Yay! We’ve come to one of our favorite things: wedding invitations! With the internet, gone are the days of pouring over invitation books in stationary stores. You can find just about any style, any paper, and font, any….anything online – or where to find it. We’ll have an entirely different post about design as it pertains to your invitations and all the wedding paper goods. Today – here is everything you need to know about sending out and wording your wedding invitations!
When should we send out our invitations and save-the-dates?
Save-the-dates typically are mailed/sent out 6-8 months prior to your event:
– These typically only include your names, the city and the date. You do not need to include the exact venue, times or anything else like that.
– Gives people coming from long distances time to plan
– We also suggest including your wedding website on these – so it should be up and running before you send these out. This is so your guests can get hotel block info and any other pertinent information.
– Creative things are fun and paperless seems super easy, but our tip is to make sure your save-the-date can be put on a fridge with a magnet, as that is where it will most likely end up and remind people of your event on a daily basis.
– Photographs are always great for save-the-dates. Try to schedule your engagement session with enough time to get a few photos back to include one really great one on your save-the-date.
Invitations are sent out 2 months prior to your event date:
– With an RSVP date 1 month out from your event date.
– Sending out invitations far in advance will actually have the opposite effect you’re looking for: people will forget about them or think they have a bunch of time and you’ll be contacting more people to try to get their reply.
– If you have an ‘A’ invite list and a ‘B’ invite list – send your ‘A’ list out 3 months our from your event date and you should get enough replies to send out your ‘B’ list at the typical 2 month mark.
– Whoever is listed on the outer invitation is who is being invited: “Mr + Mrs. John Doe” denotes just the couple are being invited. “Mr + Mrs John Doe and Family” indicate the whole family is being invited.
Notes on invitation wording
Your invitations should include the following:
Date: Formal invitations write out the date completely: June Eleventh, Two Thousand and Sixteen.
Time: Written out plainly indicates the start time of the ceremony. You can also list out specifically ‘Please arrive by X time’ if you are concerned about people arriving on time. Formal invites should have this written out completely as well: “Five-Thirty in the Evening.”
Your names: First names only is ok, hopefully these people are close to you. Traditionally, how your names appear is dependent on who is inviting people to your wedding. Examples: Brides Parents inviting: brides first + middle name, grooms full name. Both Parents Inviting: only first names if same last names of parents or full names. Couple Inviting: First names only
Location name + address: If you are having a separate reception location, the main invitation is for the ceremony location only, and then a reception card is inserted for the reception details. (addresses traditionally with state names ‘California’ written out and minus the zip code – it just looks funny)
ex.: The Lombardi House, 1717 N. Bronson, Los Angeles, California.
What it is: Wording such as ‘wedding of’ indicates people will see your wedding. Wording such as ‘wedding reception of’ or ‘celebration of the wedding’ or’ ‘wedding celebration’ or ‘marriage celebration’ will be more descriptive for people that will be there just for the reception. You could also go all the way and say something like ‘Please join us for the celebration following the wedding of Jane + John’, then there will be no confusion at all.
What will happen: If your ceremony and reception are in the same place, something short and sweet like ‘dinner, drinks + dancing’ works perfectly, then people will know that a full dinner will be served. You could also go with ‘join us for dinner + general merriment’ or ‘Dinner will be served’ if you decide to list it as a ‘celebration’.If your ceremony and reception are not in the same place, you will need to list that at the bottom of the invite:
‘Please join us for a reception following the ceremony at
The Lombardi House, 1717 N. Bronson, Los Angeles California
Beginning at 6:30pm’
How to dress: Give your guests some idea of what to wear. This should be the very last thing listed on an invitation, as it is actually a footnote. A simple ‘Black Tie Only’ or ‘Cocktail Attire Please’ will suffice. You can then elaborate on exactly what this means on your website or people can look it up if they don’t know what it means. Try not to use terms the general public wouldn’t know. ‘Beach Formal’ is NOT a thing.
Who is inviting everyone again? Ah, the great debate. it used to be that the bride’s parents paid, so they were inviting everyone – but now it’s more complicated than that. A general ‘please join for…’ makes it all inclusive, or make it third-person and say, ‘Jane and John invite you to join them as..’ or ‘Please Join Jane + John..’. Then there’s my personal favorite, ‘Together with their families, Jane and John invite you…’.
What makes an invitation formal? Nicer paper, letterpress or thermal printing, separate rsvp card + insert cards, calligraphy. Things that set the tone that your event will be formal as well. Casual, garden, beach etc. weddings can have invites that set that tone as well by being less formal.
Do we list our website again on the invitations? http www etc do not look cute on an invitation. You can include this on an insert, a belly band or tag, etc. but please don’t list this on your actual invite – it cheapens it. That’s what the Save-the-date was for.
Do we need ‘insert cards’? What are those? Before the internet, insert cards were needed to give directions and hotel info, etc. Your wedding website now serves these purposes, so the only ‘insert cards’ we recommend are for wedding activities that only some of your guests are invited to: rehearsal dinners, outings, etc. or for a separate formal reception. You can also include a website card that has the website address again and let people know this is where they can find all the info if you want.
Photo credits from top: Katie Pritchard, Harmony Creative Studio, Michael Radford, Harmony Creative Studio