Wednesday, February 9, 2011
The first glimpse your guests will have of your wedding will be the day they open up an envelope and see your invitation. It should be indicative of the level of formality of your wedding, as well as provide some idea of what the overall feel of the big day will be.
Before you even begin looking at invitations, I suggest creating your guest list. Please, keep in mind that couples and families count as one invitation. As a guideline, expect for every 100 guests to have 60 invitations. Obviously, this number can fluctuate if you are inviting several singles or large families. It is also suggested to order 20 percent more than you think you will need. As the day gets closer you could realize you forgot someone or have a few last minute invitations you want to send. It's also good to allow yourself a few mistakes.
Whether you begin on the internet, or in a stationery store, the best way to start is to just look at examples. Do you want something more traditional, whimsical, modern, or themed? Browsing in person is the best way to do it, because you can see the true colors, textures, and sizes.
Picking the invitation can be frustrating. There are so many options! Bring your fiance with you to look at the invitation books, it's a fun part of the planning for him to be involved. While looking at them, be aware that the font can change, the font color can change, and the wording can as well. You cannot change paper size, color, or decorative details. If you are very specific, it may be best to go custom. Keep in mind, while you won't know the exact postage until they are completely assembled, budget for postage as well. An oversized invitation or something with a bow or other three dimensional detail will cost more to send.
Check and double check the spelling of names, the correct addresses, and times. It is also best to be sure what your parents and his parents want to be called. While some women are content to be Mrs. John Doe, others would be outraged, so don't take the chance of offending, and get their names right!
Try to order your invitations 4-6 months before the wedding. Not only do they take time to be printed, it can also take a few weeks for them to be addressed. Do not, I repeat, do not use sticky labels for your wedding invitations! It is best to have them hand addressed. If you would like to order matching thank you notes, now is the time to do it. You can usually save money by ordering everything at once.
Be aware that if you do not list a person on the inside envelope, they are not considered to be invited. Also, be aware, plenty of guests may not appreciate this rule and you may be faced with pesky RSVPs for more than you had invited. How you choose to deal with this is up to you, but it is not considered rude to call your cousin Joe and tell him that while you would love to meet his girlfriend, unfortunately the reception hall will already be at capacity. To avoid this issue altogether, on the response card you could print it with:
We have reserved __ seats for you (you fill this part in!)
__ Joyfully accepts
__Sadly, must decline
__ Number attending
Please, please, please do not include your registry information ANYWHERE on your invitation or in the envelope. It's considered extremely poor taste and gift-grabby. Your guests can find about your registry through your wedding website, shower invitations, or good old fashioned word of mouth.
Once you have your invitations addressed and assembled, take one to the post office to figure out the correct postage. There is no use purchasing stamps until you know exactly how much each invitation will cost.
While sending out the invitations can be a little bit of work and slightly stressful, be sure to have fun! Have an assembling party with family or your bridesmaids. Provide wine and snacks (kept far from the precious paper) and have a good time.
Remember, these are a true expression of you, your fiance, and your wedding day, so choose something that reflects that!