Planning a wedding is a stressful task. Every aspect of your wedding needs to be perfect - right from your dress for the occasion, the venue for the wedding, your wedding invites, the wedding favours for your guests, when you stop to think about it the list seems almost endless doesn't it?
Well, we can help you take care of one of the most important tasks - creating your wedding invitations. The list given below will help you organise your thoughts and create the perfect wedding invitations for your wedding. You can also check out our post on planning your wedding ceremony for more information!
1. Plan The Wedding Day First
Is your wedding going to be large or small but intimate? Will the setting be formal with elegant details, casual so everyone can relax or family oriented to suit the many children you want to share your experience. Perhaps you have decided on a theme, and your guests will enjoy themselves more if they come dressed as a knight or lady. Maybe you and your new husband are biking enthusiasts and will cycle to and from the church, or will get married at the bottom of the ocean because you met scuba diving. You must settle all of the details before sending out the invitation.
2. Co-ordination is Important
Now that you have decided on the location, size and tone of the day, consider the colors to match the occasion. Will you highlight a royal red? Is the wedding to be in the fall and you want to use the seasonal reds, yellows and oranges of the leaves of the trees.? Or is it in the spring with all of the bulbs blooming? Perhaps it is a winter wedding at the ski resort where you fell in love. Select the invitational stationery to match your desires.
3. All Different Shapes and Sizes
How many invitations will you be sending? Where in the world will they go? What is traditional. Many invitations are a 4.5 by 6.25 inches rectangular card. This shape and size are easily mailed. If you select a much more substantial size than the regular envelope, the cost of mailing will increase. The traditional shape of a rectangle may be perfect for your day, however, consider others as well. There are many from which to select from circular, oval to ones with trimmed edges. Perhaps you want the invitation to match the theme. If the wedding is to take place on a beach in a warm country, that shell-shaped card is a very suitable for the invitation.
4. The Text Fonts and Colors
Legibility is king. You want your guests to understand all of the significant details. Use a text that they can easily read. The fancy font may look beautiful but could be misconstrued. Communication of the details is the primary purpose of the card so being clear is what will reign the day. Pale colors on a white background are challenging to read. Some guests may arrive with the card in their hand as they look for the address of the church. You want them to be able to find the ceremony without any stress.
Review the customary ways of phrasing in invitations. Learn whose names you need to include such as the parents of the bride if they are applicable. And include all of the information, so your guests arrive on time: date, location, time. Avoid putting an earlier start time for the wedding. You do want your guests to be on time, but every guest knows the importance of arriving early for the wedding so put the correct start time on your invitation and let your guests plan their time to arrive. You do not want them waiting around for an extra half hour. And those guests who are late will be late no matter what you do. Usually, the name of the host is included as well as your name and your fiancé's name. Include mention of the expected dress, especially if it is a formal wedding or one where the guests will take part in a unique activity, such as swimming in the ocean. If the wedding reception is to be held in a different location from the ceremony, include those details on a separate sheet and perhaps with more information on the day such as hotels in the area or a map to the location. List all of the events of the wedding. Maybe all of your guests will not be part of the photo session, but it is a courtesy to inform them about what is going on. They can dash out to a coffee shop to relax while you are busy elsewhere.
Request any special arrangements. Perhaps one of your guests needs assistance for mobility and needs to be seated first. Many people have dietary restrictions. It is essential you note any needs of your guests so you can make them feel comfortable on your special day. You can send out the request for special arrangements with your invitation or as a follow up to the people who have responded with the RSVP.
Consider who in the family you are inviting. Most weddings welcome everyone, but some weddings are for adults only. You can subtly indicate this fact on the envelope by addressing the invitation to the parents only: “Mr And Mrs John Smith.” But if you want to invite everyone, use an inclusive address such as “The Smith Family” or mention everyone's names: “Mr And Mrs John Smith, Susie and George Smith”.
You can also check out more details on Wedding Invitation Dos & Don'ts!
6. The Registry
It is inappropriate to mention the registry in your invitation. Instead, include your website on the invitation. And on your website make the registry information prominent so that guests can find it easily. Also, double check the site to make sure all of the details are clearly and correctly spelt out for guests who forgot their invitation on their way to the wedding. Yeah, cell phones!
7. A Donation Instead of A Wedding Gift
You can indicate the preference for your guests to donate to a selection of charities of your choice or to one of their favorite instead of purchasing a present. Include a separate card in the invitation with this request. Ask the guest to respond by indicating which charity they chose so you can thank your guest.
