As a seller of invitations, I know just how many different types of invitations are out there on ebay, and how each seller claims that their invitations are the best on ebay (or words to that effect!). I am not trying to sell you my invitations, I am trying to help you pick which invitations are best for you.
Christening, Wedding, Birthday, Anniversary.... you can find invitations for EVERY occasion on ebay. So be sure to have a search around using different key words so you can really get an eye for what invitations are out there.
The first question you have to ask yourself...
How much am I willing to spend?
If your answer is 50 pence, then you're going to have to search for auctions for simple paper invitations where you hand write all your details. You can get these for as little as 0.01p at auction! As they're not exactly the hottest of items this season! If your answer is as much as it takes to get the invitations of my dreams, then continue reading.
Do I want them personalised?
The new trend is to have your invitations personalised for you so you do not have to sit at home and write them all out one by one (if you're inviting a large number of people then this could put a strain on your wrist!). Try searched for personalised invitations or something along those lines. See what options you can find then. You're narrowing down your search to be sure the items you're looking at are the sort of items you want! Be sure to ask any sellers of personalised invitations if themes are available, if your party has a theme.
Do I want to use a photograph?
You will find a lot of the invitations on the ebay market use photographs. Especially those for baby announcements, christening invitations, first birthdays, etc. It's a great idea, and people love to receive such invitations, and they can be fantastic keepsakes. So if you're after photographs on your invitations, search for photo invitations, or similar wording. You can pay a little more for these invitations, as theres a discreet design fee also.
Quality, or Speed?
If you're after good quality and can wait and extra day or two for your invitations to be printed, then look for those auctions which use a professional printing firm and explain in detail the outcome of the printing option. My invitations are printed using a third party, therefore turnaround time can be up to about 5 days. But if you're willing to wait, its well worth it. However, if you need your invitations for tomorrow, without fail, look for those sellers who print them at home and offer a 24 hour turnaround time. The quality is never quite as good, as they're normally printed on peoples home inkjets but you can be sure of when you will receive them on your doorstep. Please do not forget to ask the seller if you have a question about how long the process will take, or the quality of the prints. You may regret it when you purchase and find that you picked the wrong seller!
Templates, or Custom designs?
I have to say I am a BIG hater of templates. So excuse me if I try and force you to steer clear of such invitations. If you're looking through a batch of invitation templates... what are the chances you're going to find one you LOVE? and what are the chances your photographs will suit this template? Very low indeed! If you're being asked to choose from a set number of templates, yet you are still paying top prices, you know you're in the wrong place. You are still being charged some form of design fee... and for what? Someone to place a photograph where another subjects photograph is? What also annoys me is when sellers have the same template, edit the colours slightly, and put the subjects photograph in the same position in EVERY sample they show. Its really not worth the money! So if you're looking, for example, for Christening Invitations, and you think your invitation should be as unique as your baby. Then check out those sellers who custom design. If you dont know ask them! You want to hear that they create your invitation from scratch, and personalise it to your tastes, and can do WHATEVER you ask them to do (design wise that is). I have never saved a template in all my invitation-designing life. What is the point in that? Each person has different photographs, different amounts of text to squeeze in, different taste in colour, font, style... So I try, and other sellers on ebay too, to create invitations that you want... not that the template says you must have.
Beware that you are not paying over the odds for postage. For me to post 10 invitations, with envelopes, it costs only 65 pence first class, so if someone is selling 10 invitation, with £2 and upwards postage, there's something not right. If their auction does not specify the postage service, ASK! Use 65 pence as a guideline for 10 invitations, and if they claim to send recorded delivery, thats only an additional 68 pence. If an auction is offering free postage, again make sure you ask how they will be sending your invitations.
This does not bother some people, as envelopes are easy to get hold of, but its much easier if they're already supplied. So check it out, and make sure there are envelopes included with your invitations... but also make sure they're the right size. I have seen some sellers offering envelopes with their auctions which were much bigger than the actual invitations. If ordering a 4 x 6 invitation, expect to receive a C6 envelope. If your invitation is any smaller, its going to look silly in a C6 envelope.
And the sellers themselves...?
You will find that if you do want a personalised, photographic, custom designed invitation, you will have to communicate back and forth with your designer via email. So you need to be sure it's someone friendly, someone professional, someone who understand your needs and is willing to do whatever it takes to design the invitation of your dreams. So... even if you have no questions... make one up... just so you can try and get an insight into how the seller can communicate with their potential customers. If you're happy, then go ahead!
I do not actually think feedback is 100 percent essential when it comes to invitations. Everyone had to start somewhere, but if you are determined to get the best invitations possible, choose a seller with great feedback, and make sure you check their 'buyer feedback' to see what others had to say about their service.
If you have any questions about this guide, or my announcements and invitations, please send me a message! And hey, if you've read this far, be sure to check out my current auctions for discounted prices, and a top quality service.