ETIQUETTE - WORDING
- ADDRESSING - MAILING
Traditional wedding invitations are usually square and
printed in black on white, ivory or cream colored paper. A formal wedding invitation
includes inner and outer envelopes, a reception card, an RSVP card and envelope
(with postage applied), directions to the ceremony and reception locations (and
lodging information for out of town guests).
Since the Bride's parents traditionally pay for the wedding
and reception and are the hosts, the Bride's parents usually send out the
wedding invitations and are named on the invitation. If the Groom's parents are
sharing the expenses they can also be named on the invitation.
Although there are many traditional rules concerning
the composition of
wedding invitations, depending upon the formality
and style of your wedding, a
variety of options are available to you when it comes to the style of the
invitation and the wording within the invitation.
Since most wedding invitations are printed by professional
printing companies - who know the rules - we will skip over most of the rules
and simply get to the basic "what you need to know" items.
When you visit the printing or stationery company they will have albums of
samples for you to look at as well as examples of the proper composition to use
depending upon how formal (or informal) your wedding will be. Proper
wording for virtually every situation that can be imagined can be found within
their examples. Be prepared to be slightly overwhelmed with the selections and
options that are available. There are different papers, different printing
methods and different embellishments available - all at different prices.
When placing your order for wedding invitations be sure to proof
(carefully look at) the
design and layout of the invitation and double check the date, time and spelling
on the invitation before the entire run is printed. Get a photocopy of the
final invitation layout when you approve and initial the proof. When picking up
the invitations from the printer be sure to count the number of invitations
received and check the date, time and spellings again. If there is an
error, compare it to the photocopy of the invitation proof.
WEDDING INVITATION ORDERING AND MAILING TIMING - To minimize stress, order your invitations 3 to 4
months in advance (just in case there is a mistake and the order must be
reprinted). Send your invitations out a minimum of 6 to 8 weeks before your wedding date. Sooner
is better than later since in some instances you
will need your final guest count estimate a minimum of 2 weeks before the wedding date.
If you have out of town guests or are planning your wedding on a holiday weekend
you may want to send a "Save the Date" announcement months in advance of
the actual invitations to allow extra planning time. A variety of "Save
The Date" reminder cards, postcards, (and even refrigerator magnets) are
available from numerous suppliers.
WEDDING GUEST and INVITATION NUMBERS - Most of
your wedding guests are probably couples who will require only 1 invitation per couple. Traditionally a child
who has reached their teens should receive their own invitation as well.
guest list to determine the proper number of invitations to order. Be sure to order extra
envelopes since addressing mistakes are inevitable. Also, be sure to order
extra invitations to use in case there are later additions to your guest list
use as mementos).
WEDDING INVITATION ADDRESSING - Before you begin the task of addressing the
envelopes, be sure to double check your guest list for proper spelling of names
Traditionally, the wedding invitation envelopes are addressed
by hand. There are numerous services that will take care of the
calligraphy for you - if not available locally, you can find many services on the
Internet. If you do plan to address your own envelopes, your wrist will feel
better and your writing will look better if you do the addressing in multiple
sessions rather than trying to do it all in one sitting.
The envelopes should be addressed formally which
means that abbreviations are not used (with the exception of the abbreviations
Mr. Ms. Mrs. and Jr.) and punctuation marks are not used (with the exception of
the use of commas between the cities and states and the previously mentioned
allowed abbreviations). Over the years it has become acceptable to omit
the inner envelope. The inner envelope, if used, will be addressed with
the name only, i.e. Mr. and Mrs. Jones. The first names and street
addresses that appear on the outer envelope will not appear on the inner
When inviting a family with children only the parent's names
appear on the outer envelope and the children's first names will be listed below
the parents names on the inner envelope. As stated previously, children in their
teens should receive their own wedding invitation.
Before mailing out the wedding invitations, take a completely stuffed
invitation envelope to the Post Office and have it accurately weighed to
determine the proper postage for the specific size and weight. If you are
sending different enclosures to different groups of people be sure to have those
weighed as well. You can then obtain preprinted stamps for the appropriate
postage from the Post Office or order custom postage stamps online from Stamps.com.
Remember, if you are mailing wedding invitations to guests in other
countries the postage will be higher - both for the outgoing invitations and the
incoming R.S.V.P.s. When timing your wedding invitation mailing keep in mind that
mail to and from foreign countries can take weeks longer than mail within the
SAVING MONEY ON WEDDING INVITATIONS
Shop Around and Compare - A recent survey indicates
that your local wedding, stationery and printing suppliers may not have the best
price. Office supply stores and discount and warehouse stores now supply pretty
much the same quality and style of invitations that were previously found only
from suppliers that specialized in wedding invitations. There are also
many well established wedding invitation suppliers that can be found on the
Internet. You can browse their samples and examples online on their
websites to save time
and money. Many online wedding invitation suppliers will also send you samples of their
Look for Packages - Many suppliers offer packages that
include the wedding invitations, the RSVP cards, the thank you cards, the envelopes and
other goodies at a lower package price than if you were to order the items
Skip the Excess and Save Money! Added Size and Weight
= Added Expense - Over the years it has become
acceptable to omit the inner envelope from the wedding invitation. If your
reception will take place in the same location as your ceremony there is really no
need to include a reception card since the words "Reception to Follow" can
simply be included on the invitation. Oversized and odd shaped invitations (the
post Office has figured out a way to surcharge you for square envelopes)
and embellishments like tissue liners, seals, bows, etc. all add to the cost of
the wedding invitations and the postage.
Substitute and Save -
An RSVP postcard will cost less than a RSVP
card and envelope. RSVPs by toll free phone number will cost even less. Thermographic printing will give you the raised look and feel of an engraved
wedding invitation at a fraction of the cost. Lined envelopes cost more to
purchase and mail than other high quality envelopes.
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