Eventbrite not only sends out invitations to an event, it can be used to promote the gathering through search engines, blogs and social networks. It works especially well for events with a policy of "the more, the merrier." If the event is free, Eventbrite is free; if tickets cost money, the company keeps a small percentage of the price. (888) 541-9753; eventbrite.com
With PurpleTrail, planners can create electronic invitations from dozens of templates and send them without advertisements. People with time and creativity to spare can design an invitation, with photos and embellishments, from scratch. The site also makes it easy to order printed invitations, for as low as 99 cents each. purpletrail.com
It can take hours to sort through which bells and whistles you want for your online invitation. Enclude simplifies matters. First, upload an image or use one of theirs. Next, type in a message. Tweak the font and background color, add recipients and send it out. The result is an eye-catching invitation without advertisements, and best of all, it's done in a few minutes -- and it's free. enclude.com
Most people are familiar with Evite, the grandfather of online invitations. What many don't know is that the site offers a few rudimentary but highly useful free calculators to help estimate costs beforehand. For example, this drink calculator provides a suggestion for how many bottles of each kind of alcohol attendees will go through, depending on the length of the event and other factors. evite.com
Traditionally, the downside of sending invitations by e-mail have been visual and tactile: Embossed paper invitations simply look and feel more elegant than electronic ones. Paperless Post eliminates the visual problem, with its thoughtful designs that include an electronic envelope, too. If your event can do without the physical invite, it might be the perfect (and earth-friendly) solution. Cost: 40 virtual "stamps" for $5 for basic invites; if you want to add a logo, the charge is $40 per lot. paperlesspost.com
Spandex Your Horizons
It's easier to justify outlays for décor when there's a branding opportunity involved. Spandex USA can print a logo or photo onto a 36-inch spandex table cover for around $100. The company also makes customized step-and-repeat walls for $1,200, and furniture covers for select pieces from IKEA, for about $600. (714) 556-7073; spandexusa.com
Ready, Set, Caffeinate!
Give coffee lovers a regular reminder of your appreciation with a subscription to GoCoffeeGo.com, a new online specialty-coffee shop. Every couple of weeks, the recipient can select a different coffee from a wide variety of award-winning independent roasters. The coffee is roasted to order and shipped directly. You just pay for the coffee, which starts at $8.99 for a 12-ounce bag, plus shipping (about $5 per shipment to an office). Single-order gifts and gift certificates are also available.
The makers of GoToMyPC now offer GoToMeeting, a service that allows you to broadcast your computer screen to up to 15 other people's computers -- and attendees don't need to install anything. The group can communicate over the phone or through web chat, and the presenter can use an electronic stylus and other tools, just like on a tablet PC. The service costs $49 per month; for groups of up to 1,000, use GoToWebinar, which costs $99 per month. Both come with full technical support. (800) 263-6317; gotomeeting.com; gotowebinar.com
PC Phone Home
If you're constantly on the move, it's easy to forget to upload every file and spreadsheet to your laptop or USB device. GoToMyPC allows remote access to your home or work computer, from any computer or any PDA that uses Pocket PC, Windows Mobile or Windows CE. Every file and application on your work or home computer can be accessed from the road. The service, complete with technical support, costs $19.95 per month, with discounts on multiple computers and longer-term agreements. And despite the name, it works with Macs, too. (888) 259-3826; gotomypc.com
Capogiro, an artisanal gelato-maker in Philadelphia, will send six pints of its otherworldly flavors for $60 plus shipping (note that shipping can cost around $50, if sent by air). For a chocolate lover, consider the Cioccolato package, six varieties of chocolate ice cream with flavors like mint, banana, hazelnut and ancho chile. It might sound like a lot to pay for ice cream, but true gourmands will understand. (215) 351-0900; capogirogelato.com
Pushing the Envelope
Chocolate Accents makes all sorts of objects out of a tremendously tasty Belgian couverture chocolate: invitations, picture frames and envelopes (with chocolate messages inside). The company can also silk screen a logo or photo on a chocolate box filled with -- you guessed it -- chocolates. Corporate and hospitality orders only. Cost, from $4. (800) 757-0123; chocolateaccents.com
Baked goods generally don't taste quite as fresh when they come in the mail. Not so with Dancing Deer Baking Co.'s cakes and cookies, which are moist and delicious even after making the trek from the Boston bakery. This Chocolate Lover's Medley ($44.95 plus shipping) is perfect for Valentine's Day or anytime. Gifts can be customized with a message or logo. (888) 699-3337; dancingdeer.com