Today we’re going to be discussing invitations, and what you need to know before and after you send them! The most important thing to remember about invitations and other wedding stationary, is that they are fully initiated members of the wedding party, giving guests a preview of what’s to come and helping to bind the look of the event together. Just one reason why they are so crucial to the wedding day!
Invitations are also helpful, because they give you an early opportunity to help your guests feel taken care of. Providing clear directions and expectations of what to bring, when to arrive, what to wear, will all help to put your guest’s minds at ease before they even arrive.
Now that you know why they’re so important, let’s go about getting them. A good rule of thumb is that you get them 3-6 weeks after you order them, so start the process 4-6 months before the wedding. This way you ensure that you have them on time, and can take your time putting them together and sending them out. No one wants an all night cram session trying to get invitations done so they are sent out on time! Remember to mail the invitations 8 weeks before the wedding, so as to give your guests enough time to not only decide if they are going, but also to RSVP when they decide to attend or not.
Price is just as important for invitations, and although you may think they are always cheap, you can actually start to see the price rise significantly depending on what you want. Make sure you know the different styles going in so you know what you are willing to spend! Most invitations will be priced by each set. A set includes the invitation, the reply card for your guests to send you, and the envelope. Prices on these can vary from $2 per set, all the way to more than $70 per set. There are a lot of places you can choose to buy your sets from, whether through an online store, custom designers, or specialty stationary stores. Another good piece of advice to keep in mind, is to make sure and order samples to get an idea on the look and feel of your invitations to make sure that you are getting exactly what you want before ordering 200! This will take a little more time though, so make sure you order the samples even earlier so you make sure to still order your invitations in time.
There are a few key components for the style of invitations that are good to remember when you are deciding on your order. These components are: format, type of paper, paper color, printing method, font, and ink color.
A standard card: Either square or rectangle, makes for a classic statement, engraving or letterhead looks best.
A script card: Shaped like a long, narrow rectangle. Minimalist style, looks great with colored paper, colored ink, and letterpress printing.
A fold-over card: The most popular style. Traditional treatment is to engrave the information on the front.
A gatefold card: Great choice for a destination wedding and/or weddings with multiple stages.
A trifold card: Perfect if you want to print your invitations in two languages. One panel contains the invitation and the others may contain reception details, directions, or maps.
A boxed invitation: The most expensive type of invitation. usually put together by a custom designer. The invitation is generally printed on a series of cards and made out of paperboard, silk, velvet, or even suede.
Although it may seem strange, paper is a personal choice. There is no consensus on whether the ideal paper for letter writing is hefty or thin, so don’t let anyone steer you to a certain type of paper if you do not like the look or feel of it. Paper ranges from three to nine ply, with nine ply being so heavy that it hardly bends. Cotton makes for creamy, soft stock that doesn’t yellow with age, heavy cotton lends itself perfectly to letterpress printing, but wont make it through a laser printer. For a textured, luxurious finish, linen is a wonderful and underused option. It can range from durable to extremely delicate. Vellum is a thin translucent parchment that is often attached to card stock for a layered effect. Colored paper is a great way to make an impact without adding cost. Don’t be afraid to be yourself when choosing your invitation paper and feel free to add textures and colors to make an invitation really stick out in your guests minds and let them know it is going to be a day to remember!
In addition to the invitation, reply card, and envelope, you might want to include one or more enclosures to convey additional information to your guests. If you do not want to have any additional enclosures, consider adding these details onto your wedding website or in an informational email, just to make your guests feel more comfortable as we discussed above.
Maps and directions
Rehearsal Dinner information
Do’s and Don’ts of Invitation Etiquette:
There are a couple of do’s and don’ts to remember when writing your invitation, just to make sure that invitation etiquette is followed and to relay to your guests how important of a day it is for the future spouses!
Do use the third person for formal invitations
Do use the phrase “request the honor of your presence” for a ceremony in a house of worship
Do be consistent in your spellings.
Do spell out numbers in the date and year
Do spell out numerals in times
Titles for medical doctor are generally included, both for parents and for the couple
For Jewish weddings, invite guests to the marriage of the bride “and” groom, not of the bride “to” the groom
Capitalize the first word of the invitation and all proper nouns
The line breaks in the main body of the invitation act as punctuation, so don’t use commas or periods at the end of a line
Never include any reference to gifts or the registry. If you would prefer that guests make a donation to charity, you may include that information on a separate enclosure card
If you’ve chosen not to include children, you may not mention that on the invite- it could strike some as rude. Convey who’s invited on the inner envelope
Never include information about post-wedding events on the invitations itself
Lastly, when preparing the invitations to be sent out, hand address envelopes for a personal touch, put everything together, add a stamp and send! Have an RSVP reply by date, set for a month before the wedding so you have time to track missing replies. You will most likely have to call a few people to finalize the RSVP when they haven’t replied to make sure and set aside time to do that! Finally, make sure and update your caterer on your guest count so everyone is in the know for how many plates, drinks, etc will be needed for the final total!