• Lesson 11 - Invitations

  • A, B, C's of Invitations

    Your wedding invitation is one of the four focal points of your wedding and the gorgeous options are endless from letterpress to digital printing to frameable to plantable invites... With some careful thought and foresight you can tie an element from your wedding dress, your wedding style, your cake/wedding dessert or your main source of wedding inspiration here!

    This lesson is going to cover the A, B, C's of invitations and keep it basic. Let's start by simplifying this process into some easy steps - 1) Design/Select - 2) Order - 3) Assemble - 4) Mail.

    Design/Select - the basic components of your invitation are listed below.

    1) Envelope Size - Envelopes come in standard sizes, and these sizes can even vary by manufacturer. When selecting your invitation, it will most likely come with a coordinating envelope. If you are designing a custom invitation, it would be wise to select the envelope first, then choose a coordinating paper, then move on to design, colors, and other details.
    *Keep in mind this can detail can increase costs with higher postage if choosing an oversize or square envelope.

    2) Inner & Outer Envelopes - You can use inner and outer envelopes to address the invitation to specific people. Alternatives for the inner envelope you can also use a band of paper with the guests’ names written on it (or a string with a tag or a sticker...) instead of an inner envelope, or write their names directly on a single outer envelope. Double envelopes are more formal and traditional. More brides are skipping this step and extra expense.

    3) Wording - As far as detailed wording and etiquette, your designer may have options to select from once you select your design and how much space you have to work with. We give a basic breakdown in the Planning Tip box in the upper right corner!

    4) Etiquette for Addressing Envelopes - Etiquette dictates here that a properly addressed envelope is hand addressed - either by a calligrapher or your own handwriting. This adds a personal and special touch to the invitation. If you are printing your addresses, pick a font that coordinates with your invitation or even resembles real handwriting.

    5) Return Address - Your return address (or the address of whomever is doing the inviting) typically goes on the back flap of the envelope. To simplify, have it printed along with your invitations, or invest in a custom rubber stamp. A custom monogram designed for your wedding looks great here!

    6) Envelope Liners - Another fun detail for this focal point. Envelope liners are decorative since they really don't serve a purpose. They are a great way to tie your wedding colors and design together or to add a little pop of color to a simplistic design.

    More than likely you will have at least 2 guests per invitation (and your Save the Date) so take that into consideration when determining the quantity to order. Consult your invitation company for price breaks as the quantity you purchase increases and be aware of these thresholds. Ordering extra envelopes for envelope addressing mistakes is a smart idea as well as a few extra invites for any last minute invitees as well as an extra invite for your wedding scrapbook (and moms too!).

    Remember our secret strategy for your Guest List with an 'A List/B List' from Lesson 2? Please click HERE for a short-cut to revisit this strategy.

    **Timing - consult your invitation specialist for the exact turn-around time from ordering to being in your hands. We advise our clients to order 5 months before their wedding to avoid rush charges and to allow ample time for assembling and then mailing about 8-10 weeks before your RSVP date (the mailing of the invites do vary from situation to situation but this is our guideline). Most importantly, this extra time allows for the unforeseen hiccup to not be bothersome.

    After you assemble your invitation (reserve a large area for an assembly line procedure), check the postage you will need by bringing in a completely assembled envelope to the post office to determine the correct postage. This is best done before purchasing your stamps and adhering to your invitations!

    Remember to include the approximate cost of postage when calculating your budget for invitations. Etiquette here dictates this should also include postage for the RSVP response card (either envelopes or postcards). We have already 'addressed' (hehe, no pun intended!) how the size and weight of your outer envelope can increase this budget expense.

    *Design Detail - a non-traditional postage stamp is a refreshing addition. Postage stamps are customizable from photos to whatever you want. To get a little design here at no additional cost, select a wedding/love theme stamp instead from the USPS.

  • Invitation Wording

    Invitation Wording

    Invite Wording Basics

  • RSVP Tip

    *TIP - I highly recommend setting your RSVP date to 3 weeks before your wedding date. Of course if your situation has extreme reasons for not, then please adjust accordingly.

    By setting your RSVP date 3 weeks before, you will have a week or so to contact any of the slackers (ummm, guests) who haven't RSVP'd. This allows you to meet your deadline to turn in your final numbers to your caterer (usually 10-14 days before but can vary), florals, rentals, stationery items such as escort cards/place cards and any other personalization for items you may do. (Personalization may take longer and should be started once you have a confirmed yes to save you time.)

  • Plus 1's

    How to handle this touchy subject with a guest? Traditionally the inner envelope (when having both inner and outer envelopes) would be addressed to the exact people invited. If you intended the guest to bring a date (a plus one), then it would be addressed: "Mr. John Smith and Guest".

    But what do you do when you don't have an inner envelope? If your venue or budget is dictating that you control the exact number of guests being invited and ultimately attending, use your RSVP card for this or address the outer envelope in the similar fashion you would have addressed the inner envelope.

    For the RSVP card approach which is a more direct way, provide a line that simply states (or cleverly...):
    "There are ___ seat(s) reserved for you."
    Now this means you must go and write in the correct number of seats on the RSVP card intended for the guest receiving the invitation.

    If you have a single guest and don't want him/her to bring a plus one, then simply write in 1 for 1 seat. This clearly implies that they are meant to come single. If a guest has a problem with this, they will most likely ask you. This is your opportunity to explain why or change your mind.

    This is also handy if inviting a family unit but want to keep it to the immediate family of 4 (for example) and not the extended cousins or any plus one's. You would write in 4 seats. Or whatever the exact situation calls for!


  • Paperless Invitations

    The quality and selection of paperless invitations is growing every year as do the benefits and features with each service. If you are considering this option, the two powerhouses are Paperless Post and Green Envelope. They have many styles and templates to choose from (including a coordinating wedding website. We have found these to have slightly more limited features than the ones we previously discussed.)

    This article in the Huffington Post really sums up the Pros and Cons of Paperless Invitations and is worth reading if you are not sure which direction is for you (I figured I wouldn't reinvent the wheel here since it is perfectly written already!).

    Another notable option to mention for invitations is Postable.com. This site is seriously making the whole invitation process very easy! It features a private online address book that your guests can add their current address (saves you time for tracking everyone down). You then select from their vast invitations for the right design and then customize the important inserts for your welcome party or brunch or driving directions... This site will even print, stuff, address and mail them for you!

    If you do use Postable, the information from the address book can be copied over to your master Guest List (see Lesson 2) which covers additional useful details on each guest such as diet restrictions, seating, gift description and multiple events.