Are you in need of a crash course in Wedding Invitations 101? If so, look no further than today’s blog post! Read on for the ins and outs of selecting, stuffing, and sending your wedding invitations, with a few etiquette and history notes included as an added bonus!
photo: Jess Barfield Photography
Selecting Your Invitations
Aesthetic and budget are the first two things every couple should consider when it’s time to select wedding invitations. A good rule of thumb is to allocate no more than 10 percent of your total wedding budget to purchasing your invitations and paper goods. If that percentage sounds high, keep in mind that this figure will cover the cost of your save the dates, menus, escort cards, and any additional branded items – such as custom cocktail napkins, cups, or bar signage – in addition to your formal invitations. To hone in on your aesthetic, take a look at paper samples, ask to see some of your friends’ former invitation suites, and browse Pinterest. Once both your aesthetic and your budget have been established, you’ll be ready to select your paper provider. Create a custom design, order a traditional suite from Crane andWilliam Arthur, or browse the options listed by online retailers such as Minted and Wedding Paper Divas!
photo: Shaun Menary Photography
If you’re going the custom route, your next step will be to decide if you would like to incorporate a motif or a monogram into your design. These personalized embellishments can be either hand-drawn or developed digitally. Select the option that best fits your style, and have fun carrying it through as many wedding details as possible!
Assembly and Etiquette
A few fun facts for you:
1. Tradition dictates that you should stuff an invitation as if the person pulling it out was right handed. (Sorry, left-handers!)
2. You may have noticed that tissue paper is sometimes included with an invitation – originally, this was to keep ink from smearing, although now the practice has become a tradition that accompanies very formal invitations.
3. Ever wondered why many wedding invitations include an inner and an outer envelope? This practice actually dates back to when mail was delivered by horseback! Since the outside envelope would inevitably get dirty in transit, a fresh envelope was always included inside to ensure a beautiful presentation upon arrival. Now, it’s just tradition!
4. Traditionally, a separate card denoting the reception venue should be included with your invitation if your reception will take place in a different location than your ceremony. However, etiquette has evolved to allow the option of including this information directly on your primary wedding invitation. If you would like to provide your guests with printed directions, the best place to include this information is on your program, or on a card that’s passed out at the end of your ceremony.
5. There is an art to addressing envelopes, and I’m not just talking about calligraphy! Utilize Crane’s Blue Wedding Book when compiling your guest list so that when you present it to your calligrapher, everything is already written per etiquette. This will ensure that each and every tricky situation (such as addressing an invitation to two doctors!) is handled with ease.
photo: Thisbe Grace Photography
Once you’ve received each printed piece of your invitation suite, stuff your envelopes and take them to the post office to be weighed. Be sure to ask if it’s parcel—in other words, unable to be fed through machines automatically—as this will incur an additional postage fee. After you’ve finished weighing your fully-stuffed envelopes, you will know exactly how much postage you need. Either buy stamps at the post office or design your own – and don’t forget to purchase Forever stamps for your reply card!
Stamping and Sending
After determining how much postage you need, you’ll be ready to design a custom stamp if you so desire. Our team typically recommends utilizing the motif or monogram featured on your invitation to create a cohesive through line – the custom design will help your suite stand out in your guests’ mail pile, too! Picture It Postage is a great resource to use when creating a custom stamp.
photo via DFW Events on Instagram | invitation by DFW Events in-house designer Melanie Frazier based on our client’s logo design + rose gold and blue color palette
When you’re ready to mail your invitations, place them in boxes and cover them with a printed sign that says, ‘Wedding Invitations – Please Hand Cancel.’ (Hand canceling will protect your calligraphy from smearing, and will also prevent those ugly markings that you’ve probably noticed on your bills from appearing on your envelopes!) Upon arrival at the post office, re-weigh your invitations. Ask once more if your invitations qualify as parcel to ensure that there are no delivery hiccups. After confirming, hand your invitations over for delivery and count down the days until your first RSVPs start rolling in!
photo: Sarah Kate, Photographer
PS: For any additional questions concerning etiquette, we highly recommend referring to Crane’s Wedding Blue Book. This classic book has been a must-have resource in our office for years, and is sure to be of assistance time and again throughout your planning process!