Using evite.com to manage invitations

Now that we live in a new, larger, house my wife and I get to do something we’ve wanted to do since we got together:Throw parties!

We had a small one around the time of Susan’s birthday, and it went fairly well. So we decided to throw one for Cinco de Mayo. At the same time, Susan decided to try evite.com, an online invitation management site. Being an avid scrapbooker, normally she will spend a lot of time hand crafting paper invitations, but the problem with them is getting people to RSVP. We thought the online system would make it a bit easier for people.

The party is tomorrow, and out of the original 31 invitations, 26 looked at the invitation. The system tells you when an invitation was viewed. Out of those 26, 24 gave an answer of yes, no or maybe. We have 11 yes, 5 maybe, and 8 no.

We invited a lot of folks we don’t know especially well, and people who live quite far away so I’m not surprised at the response rate. What is interesting to me is the 5 people who never looked at the invitation. Did it end up in a spam folder? I had one guest whose invitation did end up there. That’s the problem with the people who show up as non-views. You don’t know whether they got it or not, and are stuck with calling to ask. I suppose there’s no real way around this, though.

Otherwise the system works pretty well. It sends out reminders, and it provides a nice way to update everyone with a single message – handy in case of changes. It also provides really nice functionality for people to say how many they’re bringing, and to allow them to invite their own guests if you want. Since you need only an email address, it’s also very easy to add people.

Still, there are a few things that need improvement:

  1. When you invite a couple, you can have four or more email addresses between work and home for each spouse. These days you don’t know who checks what when, or what gets filtered where. It would be nice to be able to tie multiple emails to one invitation so that when they respond for one email address they’re responding to all of them.
  2. A “what to bring” function would be nice – lots of people offer to bring stuff, and a separate area where people could list what they’re bringing would be nice. This would prevent, say, everyone bringing the same side dish out of ignorance.
  3. Adjustable settings for who gets reminders and how often would be nice. We all know people who need more prodding than others 😉
  4. Adjustable party info by group. Say, you’ve got an event where you’ve got family coming over to open gifts at 2, but regular guests are invited for dinner at 5. There’s no way to do that.

Overall I like the system and I’m already itching to throw another party to play with it!

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