You’re getting married! The big day is rapidly arriving, the budget planned, and you have started looking for vendors to help bring the big day to reality. While this is a very exciting time in your life, it can also be the most stressful as you journey into an industry full of ever-changing etiquette and tradition. As your details come together, the wedding invitation is easily one of the most important elements.
I’ve collected some of the most frequently asked questions about wedding invitations that I see as a stationer and provided my honest to goodness answers:
When should we plan to send out our wedding invitations?
Traditionally, invitations are put in the mail six to eight weeks before the wedding. This gives your guests plenty of time to make any changes to their schedule and travel arrangements as necessary. Couples have started sending “save the date” cards to guests up to eight months out from the wedding to give them a heads up and allow for more planning time.
If you are planning to skip the save the date, there’s no harm in airing on the side of caution with a plan to send your invitations out eight weeks prior, especially if guests will need to make overnight plans.
When should I begin working on my invitations?
This question comes with a two-part answer! First, I would always recommend working with a stationer (like ElisaAnne Calligraphy) six to eight months before the wedding.
Second, designing, producing, addressing, and delivering your order can take quite some time, especially depending on the materials and style you select, which can affect the timeline of your project. If you’re planning on working with a stationer, it’s never too early to start talking about what you have in mind!
What should be included on my invitation?
Easy answer - let’s call them the 3 W’s:
Who: Who is getting married
When: What time it is taking place
Where: Where it is being held
And maybe a venue illustration, pet portrait or crest :)
What pieces should be included in my invitation suite?
Simply: the invitation, the RSVP card, and the respective envelopes. These two pieces together should provide all of the important details, RSVP instructions, and who is invited.
However, as stationers, we have seen clients add other pieces such as details cards, maps of the venue property, menus, and more!
How do I clearly state the guests that ARE invited?
I might be jumping to conclusions, but I think what you actually meant to ask is:
How do I make it clear that we are having an “adult-only” wedding?
How do I make it clear that a guest has a plus one, or doesn’t?
How do I make it clear that my friend can bring her current boyfriend, but if they break up she can’t bring some random guy or person we don’t know?
This is where a professional can come in handy, because we’ve seen it all before! The way an invitation is addressed, or RSVP card is created can often lead to confusion, awkward phone calls and additional stress upon the bride or groom. In all honesty, there will always be guests who believe they are an exception but making these details as clear as possible will give you tremendous support when a family friend INSISTS that their kids were actually invited and RSVP for seven guests instead of two - true story there.
STEP 1: Address by name
Address your invitations correctly – to each guest by name, not “and guest.” Guests should understand that the invitation is meant for only those mentioned. If their kids aren’t on the invitation, they aren’t invited.
STEP 2: Avoid “and guest” when possible.
If you include “and guest,” this leaves the invitation open to any plus one or date to fill the seat.
If the invitation includes the boyfriend by name, then they break up, his invitation does not transfer to a new date or random person.
This is also an easy way to note who who receives a plus one or not.
STEP 3: Include the number of guests invited on the RSVP card
If the recipient has made it this far and still needs one last barrier, include the number of intended guests on the RSVP card. For example:
The invitation is addressed to: Mr. and Mrs. Michael Emanuelo.
The RSVP card says: 2 guests included in this invitation; ____ guests accepting this invitation.
Their 3 kids are not included in the total - BINGO.
How much postage will I need per invitation?
So, you’ve set a budget for your invitation – but many couples don’t factor invitation and save the date postage into their budget – and it can actually cost a lot. (Like, make you question if it’s legal to charge that much for stamps, a lot.)
The amount of postage you need per invitation depends on the shape, size and weight. If you choose to handle postage yourself, (without your stationer) make sure to take a fully assembled invitation suite to the post office and weigh it to determine postage.
Should I hire a custom wedding invitation designer?
Is that a question after reading all of the answers above? :)
Weddings can be stressful, and flexibility is required, but hopefully this blog post answered some of the starter questions or added in a couple of details you hadn’t considered yet. Using a stationer who handles invitation details professionally can alleviate the potential for mistakes, unexpected costs and worries. Did I mention that designing your own custom invitation suite can be super fun and add the perfect, personal touch to your big day?
If this still hasn’t convinced you – check back for a blog post next week discussing the importance of paper in your wedding day!