The style and flair of your invitations suggests both your personalities as a couple and how formal/informal your wedding will be. It should convey if it will be cool and contemporary or classic and elegant or cultural and traditional or fun and quirky. Your format style and stationery should give a flavor of all this. Issuing wedding stationery in a timely and cost-efficient fashion is a logistical feat so here are some tips to help you:
START AS SOON AS YOU ARE ENGAGED!
Seriously. Start researching wedding invitation photos and stationers’ websites. Get your own ideas together too. This should be at least 9-11 months before your wedding date. Your Save-The Dates should go out eight months before and your invitations five months before. If you are having a destination wedding, it should be seven months before so your guests have chance to budget and plan for themselves.
CHECK OUT COLORS AND MOTIFS
Do you want to continue a style/theme throughout all your wedding stationery: menu cards, ceremony programs, name place card, thank you notes? It will probably work out cheaper and your stationer will thank you with discounts. Although white/off-white card is the usual standard, you can jazz it up and literally put your own couple stamp on through vibrant or metallic fonts, envelope liners, borders. Just don’t make it too busy. Keep it simple so the main information is easily communicated.
CHOOSE SHAPE AND SIZE CAREFULLY
Nowadays, all sorts of shapes and sizes are acceptable from postcard to scalloped, round and square. Just remember the bigger the invitation, the more pricey it is to send.
CONSIDER THE COST OF DESIGN AND PRINTING
This is totally dependent on the design, ink, typeface, printing process, paper and quantity. Customizing, letterpress and engraving will add considerably to your costs as will extras like envelope liners and lots of enclosures so research carefully. Also, do you want a calligrapher? If so, this will add a few dollars to each envelope.
HANDWRITE THE ENVELOPES
If you have good handwriting, do it yourself. If not, hire a calligrapher or print using digital calligraphy software.
WORDING - SAYS IT ALL
Historically, the wedding hosts should be listed first on the invitation. Whether it is yourselves, the groom’s parents or the bride’s, they come first ‘requesting the honor of your presence.’ Give all the pertinent details: name, place, time, date, whether it is just the wedding reception or the ceremony and reception. Make it clear. If children are invited, write their names. Only the named guests on the invitation are officially invited.
CHECK IT’S LEGIBLE AND UNCROWDED
This means checking the font and the clash between font colors and backgrounds. Your stationer should be able to advise you if there is any doubt. Just because your wedding color palette is pink and black does not mean that will work on your invitations…
PROOF AND THEN PROOF AND THEN PROOF AGAIN
Even if you think your grammar and spelling is perfect, get your English major pal or your punctuation pedant to double-check.
ONE INVITATION PER HOUSEHOLD
You only need to deliver one invitation per household, even if you have several invitees. Just ensure that you write their full names inside so there is no confusion. If you are inviting children, list them; otherwise, just the adults’ names will indicate that children are not included.
ORDER AN EXTRA 25 INVITATIONS
This is in case you need to resend or have a B-list with a later RSVP date or actually forget to invite your grandma. It does happen, I’m afraid!
ORDER ALL YOUR STATIONERY IN ONE GO
It is cheaper on both money and time to order menu cards, ceremony programs and thank you notes, possibly wedding favor tags, welcome bag notes and name place cards at the same time as your invitations and Save-The-Dates. Even if you still haven’t sorted out the wording, the order can go through.
INCLUDE YOUR RSVP CARD WITH A STAMPED ADDRESSED ENVELOPE
Make sure your RSVP clearly states a confirmation of whether they will be attending or not, their personal name is printed on it and that there is an option to make a note of any dietary requirements. You should also enclose a stamped addressed envelope as you are the one who needs to know! Liaise with the caterer for the final headcount. Keep the deadlines for return short as long ones encourage folk to forget and you have also to organize the seating chart.
ORGANIZE YOUR RSVPS AND THANK YOU LIST
You need some spreadsheet software to check off your RSVPs and make a note of your bridal registry as items get knocked off. YOu should send out a thank you note within two weeks of the wedding; if gifts come after the wedding day, you’ve got a month’s leeway however.
WEIGH YOUR STANDARD INVITATION BEFORE THE BIG MAIL OUT
You need to make sure the invitation enclosures do not make it heavier than the coverage of a regular stamp; if they do, you need to purchase the right amount of postage per invitation otherwise you may face all your invitations being returned - but not received! A very pricey scenario indeed. Also, if you don’t want a machine processing stamp running over your beautiful envelopes, you can enquire at the Post Office regarding hand-cancelling which ensures it will have a more discreet processing stamp on it.