Plan your guest list around the type of party you will be having. If you're hosting a makeover party at a girly spot in the mall, your daughter will have to agree to keep the guest list down -- and it will probably have to be a girls-only party. Many party places will tell you what the maximum number of guests can be.
Invite close friends and family first. Your child will undoubtedly have one or two favorite friends that simply must be on the guest list. Add any must-have family members, such as cousins, and that's the start of your guest list.
Don't invite kids your child doesn't know. It is not necessary to invite your child's entire class to his or her birthday party. That said, it would be wrong to invite everyone and exclude just one or two children. Try to keep the classmate list to the kids that your child actually plays with. And be sure to mail the invitations to the guests' homes instead of having your child hand them out at school.
Don't feel that you have to reciprocate. Johnny across the street invites your child to his party every year -- but your kid doesn't play with Johnny any other time. Don't feel as though you have to invite him just because he always invites your child. By not sending him an invite, it may send a message to his parents that your kids don't actually play together. But use your judgment. If you feel inviting Johnny is necessary to keep the peace in the neighborhood, then feel free to do so.
Don't hurt feelings. No trimming down of the guest list is worth hurting a child's feelings. If you're having a backyard circus party at your house and the kid next door will be sitting in his yard watching the festivities, then that's just wrong. Be mindful not to cause any ill will.
Resources: Parent Dish
Birthday parties are generally informal events that don't require the six-to-eight week notice of a formal event. Two to four weeks in advance is appropriate for a child's birthday party or a casual adult party. For a formal birthday event such as a bar mitzvah or quinceañera, however, the formal guideline of sending out invitations six to eight weeks in advance applies.
Choosing an Invitation
The style of the invitation should fit the party. For character-themed children's parties, an invitation with a matching theme or with a child-centric design is appropriate.
The format of the invitation can be paper, which is best sent by mail, or digital, sent by email or via a social networking site. Digital invitations allow guests to respond online, make it easy to keep track of the guest list and are appropriate for informal parties.
Birthday party invitations should include the full name of the birthday child, the date and time of the party, the location and a phone number for responses.
For informal parties, make RSVPs by phone, sms, email or by responding to an e-invite. Hosts may specify "regrets only" on a paper invitation if you want invited guests to respond only if they won't be able to attend.
Mail paper invitations or give them in person discreetly. For a child's party, do not have the child hand out cards in school. If the classroom is the only way you can deliver an invitation to a child, give it to the teacher and have her send it home to the parents.
Upon receiving an invitation to a birthday party, respond promptly, within a day or two if possible, in the appropriate manner, whether by phone, clicking a response on an e-invite or returning an RSVP card by mail.