Wedding invitations are one of the essential pieces of wedding planning, no invites to your wedding – no guests, and should be considered and 'scheduled' early on in the planning process just to make sure your invitations go out in time for people to respond and for you to take action on those responses.
Picking the right wedding invitation
A wedding invitation can be completely personalized and designed to fit the 'theme' and colors of your wedding. There is a great range of ready-to-buy wedding invitations that are simple or a little bit more intricate and elegant. Visit a few paper and card stores to get a sense of what they offer. Also get price quotes, ask for quantity discounts and whether or not they carry the card(s) you are interested in, in stock. If not find out how long it will take for them to get your cards in if you were to place an order.
Searching online for wedding invitations is also a great idea as you can sometimes find better prices on invitations. It is advised to explore all of your options for your wedding invitations in a few different places before you make up your mind.
Simple, generic invitations
If you are going to go with a more simplistic look and do not want to spend the extra money and time to get a more personalized design you can either look for a more simplistic white invitation (maybe with a silver lining or something similar) or look for a wedding invitation which includes a small element of color or a graphic that you feel ties in with your color choices for the wedding. If you are picking your wedding invitations before you've picked your colors for the wedding you are probably better off to go with a simple invitation. You may find one with a silver or gold framing to pick it up a notch. But there is a good chance you can find a wedding invitation that ties in to your wedding colors, you may just have to look around a few more card and paper shops.
A lot of people feel strongly about tying their wedding invitations to the colors they have picked for their wedding. On the one hand, the invitation is a first impression and a lot of people bring the invitation with them to the wedding so they have a reference to the times, address or your venue etc, so if an invitation is very different, style wise, from the rest of the impressions and decorations at your wedding it will show. However, will people notice or care? Probably not, it depends, a designer or artist maybe. The question is, do you care?
Unique wedding invitations
Your wedding invitations may very well be the first actual symbol of your coming wedding that you share with your friends and family. So in many ways it is the first impression. So an alternative that a lot of card and paper stores offer is to design a unique invitation for your wedding. Visit a few stores to see their show cased invitations and if you like the work they do you might either book an appointment with them to go over the details of your unique wedding invitation. When you go to discuss the details of your unique wedding invitation make sure to let them know what you want and what it is that twill make the invitation unique and personalized. If you don't know what you want, tell them that so that they have the open door to give suggestions. One of the very first thing you will be asked is probably what your wedding colors are and then you will go down to details such as;
- How many pages will the invitation be?
- What quantity are you looking for?
- By when do you need the finished wedding invitations?
- Do you need them to assemble the invitations or will you do it yourself?
- What paper quality (the sales rep will be able to show you different papers commonly used for wedding invitations)?
- What format will the invitation be?
- Will you include RSVP card and envelops with the invitation for your wedding?
- Any attachments that should be considered?
- What kind of font (text style) do you want to use on your wedding invitations?
- Do you want to print the envelopes?
- Are there other related wedding pieces that need to be created and printed? see more under Optional inserts
- What do you want the wording of the invitation to be (from looking at other invitations you will get a sense of the style and what traditionally is included on the invitation but you may need more or less depending – see more under "What to include")
When you place your order make sure that you add a few extras of what you are ordering, just to allow you to have a few spares in case you need it – if you are writing on your wedding invitations by hand there is a chance for spelling mistakes. Another good reason to have a few extra invitations is if you people, who you invited to your wedding, not be able to come you can now invite someone else in their place.
Maybe you are fortunate to have the skills to master Photoshop, or similar graphics software, where you can design your wedding invitation yourself – if so this is another option to create a special look and feel for your wedding invite. A print shop can sometimes do the actual print set up for you to make sure it fits the paper in the most efficient way.
Keep in mind, wedding invitations more or less set the tone for the wedding and partly reflect some features of the coming wedding. On the contrast, your bridal shower invitations can get everyone excited for a memorable night of fun and romance.
Online wedding invitations
Wedding invitations made and distributed online are not necessarily the traditional way to go but it is being used more and more frequently due to its ease of use and administration. There are some online wedding invitation services that allow you to set up your wedding invitations and then see all responses. You can also set up reminder emails in a lot of applications and close the invitations for your wedding once your 'invitation' deadline is up and your guest numbers needs to be confirmed. One possible draw back is if not all the people on your guest list have email or access to email. Still expect to make some follow up calls to make sure people got the invitation and you get their responses (for the people that do not respond on time). Wedding invitations online are usually very simple and quite generic so don't expect to design it exactly to your needs, an online wedding invitation is more used for the ease and speed of it (not to mention that you save the postage not only for you wedding invitation but also for the RSVP card).
