Okay friends, how do you get started with your wedding invitations? And then there are save the dates, RSVP cards, menus, name cards, and thank you notes..so many elements to creating an organized stationery plan for all of the stages of your wedding.
While yes, all these elements are important, let's spend some time focusing on the invitations. Why spend time on this? Well, the official invitations let your guests know where to be and at what time to witness that beautiful moment when you say "I do". You want your friends and family to come, so they need the information! Paper invitations are one of the more traditional elements of your wedding. Whether you keep the design of them traditional or not, you want to be sure to stick to the etiquette. Don’t stress, we got your back girl! Here is some information that will help you out with knowing when, what, and how to tackle getting your invitations just right.
Let’s get started!
Have a theme that runs all the way through your Stationary
Think of this as branding your wedding. Use the color theme you have chosen for your wedding and make sure they are consistent here. Stick with the same fonts throughout all the stationary, it’s important for it to all match. So the invitations, save the dates, RSVP and even table numbers and menus, they should coordinate. From flowers to place settings, a well-considered color scheme makes everything appear much more elegant and classy. Matching invitations will also give guests a sneak peek of what they should expect the ceremony to look like!
TIP - Make sure that the font you choose is legible! Caligraphy and scripty fonts are fun and beautiful to use on your stationary, but please make sure that other people can read it easily as well! Check that the color is easy to read also. The main point of your invitation is to give your guests information, so they need to read it.
STAMP TIP - Of course you want the perfect stamps for your wedding invitations. But not all stamps are widely available at every post office, especially in large quantities. Save yourself scouting time by ordering them online at USPS.com. And be sure to weigh your invitation and all the additional paper products before you send them out so you can attach the right amount of postage. Ask your stationer about the need for additional postage for oddly shaped envelopes.
When should we send out our Save the Date and Wedding Invitations?
Save the dates are a really good idea, especially if you're having a wedding during a holiday season, or planning a destination wedding. People plan so far ahead these days and may want to make your wedding part of a holiday or vacation. 6-8 months before your wedding date is the ideal time to get your Save the Dates sent out.
Traditionally, the official invitations go out six to eight weeks before the wedding. This amount of time gives guests plenty of time to clear their schedules and make travel arrangements if they live out of town. If your wedding is a destination wedding, give guests more time and send them out three months ahead of time.
So here is the break down:
Save the Date: 6-8 months before your wedding
Wedding Invitation: 6-8 weeks before your wedding
Destination or Holiday Wedding: 12 weeks before your wedding
TIP - BEFORE you drop those beautiful babies in the mail - double..no TRIPLE check that ALL the information is included! You wouldn't believe how many invitations get sent out missing something important, such as the date, or the venue, or the time. Oh my! Have a few people look them over to make sure the information is accurate and complete. You can also include details of accommodation and a map if necessary. You want to make it as EASY as possible for everyone you are inviting to be there for your special day!
How should I address my invitations?
Again, because this is still a more traditional part of the wedding, let’s keep it formal girl. This means that everyone's names should include their title and full name. And...sorry my friend...but yes - you should hand write these. I know, I know, addressing envelopes by hand can feel like a very tedious process. Printed labels however can come across as lazy and inconsiderate, which is definitely not how you want your guests to feel. If you have a stationery designer, check with them to see if they can also address your envelopes for you. Or have your bride tribe with good handwriting to help you out!
Where do we include information about our wedding website and registry?
Your wedding website can be included on your save-the-date. A simple "JustinandKelly.com," is really all you need. Not doing a save the date? Now you have a choice to make. Traditional etiquette says no, don’t include this with your invitation. However, it is becoming more acceptable to include your wedding web address in the invitation with an insert, such as a small card that informs guests they can find more details online. It should not be printed on the invitation itself.
Now, the registry. Do you include that with your invitation? As far as etiquette goes….sorry girl, no. Including registry info on the wedding invitations or save-the-dates is still considered impolite because it can come off as though you're asking for gifts. Go ahead and put your registry info directly on your wedding website. Most wedding websites will allow a link directly to your registry which is easy for your guests to find. You can also tell your wedding party, parents and close friends where you're registered, and let them fill guests in.
What about dress code expectations?
The easiest way to get your point across is to include a dress code in the lower right-hand corner of the invite or on a reception card. "Black tie," "cocktail attire" or "casual attire" are all acceptable. Your invitation design will also clue guests in. An ultra-formal, traditional invite with letterpress and calligraphy will give guests a hint to the formal nature of the event, whereas a square invite with a playful font and bright colors would fit a much more casual style. Wedding attire can range from laid-back beach threads to glamorous red carpet getups, so let your guests know. There's not much worse than turning up in a lounge suit to a wedding that's morning dress or vice versa. EEK! Everybody will feel more comfortable if they're certain what they expect to wear. Another way is to direct guests to your wedding website, where you can go into more detail about the weekend events and dress code in a more informal forum.
When should we make the deadline for RSVPs?
Make your RSVP due date two to three weeks before your wedding date to allow enough time for you to get your final head count to the caterer and to finalize your seating chart if you have one. Don’t be shy to pick up the phone or shoot a text to those guests who still haven't responded by your deadline. I wish this didn’t happen, but you know how people are, some just won’t get back to you in time, and you will have to reach out.
If you have multiple ways for people to RSVP, such as through the mail and on a website, it is important to create a master list where you can compile all the responses in one place, so no one gets missed.
The “plus-one” - Do I have to include it?
Does every invitation have to have the “plus-one” on the invitation? No, you don't have to. If a guest isn't married or in a serious relationship, it's perfectly acceptable to invite them solo. Most of the time, guests will understand that without the "and Guest", or another name on the invitation, means the invitation is for just them. It is a nice gesture to invite everyone with a guest, however if you're having a small wedding then your family and friends will understand your reasoning. Okay, but you know you may get an RSVP back from Uncle Joe and he has added a name, what do you do? Don’t be afraid to call them up and explain you're having an intimate wedding and, unfortunately, you were not able to invite everyone with a guest. It’s YOUR day, so it’s okay to say no and stick to your guns. If your space allows & you realize that nearly everyone will be coupled up, extend a plus-one invitation to your few single friends and family.
Left corner, back flap…..where the heck am I supposed to put the return address on wedding invitations?
Traditionally, the return address goes on the back flap of the envelope. The return address used should be that of the person(s) whom you've designated to receive response cards. (The return address is more acceptable to be a label, but make sure it looks nice, maybe even matches your theme!) Don't forget that the RSVP envelope should also be printed with this address. And to stick with the traditional etiquette here, the RSVP envelope should also include postage. The postage is not only polite, but increases the likelihood of getting a response on time.
We hope this helps you out as you begin preparing your invites, and that you are feeling empowered rather than overwhelmed by the time you get to the end of this blog! If you are still feeling a bit overwhelmed, it might be time to call in the experts. Consider checking with a local printer or stationary specialist to help you through all the details and to make sure everything is beyond perfect. Our good friends at So Chic Boutique could be a great resource for you. In fact, all the invitations in this blog were designed by them! www.thesochicboutique.com
The Adore Squad