The Wedding invitation suite
The Invitation Suite
Your invitation sets the overall tone of your wedding to guests. If you’re considering letterpress invitations, then it’s assumed that you’re hoping for that “mailbox moment” when a guest rifles through the day’s mail after a hard day and work and stops as he/she comes upon a beautiful envelope, with their name artfully lettered, topped off with a gorgeous selection of stamps. That guest feels special that you thought of them, and can’t wait to see what surprises the envelope contains! The design of your invitation is the single best way to convey the look and feel of your upcoming wedding to guests, while also presenting pertinent information in a formal, fun or creative way.
The invitation/invitation envelopes are half of the core wedding invitation suite, the other half is the RSVP card/envelope, which serves to notify you, the bride or groom of your final guest count.
Wedding invitations should be sent to guests six to eight weeks prior to the wedding, with the RSVP date falling at three to four weeks before the wedding date so that you can get a head count. If you’re having a destination wedding, it’s best to give guests additional time to plan.
Save the Dates
Save the dates typically go out about six prior to the wedding. If you’re planning a destination wedding, nine months to a year of notice is advised. A save the date can be as formal or informal as you’d like!
RSVP cards are the most surefire way to get an accurate headcount for your wedding.
Make sure to give guests:
- a deadline
- a place to write their name(s)
- and whether they will attend or not.
RSVP envelopes have the name and address of the person to whom the reply is being sent printed on the front of the envelope. This is usually you (the couple), one set of parents, or the wedding planner.
If you’re having a plated dinner, the RSVP card is a great place to obtain guest’s preferences on food choices.
Here’s a tip that’s served me well: Some guests will undoubtedly forget to write their name(s) on the reply card. A great way I’ve found to avoid pulling out your hair in the weeks leading up to your wedding is to number your guest list, and then lightly pencil a number on the back of each RSVP card that goes out to guests. Having the number on the back will help you pinpoint who the guest is that forgot their name so that you can follow up if necessary.
Traditionally, reception cards used to be enclosed when some guests were only invited to the ceremony, a practice that is no longer considered polite. If you are having your reception in a location that is different than that of the ceremony, it’s customary to provide a separate card that tells guests where the reception will be. This is also a good chance to tell your guests the type of attire that is expected (black tie, casual, etc.) It’s also perfectly acceptable to put reception information somewhere on your invitation, after ceremony details. Just make sure not to squeeze too much onto the invitation!
In today’s fast moving technological age, and in the interest of saving trees (or cotton in my case) by cutting down on enclosures, mentioning your wedding website somewhere in the invitation is completely acceptable. If your invitation doesn’t have room for the website information, a small card or tag is a perfect way to include this information.
Map & Directions
Considering that most people have GPS units not only in their cars, but on their phones, a paper map might seem unnecessary. But if you want to tell your guests about the neighborhood, including details like the best places to park, sites of interest, or restaurants/bars/parks wineries if there is a break between the ceremony and reception, a map enclosure is a great way to do that. With the right design, a map can be a real “wow” piece in your invitation suite.
If you choose not to include a map, make sure to include the stress addresses of locations on the invitation itself.
If you’ve blocked off rooms in hotels close to the reception site, you can pass this information along using an accommodations card as a courtesy. No need to include any more information than the contact information of the hotel(s) and the room rates.
If you’d like to cut costs, this information can also go on your wedding website (just make sure that guests know that one exists!)
Things not to include in your invitation
No matter what the stores tell you, do not include those little cards that contain information about your gift registry. Even though some guests will find it convenient, others will find it impolite. Ask family, friends and the bridal party to spread the news when people ask, include it on your wedding website, or tell anyone who asks you directly.