There are so many ways for you to send out invitations for friends and family to get together for something special. Most of the time a lot of people just prefer to just tell you face to face about a party that they are having at there home or where ever.
But there are a few people that just love to make invitations and do all the planning for a party. Those are the people that really like to have friends and family over there house and like to just have a good time with all the people that they card about, To share something with them. Something like a party for the birth of a child, birthday, wedding, house warming, etc. anything that you might want to throw a party for.
There are several places, if you want to find them on the web goggle and search for “party invitations" and see what comes up. Also, any of the party planning books are good. Depending on time of year and type of event (formal/bbq/buffet/catered/small/large) you may have some lead time. I would send with a minimum of 6-8 weeks in advance.
If you have the liberty to invite them all, by all means do that. Some relationships of months can become strong enough to merit these special events. They can choose to come or not. . . but give them the invitation so that no one gets slighted.
Depending on the type of event, formal wedding, retirement or anniversary? At least 8 weeks (more if it is taking place over a major holiday when people may normally make other plans). Informal party that still requires RSVP for caterer, 4-6 weeks.
Bar-b-que at your place, 2 weeks and you can use evite.com. Also, you may have to defer to your caterer, if they need a headcount by a longer date, send invites so that you can responses within a week of having numbers to the caterer. And, for big events (100+) count on at least 10% not coming who said they would!
A popular term is “Dutch Treat" which means everyone pays their own way. So you could invite them for a “cocktail reception" to celebrate the retirement and then add “we would love it if you joined us for a Dutch treat dinner at, etc". When you use the word “invite" it denotes that you will be treating. . . so avoid that when it comes to the dinner. Ask for them to let you know if they will be Attending the reception, Attending the dinner. Cannot attend. Also, if you do not hear back be sure to follow up and be sure they received their invitation. Sometimes, those things get lost in the delivery or shuffle of mail stacks.
I can see where you would want to avoid the appearance of shilling for gifts! You've already furnished your home; this is just a get together with the neighbors from whom you have been separated for too long. Just issue a standard invitation as if it were a regular party. If asked on the street or when everyone arrives and you want to give a toast, and then you can mention that you wanted to ‘rewarm the house’.
You should send the invitations out 6-8 weeks before the party. . . and definitely 8 weeks if it is a holiday weekend! People make plans early, and they want to finalize their calendars. If you're arranging for a caterer, you should get the RSVPs around 10 days prior so you have time to call the stragglers. Most likely, you'll caterer will want a preliminary number about a week out and you can modify it about 2-3 days before.
Victor Epand is an expert commentator at http://www.CustomDesignPostcards.com . Visit us when you need to make custom designed holiday, gift, and invitation cards, as well as business cards and brochures. We are the only design utility that lets you download the print-ready images!