Wedding Planning: The Invitation

The wedding invitation is the first tangible connection your guests will have with your special day,  offering a taste of what is to come. Whether your wedding follows a classic, modern, rustic, formal, casual, or some sort of hybrid style, the invitation sets the tone and communicates not only the actual details but also the experience your guests can expect

 

 

Elements

Save the Date

An optional piece that a lot of couples like to send, the save the date should be sent a few months to upwards of a year in advance of the wedding – but should only be sent to those who will be invited to the wedding ceremony!

Info to include: couple’s names, wedding date; may include location, website, and other relevant details

Invitation

This is the key element – if you have nothing else…you need the invitation!

Info to include: couple’s names, who is hosting the wedding (parents, for example), date, time, location, reception information.

Details Insert

This optional insert offers further detail regarding the wedding, the location, and/or the activities. It may also feature a custom map and directions for guests.

Info to include: directions, map, activities, website address, day-of timeline, etc.

RSVP/Reply Card

This is another essential piece. You need to get a final guest count by a specific date. Whether you go the traditional route and have guests return the card or opt to save time and money by having them respond through email, a website, or via social media, make the process easy and stright-forward to ensure you get as many rsvp’s as possible!

Disclaimer: There will inevitably be some who don’t respond, forget to return the card, or require further follow-up to verify their attendance!

Unconditional Foil-Pressed RSVP CardsP Cards

Info to include: RSVP deadline/due date, RSVP method (phone, email, website), registry information

Envelope(s)

Another key element – the envelope! Or, envelopes, if you’re having guests return the RSVP card. You’ll have a main outer envelope, an inner envelope (optional, to keep the invitation in-tact and used for more formal occasions, generally), and an RSVP envelope.

Info to include: Recipient’s address, return address (pre-address the RSVP envelope)

 

 

Options

There are plenty of options available for making your invitation suite unique and special. Some are cost-effective while others will require a bit more of a budget, but knowing the look you’re going for can help narrow down the choices.

 

Custom-made, one-of-a-kind

This is the ultimate wedding invitation experience! The sky is the limits when it comes to options – everything from invitation shape to ink colour can be customized to suit your special day.

PROS:
– unique & personalized
– professional service, experience, & attention
– suit your needs and wedding style
– nice paper options, ink options, & extras to choose from

CONS:
– more expensive
– longer turn-around/production time
– may be overwhelming

 

DIY

Unless you’re a calligrapher, stationer, or know a professional who is, I generally recommend against DIYing your wedding invitations. It will cost you a chunk of time and the end result of amateurs is usually not … well, professional. Remember, this is the first impression guests will have of your wedding and you want that to be a good one; you want to assure them that it will be worth the effort to attend, that the food will be good, the activities will be fun – and a cheap-looking, poorly-designed invitation just doesn’t say any of that! Oh, and by the way, DIY is not always the cheaper option.

PROS:
– expense will vary & may be cheaper
– will look unique
– can be designed to suit specific needs & the wedding style/theme

CONS:
– lots of hands-on time
– results will vary; may not give the impression you desire
– limited access to luxe & quality materials

 

Online & Pre-made

If you’re looking for something of quality, fairly unique, and affordable, this is the option for you. Online invitation sites have come a long way and now offer a variety of designs to suit any wedding style as well as many paper options, ink colours, customizable features, and even services like envelope addressing. Plus, the turn-around time is usually less and you may be able to access further savings through coupons and promo codes!

PROS:
– good selection
– variety of materials & options will vary
– convenient
– cost effective; usually includes envelopes

CONS:
– pre-designed & not as unique as custom
– need to consider shipping costs & shipping time

RECOMMENDATIONS:
Minted
Shutterfly

 

 

Invitation Timeline

 

When to Order/Create

Custom made should be ordered no later than 2-3 months before you need to mail the invitations; check with your stationer for their recommendations based on the materials and extra features you want to include with your design.

If DIYing, you should start at least 3-4 weeks before mailing – if you have a busy schedule, start earlier!

Ordering online and pre-made invitations can be done 1-2 weeks before your mailing date; just make sure to check how long the shipping will be.

 

When to Send

Send invitations about 8 weeks before the ceremony (or 3-4 weeks before the final count is needed by the caterer) or 2-3 months before a destination wedding.

The RSVP cut-off should be 3-4 weeks before the ceremony or 1-2 months before a destination wedding. This may vary depending on the date your caterer needs a final count for food preparation or when you need to make room or resort reservations.

 

 

Do’s & Don’t’s

DON’T

– Use email or emailed wedding invitations; this is a wedding and a very important event – treat it as such! Email or social media posts may be acceptable for save the dates or engagement announcements.
– Put your registry information on the invitation; share it on your wedding website or via word of mouth instead

DO

– Check and re-check; make sure there are no grammatical errors, incorrect times or details, or any etiquette faux pas. Ask a couple of friends to look over the final design before it is printed or ordered.
– Do use wording that matches the formality of your wedding – formal wording for a black tie, more conversational wording for a casual one.
– Purchase 20-25 extra envelopes in case you make a mistake while addressing them.
– Package together one invitation and take it to a post office to be weighed; make sure you have appropriate postage for your invitations, especially is they are a different shape and/or have multiple inserts.

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