Your wedding is approaching, and it's finally time to start thinking about invitations. But where to start? To help ease the craziness of wedding planning, I've compiled a list of my top 5 tips for wedding invitations.
1. Send Online Invitations to Save Money
Invitations cost much more than just the paper they're printed on. You have to pay for stamps (and those special "this weighs more than a typical letter" stamp), the RSVP cards, the envelopes for both, another stamp for the return card. Multiply that by the number of households you have (remember, a couple is two guests, but only one invite) and that really adds up. So why not jump into the digital age with e-cards? I suggest a site like Paperless Post. Not only do they have beautiful online designs, but you can add on matching paper invites to your order as well. That way you can still send old-school invitations to people who would be expecting them (such as grandparents, parents, that one friend who never answers their email...you know who you are).
2. "We Have Reserved # of Seats For You"
The rule of thumb is people who are invited are the people who the invitation is addressed to. So "Jane Doe plus Guest" means two people are invited on that one invitation. "Jane Doe" means just one. But unfortunately, guests don't always follow that rule. For our wedding, we had a strict "no kids" policy. All of our invites were made out to just the adults of the family, and still we had people asking what their kids were going to eat at our wedding. So to avoid any possible miscommunication, my sister-in-law added on her RSVP cards, "We have Reserved # of Seats For You." Brilliant! Now they just have to do a little math and make sure the number of "Accepts" does not exceed the number of reserved seats (I'm warning you now, there will still be someone who doesn't get it).
3. Add Invisible Numbers to Stay Organized
It's very surprising how many people don't write their names on their RSVP card. As you're trying to orchestrate your seating chart and give the caterers a list of how many chicken dishes go to table 3, those couple of anonymous RSVP cards suddenly become very problematic. So what to do? If you are sending physical invitations, use a UV Black Light pen to number each RSVP card to correspond with your guest list. That way if someone forgets to put their name, you can just whip out your black light and discretely see who you sent the invite to. Also, any excuse to buy and use invisible ink secret agent pens is a plus.
4. You Don't Have to Be Traditional, But You Must Include...
Who - Who is invited? Address it directly so people don't have to guess which people in "The Smith Family" is included.
What - What is this invitation for? Your wedding, duh okay. Silly, but you should include what exactly this fancy party is. Mention if it's both a "Ceremony with Dinner and Dancing to Follow" or a "We already got hitched so come drink with us to celebrate!" This can help set the tone so guests know what to expect.
Where - Where is each part of the event taking place? You should include both the name and the street address. Asking people to Google "Philadelphia Sheraton," will end with people going to the wrong Sheraton in Philadelphia. Traditionally you also add a directions card that lists "From i95, take exit..." but I think that time has passed. Most people use their phones or a GPS for directions, so just make sure the address you give leads them to the right place. You would be surprised at how many mailing addresses don't give you the correct directions when you put it into a GPS.
When - When does your ceremony start? When do your cocktails start? I think it's important to include both because many weddings tend to have a break between the Ceremony and the Cocktails. This lets your guests know if they have time to go back to the hotel and freshen up before heading out to drinks or if they should boogie on over right away.
Wear - What is the dress code? Let people know if this is a cocktail attire or black tie. Or maybe it's 90's grunge themed, and everyone should come with flannel shirts tied around their waists (please someone do this and invite me!). No one likes being that one person who is under dressed - or over dressed - at a big party. So let your guests know what is expected.
RSVP - Let them know when you need your RSVP's back by. Remember: there will be people who totally space and wait until the last minute (or two weeks past the last minute) to return their cards. So don't make your RSVP date too close to your wedding. Typically 2 to 3 weeks before your wedding date is a good deadline.
5. Keep it Simple
Yes, invitations with glitter and gold foil and love and sparkles that pop out when you open it look really amazing. But they also cost a ton of money. Everything in weddings is an add-on. Fancy font? Add on. Gold letters? Add on. Confetti in the shape of Mr&Mrs[your married last name here] (yes I've actually seen this one)? Add on. There are so many things to spend money on at a wedding. Your guests will much rather you spend the extra $5 per person adding shrimp to your cocktail hour than on fancy invitations.
Bonus: Be sure to mail your wedding invitations 6 to 8 weeks before - or up to 12 weeks if it's a destination wedding.