Since people's lives are so hectic, you will want to send out your “save the date” cards out early. Six to eight months ahead of time is usually adequate. In this entire process leave time to select the cards, print them and mail them as well. This process could take several weeks from start to finish. Your formal wedding invitations should be sent six to eight weeks before the wedding. It is not too early to start looking for the invitation nine to twelve months ahead of your date. If your wedding is scheduled for a holiday weekend, even more notice is required as some families plan holidays a year ahead. Or if your wedding is a destination wedding start even earlier so your guests can arrive flights to suit their budgets.
Your RSVP will be vital to the planning of your wedding and reception. The RSVP information is printed in the lower right-hand corner of the invitation or on a separate card that can be sent back to you. Include the return address and postage on the separate card for the convenience of your guests. If the RSVP is by phone, include the number and best times to reach you. If it is by email, include your email address or website. To set the date of return make sure you know what the caterers need and then set the return date a couple of weeks ahead of that date. If you have a B list of guests also have a B list RSVP with a different date of return. There are so many details that are a result of your final list of guests that you need this information early: the seating for dinner, name cards for the guests, decor items on the table, number of meals, and drinks.
11. The Expense
Sending out cards may seem like a simple task but it can get complicated or expensive. Plan on a dollar per card for a simple one but the expense for some cards can stretch to close to one hundred dollars for exquisite design, envelop liners, several additional enclosures, calligraphy and postage. In your timing, plan time to locate everyone's address. It may take some time to track down all of those details, even if you use the internet.
12. The Envelope
Again this may seem like a simple task, but realise that it too will take some time. If you can afford it, you may want to hire a calligrapher to address the envelope. Your guests will understand that you very much would like them to attend your wedding by taking the time to have the envelopes completed by hand. If you have excellent writing skills, you can complete this task yourself. It is advisable to plan to complete this work in several sittings as your hand will get tired after addressing a dozen or so envelopes. Start with the guests who have located the most distance from you. And if you cannot afford the expense to hire a calligrapher or the time to complete the task yourself, you can always use labels and a handwriting font on your computer. But even that choice takes a considerable amount of time. Make sure you include a return address so that any invitations that go astray will be returned to you. Note that often postal codes are left off addresses. Be sure to include these.
There is an etiquette for stuffing your envelope.
- First, include the tissue paper if the invitation came with one.
- The enclosure cards go inside the folded invitations or in front of the flat invitation cards.
- Place all items inside the inner envelop if you have one.
- Then place the inner envelope with the guests' names facing the opener of the card.
- Make sure you weigh a card to determine the correct amount of postage.
13. Proof Your Details
It is easy to make mistakes or confuse details in written language. While you may be able to catch some errors yourself, do not stop with just yourself as an editor. Take your invitation to several friends. If you have someone who is a stickler for details now is the time to use this strength. Have them proofread your invitation for the quality of the information as well as the correctness. Editors often advise writers to read the information backwards, word for word to check for accuracy of the information and any spelling errors. This is the occasion to use this technique. It does take considerable effort to correct any errors that you miss since these errors can confuse your guests.
14. The Number
It is correct etiquette to send one invitation for each household with a few exceptions. Couples who live apart should receive a separate invitation as well as college students who live at a different location from their parents. Children who are over 18 should get a separate invitation as well. Order extra invitations for a variety of reasons. Twenty-five extra is a good number. You will want some for keepsakes. The odd guest will need an additional reminder. You may have a list of people you will invite if some of your primary guests cannot make the occasion.
15. Co-ordinate Your Look
Now that you have decided on the look of your invitation order your menus, programs, tags, welcome bag notes, seating cards and thank you notes at the same time. This will ensure an exact match and will save you money.
16. Thank you Notes
Manage this part of your wedding carefully as the task can be confusing. You probably have files on your computer to help you. Or maybe you have found some software specifically for wedding planning. With the arrival of each gift carefully make a note of the present electronically. Before the wedding a thank you card is to be sent within two weeks of receiving the present. After the marriage, the expectation is within a month.
17. Timeline Planner
- 12 months – Acquire wedding planning software to help you manage the details
- 10 to 12 months – Save the Date Cards
- 4 to 6 months – Wedding Invitations with RSVP – give your guest 3 to 4 weeks
- 1 to 3 weeks – Details of the religious wedding if applicable
- 1 to 2 months – Menu Cards – dietary concerns
- 2 months – Locate a Guestbook to suit your theme
- within a month after the wedding – Thank You cards
Now that you understand the logistics, you can get started on planning the most significant day of your life. If you'd like to read more about wedding invitations explore our complete guide to wedding invitations!