There is something awesome about looking forward to a great party. For that reason paired with the fact that everyone is busy busy busy and overbooked, invites should be sent well in advance. I understand the convenience of inviting friends and family to gatherings via Facebook, but like so many, I love getting mail. I miss getting a beautifully designed invites with a thoughtful note. I just recently got an invite in the mail for a gathering that wasn't a wedding and I was so excited!
The role of the invite is to communicate all the details:
1. The reason for the party: Be specific!
2. The date and time
3. The Location: Of course, the address is important, but if your guests have never been to your home or the venue, be sure to add a map and/or directions.
4. RSVP: Include a phone number or an email address for RSVP's. If you don't hear from someone, follow up with a phone call.
5. Any other details: If it is a surprise party, make sure to say so. Also, if it is for a baby or bridal shower, include the registry information.