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The save the dates have been sent, most of your vendors have been booked, and your wedding will be here before you know it! Before saying your “I do’s” it’s time to send your formal invitation to your guests. Grab your guest list, head to a supplies store, and start scouring Pinterest, Etsy or a wedding invitation site and let’s get these invites started!
Photo Credit: Stephanie Brazzle
Wedding Invitation Card Etiquette
With so many traditional and nontraditional rules of etiquette out there, we narrowed down our list to make it easy to digest and even easier to apply.
- If you send a guest a save the date, you must send the invitation to them as well. A save the date acts as a promise that you’ll send an invitation. Of course there are a few exceptions like a family member or good friend breaking up with a significant other. No, you don’t have to invite the significant other, but you definitely need to still invite the friend or family member!
- Nix the “And” and replace it with an ampersand (&).
- Aim for sending your invitation between 6-8 weeks before your wedding. If you’re throwing a destination wedding, extend that window to 3 months before to give your guests extra heads up for travel arrangements.
- Include both you and your fiancé’s full name. Looking to make it more formal? Include the full names of your hosts (parents, grandparents, or whomever is helping to pay) as well.
- Less is more. No need to include your registry information on your wedding invitation card. Instead, opt to direct your guests to your wedding website that can give in depth information to not only your registry, but also accommodations, FAQ’s and more!
Photo Credit: Larissa Cleveland Photography
The number one place to start when designing your wedding invitation, is taking into consideration your wedding colors. This is the first opportunity for your guests to get a real glimpse of what your wedding will look like.
If you’re anything like us, you might have 10 different wedding colors because you’re indecisive. If that’s the case, stick to 2-3 main ones and focus on keeping it simple!
Your invitation will include your formal invitation card alongside your RSVP. Take a look at how you to want to design the entire package. Do you want the RSVP and invitation to be contrasting but complimentary? Or do you want them to be identical in style and color? How do you want to wrap it all together? A belt? A ribbon? Will you throw a sprig of eucalyptus in there? Think big picture!
Photo Credit: Jose Villa Photography
Let’s take a step back and remember how much you budgeted when you first got engaged. Keep in mind that you don’t want to deviate from those numbers! That being said, invitation companies and calligraphers are an investment. If they don’t fit within your budget, consider finding a graphic designer in your area or on Etsy to choose your favorite design. From there you can send it to a company like Vistaprint for quality invitations for a quarter of the price. If this is the route you take, it will take more of your time, but you will have more control of the invitation process and make it a truly DIY wedding from start to finish.
Photo Credit: Karen Hill Photography
Without a doubt, the hardest part of wedding invitations is getting your guests to RSVP and to have all the information in their hands without inundating them with content on the invitation itself. Here are a couple of ideas:
- Make it traditional – Send your guests a RSVP card with a blank line for them to fill out if they’ll be attending or not. If you are having a plated dinner, this will also be the time to have them specify their meal preference.
- Send a postcard – Save money on envelopes and have your RSVP card in the form of a postcard. Many companies have created cute and fun designs to make them gorgeous and match your invitation flawlessly.
- Direct people to your wedding website! Keep your invitation simple and clean and put all of your information on your wedding website. Helpful tip: make your wedding website URL easy for them to type into their browser!
- Designate the number of guests in their party. Some people will not understand that whomever you’ve mentioned on the envelope is all that is invited. To avoid this confusion, you can pre-write the amount of guests they’re allowed. For example, you can use this wording, “We have reserved __ seats in your honor.”
Photo Credit: Winsome and Wright
You have a beautiful invitation, now it’s all about finding the perfect envelope to fit your entire package and make a good first impression on your guests.
Traditional invitation packages will include both an outside and an inside envelope. Beware of this when you are choosing the size of the envelopes. If you’re making your own invitation and including a matting, it may not fit in the traditional A7 envelope size. Do your research before making your design.
Addressing can be a nightmare if you stray away from the normal. For example, if you decide you want a dark envelope and white writing, chances are you’re going to have to hire a calligrapher or do it all by hand. While these are absolutely stunning, they are cost prohibitive and can be hard to coordinate. Instead, opt for a more normal size and a light colored envelope so you can save money and hand cramps by ordering from a printing company such as Minted.
Now, where to put names and addresses? If you’re opting for a traditional invitation, address the outside invitation to the formal listing of the couple that you’ll be inviting. For the inside invitation, map out the exact names that are invited from that family. This will help to avoid confusion on who is actually invited to your wedding. For your return address, it should always go on the back flap of the outside envelope! Keep the main focus on your guest for the front, it is your first opportunity to give them a glimpse of your wedding and make them feel special.
Photo Credit: Greg Finck
You’d think stamps would be easy, but better to be safe than sorry! Check with your postage office first to make sure that the weight and size matches the stamps that you’ve put on there. If you’re looking for more customization outside of the standard postage options, buy through a site like Zazzle or Minted where you can design your stamps to match your invitation package.
Photo Credit: Heather Waraksa
Double and Triple Check Everything
Trust us, your worst nightmare will be if a name is spelt wrong or you miscounted by accident. This should go without saying, but before sending out make sure you double and triple check everything to make sure it all aligns and is spelt correctly.
Expert Tip: Many of your guests may have moved since you sent them your Save the Date. Reach out to all of your guests again to confirm their addresses. It’s worth it so you don’t have any return to sender disasters!
Photo Credit: Katie Stoops Photography
Account for human error! There’s bound to be return to senders, misspellings, or misprints. Order extras of everything! Plus, your photographer will appreciate that you have clean invitations to take pictures of at your wedding.
Photo Credit: Weddings by Nicola & Glen
Show us your invitation card suite! Do you have any tips for your fellow brides as you go through this process?