This invitation was imagined, designed and assembled by the bride. She bought the paper for the pockets from paperandmore.com, created all of the cards and the monogram that went onto the band, then found these AMAZING vellum envelopes and printed the addresses on the outside. It all incorporated their color scheme and conveyed the general feel of the wedding very well.
The wedding invitation reflects the tone and style of your wedding and the invitation “suite” (collection of stationery) can have multiple parts, including an outer envelope (less common today, as it was originally used to protect to main envelope and invitation from damage when mail was all hand delivered), inner envelope, invitation itself, RSVP card (which may include menu choices from which each guest may select his or her main entree), RSVP envelope (self-addressed and stamped to return to the bride & groom), reception card (if the party is held in a different location than the ceremony) and maybe even a card with
a map, directions and hotel information.
This invitation was folded accordion-style, with a tear-off RSVP card to mail in.
It was found on Gwen Marie Designs on Etsy.
As soon as your have a draft of your guest list ready, start an Excel Spreadsheet with each guest’s full name, address, and any other important information. Check the spelling of all names, check that the addresses you have are current and correct, and note that your guests’ names on social media websites such as facebook may not actually be their real first and last names (for example, many teachers are on facebook under their first and middle name, as opposed to first and last).
When in doubt, ask…you should know your guests’ names!
Save the Dates should go out 6-7 months before the wedding.
You should start looking for invitations 4-5 months before,
order your invitations 3-4 months before,
and send your invitations 6-8 weeks before the wedding.
If you have sent Save the Dates or a Save the Date video, it gives a little more leeway for invitations.
*Note: If you’re having a destination wedding, send Save the Dates 10-11 months prior if possible, and send the invitations 10-11 weeks prior.
Your invitation should include the following information:
1. The first and last names of the bride and groom-to-be, the date, time and location(s) of the ceremony and reception.
2. The wedding “hosts”: This is up to you and your families, and may be based on financial contribution, religion (honoring one’s mother and father and paying tribute to those who came before you is very important in some religions), or simply the decision of you and your significant other. Your parents/partner’s parents can host the wedding, or you and your spouse-to-be can do the job — it’s entirely up to you. If your parents are hosting, include their names at the top of the invitation and indicate that they invite guests to celebrate the marriage of their children. If you are hosting the wedding yourselves, you can indicate that beneath your full names.
3. The Dress Code for your big day is often included at the bottom of the invitation.
Include this information especially if the dress is more casual or more formal than most weddings.
Check out my What to Wear post to learn more about wedding dress codes details.
4. A requested RSVP date (Go at least a week before the due date of your final count for your venue/caterer so you have time to contact straggling RSVP’ers). 2-3 weeks before the wedding (and about 3-4 weeks after guests receive your invitation) is typically a good timeframe.
5. The names of ALL invitees (and “Plus Ones”) on the Invitation envelope and response card, to avoid any confusion.
Where Do You Get Wedding Invitations?
Paperias, Paper Galleries, Stationers or Specialty Shops
Craft stores such as AC Moore or Michaels
Office Supply Stores such as Staples, Office Max or Office Depot
Websites such as:
Ask around! If you really liked an invitation that you’ve seen or received, ask about its source.
The vendors you’re already using may have connections to invitation specialists, or may even offer invitation services in-house. Ask your planner, your dress salon (David’s Bridal offers some nice invitations), and even your florist.
Looking to save money? Ask a friend who has designing experience to help design and print your invitations. If you have formatting and digital design experience, consider creating them yourself and having them printed for personalized perfection!
If you do get invitations from Michaels, there’s almost always a 40% off coupon available on retailmenot.com (there’s an app and you can pull it up and scan it at the register anytime)! Also, if you go in and buy anything (even a pack of gum), they’ll give you a 40% off coupon good for use the following week.
1. Don’t forget a Return Address Label on the main envelope, just in case any guests do not receive the invitation for some reason. This way, it can find its way back to you and you can try again.
2. Traditionally, the occasion of a wedding calls for clear, handwritten addresses on your envelopes. Many of us don’t have impeccably fancy handwriting and don’t want our guests to see chicken scratch when our invitations arrive in the mail, so many brides and grooms send their envelopes to a calligrapher. This adds an extra cost and takes some time, plus you’ll want to have 15-20% more envelopes than you need to allow for corrections, but if it’s something you want to do, it’s an option. There are also some software programs that allow you to print calligraphy-like fonts directly onto envelopes or onto clear labels that you can stick onto envelopes, or if you know somebody who does have amazing handwriting, perhaps you’ll want to ask them if they would do it for a reduced fee. You never know; They may even offer to do it for you as a gift)
1. Color Scheme, Theme & Style– It’s not required, but you’re more than welcome to incorporate your color scheme, wedding theme or favorite floral/seasonal design into your invites.
The setup/wording should quietly convey the style/formality of the wedding,
and could even tie in the personal styles of the bride & groom.
2. The Need to Read- Make sure your guests will be able to easily read the text on your invitations. If it’s hard to read the font, see the color of the text on the background, or it looks sloppy and displeasing to the eye, consider an invitation makeover before printing.
