You would think that wedding invitations would be fairly simple. Find a card, list your names, date and venue and then send them, right? Wrong. Like everything else in a wedding, the invitation has its own rules, its own etiquette and needs to be just right in order to create the right first impression.
Your wedding invitation is usually the first many family members know about your wedding. Like the old saying, “first impressions last.” You want to ensure you create a mood from the very beginning. That’s one reason why wedding invitations are so important.
When to Send Your Wedding Invitations
If you’re planning to use save the date cards, send those as soon as you have a date. You can send those up to a year in advance which allows people to plan well ahead for your big day. You can then send your wedding invitation six to eight weeks before the wedding itself.
Save the date cards are especially useful if you’re planning a midweek wedding and should be sent as soon as the date is confirmed. You only need to mention the bride and groom and the date on these. All other details can be supplied with the formal invitation.
If you’re not going to use save the date cards, you need to send your wedding invitation as soon as you have a date or four to six months in advance, whichever is the earliest.
It’s important to not send any wedding invitations until the venue and ceremony has been confirmed and firmly booked. It may be tempting to jump the gun and send them before final confirmation, but don’t. Wait until you have a firm date and everything has been nailed down.
What Wedding Invitations to Send
We’re not going to touch wedding themes in this post as we simply don’t have the time or space. Suffice to say, your wedding invitation begins setting the theme so it needs to either complement or match the plans you have for your day.
Get some samples, create that mood board and begin building an overview of your wedding day. There are hundreds of bespoke wedding stationers, mass-market printers and quality designers who provide wedding invitations of just about every style and design possible. There really is no shortage of choice, which can be a problem in itself!
Like any aspect of wedding planning, it’s easy to overspend on wedding invitations. You need to set a budget and stick to it, otherwise you could start a trend that may continue throughout your wedding preparations!
The invitation should work with what you plan and give guests an idea of what to expect. It doesn’t really have to have gold leaf or handwritten calligraphy, so you don’t have to pay for such things if you don’t have the budget.
What Information to Include
There are whole books dedicated to wedding invitation wording. It’s easy to get caught up in the minutiae of planning every little aspect of your day. However, the majority of wedding invitations just need to list the time, date, place and have an RSVP date.
That last point is very important! You need to put a deadline on RSVP’s so you’re not eternally waiting for replies and so you can budget and plan properly.
Special attention may be needed if you have a complicated family. There are accepted ways of writing a wedding invitation for divorced parents, where one or both parents are deceased, where children may be hosting a parent’s wedding or where the bride and groom are doing it themselves.
It’s worth checking the wording that it most suitable for your particular situation. Families can be very easily offended or upset and you want to start your wedding on the right foot!
You can also mention dress code, reception location and any other pertinent information on or with your invitation so everyone knows what’s going on. That part is entirely up to you.
Order your wedding invitations as early as possible. That’s especially true if you’re having them designed or custom printed. You need to give the supplier plenty of time to get them done and out to you. Then you need time to prepare and send them.
Check spelling before ordering. Then get someone else to check the spelling before ordering. While most reliable printers will check your spelling, those who automate their processes won’t always have the opportunity. A spelling error could be expensive, embarrassing or both!
Consider hand delivery or registered post. While the Post Office is reliable, there is absolutely no room for error in wedding planning. Where at all possible, deliver wedding invitations by hand because you’re there to accept congratulations and to answer any questions.
Where you can’t deliver your wedding invitations by hand, use signed for delivery to make sure they all get through. Then it’s one less thing to worry about!