We love printed materials! They make us super duper happy and excited. We love that they are the first peek into your event and the official announcement of everything to come. There are so many ways to go about invitations these days, so we are going to give you a few tips that we find especially helpful.
To Save the Date or Not to Save the Date?
Yes- if your wedding falls on a popular weekend, say a holiday weekend or a weekend/date that is know to be an extremely popular date in your wedding city. Best way to figure this out is to google your wedding date and the city. See if you can find a calendar of events for the town. Take Santa Barbara for example- Fiesta is a very popular time of the year and it always falls on the same week/weekend in August. Maybe you are getting married in Los Angeles and it is during the LA Marathon- you want to check the marathon route and make sure there won't be a delay getting your guests to your wedding on time. Maybe you are getting married on Catlaina Island and your wedding falls during their very popular Jazz Trax / Fest- you really want to double check your date, book a room block way in advance and give your guests a heads up, so yes a Save The Date is a must do. Also, if you have a lot of guests traveling from out of town, destination wedding or you have it in the budget, then we highly suggest sending one out.
What is a Save the Date?
A typical Save the Date is just that- Asking guests to save the date, telling them who is getting married and where (city and state) the wedding will be. You can also include a wedding website if you already have one or let them know that a formal invitation is to follow.
Let's move on to the invitation.
How do we invite guests?
1. We think this next step is super important- determine the vibe, formality and overall feel of the event, before you start working on invitations by yourself or with an invitation designer.
Knowing the above will help you with how to address the invitation as well as how to phrase the invitation. There are so many ways to word an invitation depending on your level or formality. We find that Emily Post really does the best job explaining how to go about setting up the wording.
2. Determine who is paying for or hosting the event. This goes back to #1 and how to set up the invitation wording.
3. Figure out if kids are invited to your big day or not, and while you are thinking about that, determine if single guests can bring a date or plus one. You will want to know all of this prior to setting up your guest names and addresses. We offer Aisle Planner to all of our clients and in the system they have the opportunity to set everything up for invitation addressing. It is always most helpful if done correctly the first time.
Here is what we mean- If you are inviting a couple, list the males name first, the females name second, list their titles, their address, even if you only know one of them. If is considered faux pas to not address to both members of a married couple. Such as Mr. and Mrs. John Doe
If you are inviting their kids you can say, Mr. and Mrs. John Doe and Family
If you are inviting an unmarried couple that lives at the same address you would address it, Mr. John Doe and Ms. Susie Smith
If the female is a doctor and goes by her husband's last name, then you would address the invitation, Dr. Jane and Mr. John Doe or if they have different last names, Dr. Jane Smith and Mr. John Doe and if they are both doctors, then you address it- The Drs. Doe
If you are allowing plus ones, guests, friends, then you would address the invitation- Mr. John Doe and Guest
WHEW! I think we have that mostly figured out... you can of course be less formal depending on step number one and address envelopes without titles or in more familiar ways if it suits the wedding vibe.
Oh yeah- don't forget that you can abbreviate titles, but not words such as street or boulevard. A state can however go either way...
So let's write out the invitation...
First you would list the person hosting or paying for the wedding. This could be brides parents, both parents, all of you or maybe just you and your fiancé. Based on this and the formality of the event you would start your invitation here. Check out Emily Post for wording options- Formal or Informal
Next up, names of couple, time and date, location. If there are more than one location you will include a line such as "Reception to Follow" Typically this address is on a separate card. And the dress code (optional, but guests like to know what they are expected to wear).
Who is coming???
On a separate card you will have the RSVP, which is an abbreviation of the French “Répondez, s’il vous plaît,” meaning please respond. Couples are doing a million different things with RSVPs nowadays, but you always need to know the basics- are you coming? Who are you? and sometimes a physical count, meaning if you invited the whole family you want to know how many are able to make it. Some couples include the meal options- I suggest you ask them to place their initials next to their meal of choice, so then you really know who is having steak and who is having fish. Some couples ask allergies to be noted, favorite song to boogie down to and really a whole host of creative ways to get guests pumped about the wedding. If you are having them respond on a card, then you need to remember to stamp it and have your address on the envelope or postcard. If you are giving them a website to go to, then you can avoid that one extra stamp.
Details card- it can include the details or send them to a website for more information
Map- show your favorite places and things to do
Additional events- rehearsal dinner, brunch, welcome drinks- all of these can be additional pieces.
Make sure you weigh your invitation suite with all components- ribbon, wax seals, all insert cards before you buy stamps. If you are looking for a vintage or unique look then we suggest buying stamps that fit your theme or color of your invitation suite. We really like The Little Postage House for unique stamp groupings.
At the end of the day this invitation is all about you and your fiancé, so be creative, make it yours and your guests will be super stoked to be invited to the party of the century!