consider the thoughtfulness that goes into the guest list and the invitations for the next event that you are invited to. When you receive the invitation, whether electronic or paper, please take the time to respond. Being invited to any event is an honor. Even if there are 200 people on the guest list - you made it and that is pretty cool. When the inviter has to hunt you down for your "yes or no" rsvp it's such a drag. Putting off your reply just keeps your host in limbo. Headcounts effect so much. The food and beverage quantities heavily depend on the number of people attending. Plus, you can't prepare the venue if the number of guests are not confirmed. And how many party favors (not to mention how much to spend on each) is based on the total amount of guests expected. I used to be afraid to decline a great invitation so I wouldn't reply at all. If I'm describing you - rip off the band aid and give the "no" reply as soon as you know that can't make it. Nowadays, we are all so busy that you don't have to fess up when you can't make it to your third Stella & Dot party this month. Just say no. Trust me, the hostess gets it. Even though she's a social butterfly, she has to say no to some events herself. What I need to work on is rsvping to all those FB events. Rip off the band aid Barb!
As a side note: I think it is thoughtful when an invitation includes an rsvp deadline. I work better with deadlines. It helps me to prioritize and it reflects a realistic timeframe from whomever is coordinating the event. Otherwise, if there is no due date, I try to rsvp as soon as possible because chances are I'll get too busy that I'll forget to reply.
Since I started navigating this blogging path, I am more aware that thoughtfulness comes in so many shapes and sizes. I think an invitation is a thoughtful gesture both in extending a welcoming feeling and receiving a feeling of being welcomed. I'm proud of the work that I put into creating my invitations because they reflect a thoughtfulness of who I invite and why I am having the event. I have kept a copy of almost every invitation that I have made since my Newport Beach roomies and I threw our first party in 1992. Again, the hoarder in me just can't help itself.