Many of my brides are in the midst of drafting their wedding invitations which comes with a lot of questions around printing, wording and general etiquette.  Here are some basic invite FAQ’s:

Where Do I Start?

Invitations set the tone and theme of your wedding and it’s the first glimpse into your wedding design in the weeks leading up to your big day.  This is a great opportunity to incorporate colours, fonts and additional touches like envelope liners and logos into the overall design as well.  With some creative ideas in mind you can source and print your invitations in a few ways:

-Visit a local stationary supplier to help create your print suite

-Work with a graphic designer to create something completely custom for you and source a printer separately

-Visit an online invite resource and use one of their ready to go templates

-Go to your local craft store and pick up an invite package to print at home

TIP:  think about all your print needs on your wedding day when you start your wedding invite process – programs, table numbers, menus, place cards and special directional or bar signage.  You can often negotiate a better rate if you discuss these pieces in advance with your printer.

What Are The Key Parts Of A Wedding Invite?

A complete invitation piece is the best way to kick off your wedding and it’s important to ensure the most accurate information is communicated to your guests. For modern couples, there are usually four pieces of a wedding invite – the outer envelope, the invitation itself, the reply card and the smaller envelope stamped and addressed to the Bride or her Mother.

Etiquette dictates you should include a separate reception card, separate piece for accommodation and a separate piece for directions all wrapped in a less formally addressed ‘inner envelope.’

How Do I Word My Invitations?

It’s very important that the invites be worded properly as not to offend anyone or give out inaccurate information.  First, you need to note the host of the wedding.  If the bride and groom are hosting themselves an example is:

 The Honour of your presence

Is requested

At the marriage of

Miss Britney Sarah Pierce

To

Mr. Justin Alexander Bieber

If both the bride and grooms parents are hosting the wedding an example is:

Mr. and Mrs. Michael Cee Hall

And

Mr. and Mrs. Jack Jason Black

Request the honour of your presence

At the marriage of their children

Miss Britney Sarah Pierce

To Mr. Justin Alexander Bieber

Same sex marriages hosted by the couple are put in alphabetical order by last name:

Mr. David Daniel Burtka

and

Mr. Neil Patrick Harris

Request the honour of your presence at their marriage…

Then you need to note the date and time written out in full (twenty third vs 23rd) followed by the address which does not have to be written out in full.

TIP:  Keep an extra copy of your invite and all pieces so your photographer can take a details picture on your wedding day.  It’s a great memento of your wedding stationary and a nice image to share for your designer or printers portfolio.

What if I Don’t Want Children At The Wedding?

Prepare to remain firm on this point – chances are you will get a lot of push back from guests who don’t share your sentiments.  Also, remember to be inclusive – if you invite one child you need to be prepared to invite everyone with children.  To help clarify your position, list only the adults invited on the outer envelope and hand write the number of guests attending in the reply card so guests understand room is limited to adults only.

When Do I Send Out My Invites?

I encourage my brides to create a few guest lists, especially if their numbers are growing out of control –‘must invite’ and ‘maybe invite’ in case you get some declines with the first round of invitations, (20% decline rate is average for local weddings).  Out of town guest invitations should be sent out twelve weeks prior to the wedding. For local ‘must invite’ guests, 8-10 weeks is appropriate and any ‘maybe invite’ guests should be sent an invite no later than 6 weeks before the wedding.

TIP: A save the date should be sent out 6-12 months before the wedding to your ‘must invite’ guests, especially if you are getting married in the busy summer season to ensure those you want most at your wedding can attend.

When Should I Set My RSVP Date?

Your RSVP deadline should be 4 weeks, (the Friday before the wedding if it takes place on a weekend) before the wedding to ensure ample time to organize tables, inform the wedding venue of special dietary concerns and make changes to the final head count. 

TIP: This deadline is very important to ensure your venue has all information they need to make your wedding reception move smoothly.  Spend a few days after the RSVP deadline calling guests who have yet to reply before working on your final table arrangements.

What Should I NOT Include In My Wedding Invite?

There are three main things not to include in your wedding invites.  Believe it or not, you are not supposed to include any information about the gift registry on the invite itself.  To avoid multiple gifts, you may want to list ‘presentation preferred.’  Also, if you have a wedding website you should only list this on the front of the envelope, never on the bottom of the invite.  ‘Cash Bar’ is another phrase that should never be on your invite.  If you are having a wedding, always offer a host bar; but that is another blog topic entirely!

TIP:  Inform your family and wedding party about your gift registry locations and they can share it with guests who ask.  Let them spread the word, not your invite!

How Can I Cut Down On My Invite Costs?

The wedding stationery industry has changed drastically over the past several years, and an increasing number of couples now order their wedding invitations online rather than from a local retail store or printer.  Online ordering is often much cheaper, selecting from an array of templates for a few dollars per piece.  While it can certainly be a cheaper option I caution its use, especially for Canadian couples who are subjected to the rising American dollar and additional shipping charges.  I always try to support local stationary boutiques and designers whenever possible.

Eliminating the hard copy invite together is another budget friendly option for many couples who choose to go through e-vite platforms, although I always encourage my brides to consider invitations in their budget.  There is still something so lovely and exciting to receive an invitation in the mail.   I would suggest that couples who are on a lean budget cut down on the pieces of their wedding invite to the outer envelope and the main invitation piece directing RSVP’s to a wedding email account.

Remember that whatever you do, make your invitations uniquely yours to reflect your special day!