So, you’re getting married! First – CONGRATULATIONS! This is a huge moment in your life and we are super excited you decided to check out the Vintage Beehive. Secondly, take a breath! We know this whole process can be so exciting yet so overwhelming. And that’s why, at the end of it all – we got you!
If you’re getting lost in the process and unsure as to where you should start, we decided to make a list of helpful tips on choosing your guests’ first look into your wedding day, your stationery!
Define Your Style
Invitations set the tone for your wedding – hinting to your guests as to the formality of your wedding is depicted in the style you choose. After picking your venue and time of day, you should have some sort of idea as to the type of event you are throwing – rustic and vintage, elegant and classic, glitz and glam.
Know Your Colors
Deciding whether you want to incorporate your wedding colors into your invitation should be decided early on. Especially if you want to have a cohesive look, you can add your hues and themed style throughout the entire wedding such as escort cards, menus, ceremony programs, and welcome signs.
Get Creative with Shape & Size
With the rise of millennials getting engaged and married, creativity has been booming as to the physical shape and style of chosen stationery. More commonly, moving away from the standard rectangular card (4.5 inch-by-6.25 inch) has resulted in circular, scalloped, square and even 3D invitations. But it’s crucial to keep in mind that these custom sizes are going to cost more in design as well as change your standard envelope size, which may increase your postage.
Choose Your Words
Wording your invitation has some very traditional rules to follow. Customarily, whoever is hosting is listed first on the invitation, you should spell everything out including the time. On a classic wedding invitation, it is common to see a request line after the host’s name such as “so and so request the honor of your presence.” As hosting situations vary per wedding, its important to remember who’s helping your special day to make sure everyone is added who should be included.
Too Much Text, Not Enough Space
Choosing your words leads into making sure your invitation doesn’t look too crammed with information. Attempting to fit everything onto the invitation can make it illegible, cluttered and won’t give your guests the impression you are trying to make. List only the key points: ceremony date, time and location, the hosts, you and your fiancés names, RSVP information and the dress code – which is commonly optional. Never include your registry on your formal invitation. Not only is this tacky, but it only belongs on your wedding website. You CAN add separate enclosure cards which can include directions to the wedding venue, details about accommodations and post wedding activities. These should match your wedding invitation.
Planning your invitations are key to getting the timing right for both – your save the dates and formal invitations. Your save the dates should go out 6 to 8 months before the wedding. Keep in mind, printing can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks – or longer – depending how fancy and decorative you want your invitations to be. Your formal invitations should be ordered 4 to 5 months before your wedding so that there is ample time to mail 6 to 8 weeks before the wedding. If you’re having a destination wedding or marrying over the holidays, as a courtesy send your invites out even earlier – 10 to 12 weeks – before the wedding.
Your RSVP deadline should be no more than 3 to 4 weeks after guests receive the formal invitation, not the save the date. Make sure you coordinate with your caterer to find out when they will need the final head count. Giving your guests too much time to respond will lead to forgetfulness and the last thing you want to do is send out mass texts asking if people are coming to your wedding. Leaving less wiggle room for your guests to forget will also give you more time to put together the seating chart, final count for centerpieces and other décor elements.
Budgeting your invitations can vary widely based on the design, ink, typeface, printing process, paper and quantity. Top-of-the-line papers, various colored ink, formal printing techniques, and custom designs will add to your overall costs. Then you also have your envelopes – the liners and the multiple enclosures for your RSVPs etc. Talking with your designer is imperative to understand the costs associated with each invite. Prices can be anywhere from $1 to more than $100 per invite based on your selections. Also, if you are looking to hire a calligrapher it can be anywhere from $2 to $10 per addressed envelope. If you are outsourcing a calligrapher – request to take the envelopes home as soon as possible so they can get a head start. Addresses are traditionally handwritten, so unless you have impeccable handwriting, its best to leave the envelopes to a pro. Handwriting each address is not only more formal, but it sends the message of wanting your guests to be there so much that you took the time to handwrite their name and address.
Double check your guest list and make sure you aren’t sending more than one invite per household. You might be able to cut your order in half by sending one invitation to cohabitating couples, or one invitation to the guest you’re closer with but include both names on the inner and outer envelopes. Families get one invitation, except for children who don’t live at home such as anyone over the age of 18.
Order extras. It’s more expensive to go back and order more invitations than it is to add 25 more. You can use these in case you need to resend an invitation, put some aside as a keepsake (for not only you but your parents), or plan on sending invitations to a “B-list.” Keep in mind adding a later RSVP date for the B-list. Ordering extra envelopes will save you in the event of returned invites or addressing mistakes.
Check the Proof with a Fine-Tooth Comb
Things get overlooked and mistakes happen all the time. Don’t be the only one to look at it, and don’t only ask your best friend and fiancé to read it over. Ask a co-worker or trusted-OCD friend to check all the little details like date, time and spelling. Read the proof word for word, right to left, so you don’t accidentally gloss over any mistakes. Do it twice!
Weigh Your Envelopes
This may seem like a no brainer, but it is easy to forget – stamp your envelopes. Make sure you weigh a sample invitation that includes all the enclosures to ensure you have the sufficient postage amount. In addition, ask about hand-canceling you invites. This involves a stamp that says your mail is processed (instead of the machine processing a stamp and risking your invitation getting bent or ruined). Hand-canceling is free, just check your local post office to make sure that it has the capabilities. You can pay a non-machinable fee to have them hand-processed which will ensure that your invitations won’t go through the processing/sorting machines.