3. Tradition and Customs- Customarily, it is appropriate in light of the grand occasion of a wedding to take certain steps when writing out your invitation. The wording is important, and things that we wouldn’t normally spell out (for example, o’clock, two thousand and fourteen, half past six in the evening, we would- instead of we’d- be honoured by your presence, etc.) are spelled out. On that note, some brides and grooms choose to spell some words (such as honoured) differently, to continue the long-standing traditions passed on from generation to generation.
4. Check for Errors- Make sure that your times, the date, the RSVP date, all meal choices, and any names that are printed on the invitation correctly. For that matter, check and double check it all!
Printing 100+ invitations only to spot a mistake afterward is awful.
Ask your friend who is an English major or your grammar maven bridesmaid to look over the final proof or draft before hitting ‘go’ on printing.
5. Household Count- Good news! You should have an invitation per household, not one per guest, so if you’re thinking of inviting 165 guests and sending 165 invitations, recalculate before you order! Consider which individuals/couples/families should get an invitation as a unit, and order/print a few more than that (I’d recommend 5-10, allowing for guest list changes and keeping 1 or 2 extras for yourself)!
1. Put a number on the back of each RSVP card, and have a list that keeps track of the corresponding names/#’s. This way, if somebody forgets to write a name (it happens), you can figure it out without going into full detective mode.
2. Take one full sample invitation to the post office and find out whether standard postage will pay for its travel costs. Sometimes, invitations that are too large or heavy require extra postage, and when you’re sending a lot of invites, that can really add up. Consider this cost before making your final choice, especially if you’ll be sending invitations abroad. The postage can add up quickly in these scenarios, so you may want to keep your suite simple, affordable and standard-sized.
3. As RSVP’s come back in (this is a really fun part of wedding planning!), keep track of the responses on your spreadsheet. Address any concerns (an extra +1, a question about a vegetarian entree, etc.) as soon as possible to alleviate confusion or frustration on your guests’ parts, or yours.
4. Keep your invitation clear and concise, only including the information that you need, and ensuring that it’s easy to read.
5. If your invitation is a DIY project, invite some friends/family members over to help when you’re ready to assemble, stuff and stamp. It will go much faster and be a fun bonding time. Have a meal beforehand or afterward and soak up the time together.
6. If you are working with a stationer, consider picking our your Save the Dates, Invitation Suites, Thank Yous (for your shower and the wedding itself), Envelopes, Programs, and any other printed materials there. You may be able to get a discounted rate this way and ensure that everything goes together nicely.
Setting up for Success:
According to The Knot, the simplest form of an invitation for a wedding in which the bride’s parents are hosting would look like this:
Mr. and Mrs. Jonathan River [proper names of those hosting]
request the honor of your presence [request line]
at the marriage of their daughter [list relationship of the bride to the host]
Elizabeth Anne [bride’s first and middle names only, if parents’ last name is the same]
to Joshua James Smith [groom’s full name]
Saturday the sixth of May [day of the week, day and month of wedding]
at six o’clock in the evening [time of wedding and time of day]
Plaza Hotel [name of the location of wedding]
New York, New York [city and state where wedding will take place]
Reception to follow [reception line]
Sometimes (if both sets of parents are paying for the wedding, or if the bride & groom want to honor both sets of parents equally), there is an additional line after the groom’s full name that says “son of _____ and _____” which may include the last name, in which case you may see only his first and middle name as well.
Many couples have gone their own way in recent years to find/create an invitation that best reflects them, their wedding celebration, their family situation, and their theme (and fits within their budget). Invitations range from fairly informal to by-the-book formal, and I’ve scanned (and blurred) a few that I’ve received from friends and family over the past few years. Enjoy and feel free to leave any questions/comments at the bottom!
A few sample Wedding Invites from friends and family:
This invitation was from Zazzle.com, and the bride & groom chose to print their own insert
with the remaining information.
(Inside) This invitation came from Michaels. On the outside was a small framed picture of the bride and groom
(a really nice touch) and the invitation slid out of the pocket to be read.
This one was also from Michael’s. Isn’t it beautiful?
Invitation, Reception Card & Accommodations Card
This was designed & printed by the bride & groom and was perfect for the festive holiday celebration.
This invitation opened like a card and held other inserts inside.
This invitation was from Michael’s. Simple and to-the-point, but respectful of the formality of the occasion.
Love this one! The bride & groom designed their Save the Dates and invitation with the help of her brother, who enjoys graphic design. Their color scheme/decor theme revolved around peacock feathers and the invitation was a nice introduction to that.
This invitation was from Michaels. Sweet, lovey and fun with the bow.
Outside & Reception Card
(Inside) This invitation came from Ann’s Bridal Bargains.
This invitation and all of its components came wrapped in the beautiful sequined silver cloth in the background, folded into a lovely box. I don’t know where it came from, but it was beautiful and incredibly presented. We felt like royalty from the moment we received the box until the very end of this couple’s wedding weekend and found ourselves constantly saying, “Wow”.
I hope that this post has been helpful. Check out the Save the Dates & Invitations page on Pinterest for more pinspiration and ideas 🙂
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