Another way to handle your wedding invitation online is to have a friend or a small shop build you a wedding website where people can get the details of the wedding and RSVP. The big bonus here is that you can add as much information as you want and give info about hotels, directions, meal options etc all in one place online. The website can also be the compliment to a printed invitation and referred to in your printed wedding invitation as a source of all information surrounding your wedding.
Many card stores do their own printing of wedding invitations or they can have it done for you by using a 3rd party that they coordinate with. Before your wedding invitation goes to print and reproduction (to print the full quantity of your order) make sure you can come in to approve the proof to make sure there are no spelling mistakes or error in names etc. Also make sure the layout is what you agreed on and that the text looks good and all inserts are included. Confirm the quantity and then go to print.
A lot of stores will require a deposit before printing. Make sure you have a copy of the agreement and the quantity of each piece they are printing. Be sure to confirm the timeline for when you can expect to receive the invitations, you want to make sure the print shop can do your order in your desired timeline so the sooner you make them aware the better.
Do another proof when you pick up your invitations.
What to include in your wedding invitation
There are different amounts of information that you can choose to include in your invitation. Include as much as needed for people to be able to make a decision as to whether or not to make it, so time and location are essential. However, the more detail you include the more inserts you will need to have in your wedding invitation as there is only so much space, especially if you want to lay out the text and graphics of your wedding invitation in a nice, spacious and elegant way.
So here are a few pieces of information that are commonly included in a wedding invitation:
- First; who is getting married and often the bride and grooms's parents names are included ("Together with 'brides mother and father' and 'brides mother and father', 'bride' and 'groom' invites to you share in the festivities of their marriage(")
- Date of wedding – write this out in letters as oppose to using letters (so "First of April, two thousand eight" as oppose to "April 1, 2008)
- Location of ceremony
- Time of ceremony – again, write this out in letters on the wedding invitation
- Time and place of reception – same things applies here regarding using letters as oppose to numbers
- Dress code
- Information on where the bride and groom have their wedding registry
- How to RSVP and by when – normally a card is included where the guest can respond to say who will be attending and what their meal selection is but you can also give people the alternative to respond via email or phone (include those details if applicable)
- Envelope (with postage) to send back RSVP card to you with their response to the wedding invitation
- Maps and directions
- Details regarding transportation (if there is any)
- Hotel information; number to call to make reservations, also note if guests receive a discounted rate and to mention the name of the wedding party in order to get it. Also give the timeline for the discounted rate
- It is a good idea to give people a chance to let you know about any food allergies they might have, on their RSVP card where they make their meal selection
Wedding invitation wording
The wording on a wedding invitation tends to be formal rather than informal particularly if the invitation is for a church wedding. If the wedding is taking place at home you may not write quite as formal of an invitation. The wording usually includes things such as the full names of the bride and groom and their parents. Dates and numbers are written out in letters rather then numbers.
Instead of saying "RSVP..." an alternative is to simply use "Please reply...". Certain words and phrases can be exchanged for a less formal feel of the language used.
Wedding invitation samples
Here are a couple of examples of wedding invitations.
Example 1 – both parents inviting:
Jane and James Smith
Donna and Don Doe
Invite you to share in the celebration
Of the marriage between
Peter Doe and Janet Smith
On the first day of April
Two thousand eight
The ceremony will commence at three in the afternoon
Followed by a reception at five in the afternoon
Kindly respond by March fifteenth
Two thousand eight
Example 2 – Bride's parents inviting:
In the celebration of love
Jane and James Smith
Request the honor of your presence
At the marriage of their daughter
On Saturday, the first of April
Two thousand eight
At five o'clock in the afternoon
Saint Paul's Church
1234 Lexington Avenue
New York, New York
Wedding invitation etiquette
When it comes to wedding invitation etiquette some books suggest that your guests should receive their invitations approximately 6-8 weeks prior to the wedding date. This depends though. For example if a lot of people have to travel quite a distance, they may need more time to take a day or two (or more) off from work and to try to get a good deal on transportation such as airplane tickets. So it is good to consider these types of things and put yourself in the shoes of your guests.
Although it may be against proper wedding invitation etiquette these days a lot of people send out a couple of 'rounds' of invites, especially if their wedding venue has limited space. The first batch would be to family and close friends (people you absolutely must and want to invite) and after receiving the responses from these guests you have extra space in your venue you can send out another 'round' of invitations. Make sure to keep track of who you have sent invitations to and not and who has responded and what the response was. Also, do your best to ensure that the same groups of people are receiving your wedding invitations at the same time. This ensures that people do not feel left out or know they were invited on a second or third rounds of invitations.
If the guests you invited to your wedding have not responded, or their response was not complete, by the time you noted in the invitation it is time to start hitting the phones and call them to gather their responses and details. Knowing your number of guests is important as it impacts quantities of food, chairs, table seating arrangements etc.