From save the date cards to wedding invitations and even the envelopes themselves, your wedding stationery sets the mood for the wedding and helps establish your style right from the start. Quite frankly, sending your invitations is a lot of pressure! That's why we've compiled this handy Wedding Invitation Etiquette Guide with a free printable format. We hope it helps you better understand the different stationery pieces you need to plan and, just as important, when to send them.
WHEN TO SEND
Invitations should go out six to eight weeks before the wedding with the exception of destination weddings. For weddings involving travel, they should go out at least three months ahead of time, but up to 6 months is not uncommon and may even be preferred.
Save the Dates are becoming more and more common, especially when planning a summer wedding when weekends book up fast and guests may have several weddings to attend. If you’re sending save the dates cards, they should go out 6-8 months before your big day.
Thank you cards should be hand-written and sent within the 2 months following your wedding.
WHAT TO SEND
Think of your save the dates as a sneak peak at your wedding or even as an engagement announcement - it's your guests' first glimpse at the style and mood of your wedding. It is a good idea to choose a design that will match your wedding invitation, so when the guests receive the invitation they'll know immediately who it's for.
On your save the date, it is a good idea to let them know that a formal invitation will follow. Also, include what province/state and country the wedding will take place in so they will know if travel is involved.
Within an envelope should be the main wedding invitation, reply card, and any enclosure cards you may have. Written on the outside of the envelope is the formal name and address of your invited guests. Be specific as to who is invited on the envelope. If kids are welcome, be sure to add their names as well. If the recipient is allowed a plus one, write their name plus "and guest”. The return address should be included on the back flap of the envelope on a label or it can be handwritten.
The wedding invitation covers who's hosting and who is getting married, as well as the date, time and location of the ceremony. It is best to keep the text to a minimum. Trying to cram in RSVP info and website addresses can get very messy and will take away from the overall design of the stationery.
The wording of your invitation will vary depending on your culture, parents and the mood you want to convey. Before writing your text, be sure to ask yourself what it important to you and consult family and friends for their thoughts.
Your reply card should always include a "reply by" date allowing enough time for you to get a final head count to the caterer and to finalize your seating chart. 2 to 3 weeks is suggested, but you may want to cushion in some extra time to hunt down a response from those procrastinators who have not yet replied.
If the invite is addressed to multiple people, like a family of four, you may want to add a line for the number of people attending. If there are menu options, include an RSVP for each invitee or a line to initial who is having what to ensure there are no mix ups.
Enclosure cards provide your guests with additional wedding day details such as location, directions and/or a map, website information, accommodation details and more.
Enclosure card designs are generally similar to your RSVP cards to ensure consistency. Ask your stationer for details and suggestions. If you have several enclosure cards or RSVPs, a bellyband, ribbon or string is always a nice feature to hold it all together.
Saying thank you to your friends and family who attend your wedding is perhaps one of the most important details. Don't wait to order your thank you cards till after the occasion as you may end up procrastinating and eventually forgetting all together. If you order them with your wedding invitations, you will have them on hand to tackle as soon as you have some free time.
Find this guide helpful? We're compiling a whole binder of helpful wedding resources as free printables, including our Free Printable Wedding Budget Planner and Wedding Toast Do's and Don'ts. Enjoy and stay tuned for more as we head right into the heart of wedding season!
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