(personal photo time!) marrying the love of my life
Ah, weddings. We all love a good wedding, don’t we? Ask anyone what their favorite part of a wedding is, and you’ll most likely get one of three answers: the flowers, the music, or the location (I’m not going to count an open bar here, but I think that would probably rank pretty high!). But where do wedding invitations rank?
Obviously, they’re important (duh) or your guests wouldn’t know when or where your wedding was! Emily Post has a lot to say about invitations as well, and when it comes to etiquette, she’s QUEEN. But the invitation suite also doubles as a piece of your wedding day, as so many brides are bringing one of their invitation suites to be photographed on the day of their wedding.
Personally, I rank an amazing invitation suite in the “must-have” category. I know what you’re going to say: “But, Holly! You’re a stationer. Of course your favorite part is the invitation.”
(which is true. but hold on, i’ll explain myself in true holly fashion: through my love of movie trailers. because everyone knows that movie trailers are amazing and the whole reason we go to the movie theatre in the first place, right?)
Your wedding is the movie. (hang in there with me.)
The engagement party invitations is like a mini trailer that gets released. You know the one, where the just show you the title and a 5-second blip of a character’s face. It’s a total tease.
Your save the dates are like the sneak-peek trailer. You get a taste for what’s coming and it pumps. you. up.
Then comes the big one, and you know the one. This is like the Super Bowl spot that everyone in the room quiets down to watch. It’s easily 3 and a half minutes of trailer and when it’s over, you rewind the playback because it was so amazing and your life will never be the same because ohmygoodness.
And that’s the last trailer before the movie comes out like, 2 months later. (which, coincidentally, your invitations should be mailed out 6-8 weeks before your wedding. read on here for a breakdown of your wedding stationery timeline!)
Anyway, THAT is your invitation suite: the last big preview-reveal before the big show, which is your wedding.
And THAT is why I love invitation suites. Not only do they contain super important information, but I love getting them in the mail (yes, even when I didn’t make them 😉 and I love being able to tell what kind of event I’m going to before I even read the dress code.
Basically, your invitations tell your guests five things about your wedding:
How will your guests know where to go for your wedding if you don’t tell them? It’s important to include the venue name and address somewhere in your invitation suite. The venue name typically goes on the invitation itself and if you’re utilizing a details card, the address can be placed there.
“But we’re getting married at the Vero Beach Hotel & Spa,” you say. “There’s no way anyone could mistake that for something else! We’ll leave off the address.”
For the sake of your guests, I would advise not to leave the address off. If it seems like an unnecessary eyesore to you, we’ll print it on the back of one of your invitation suite pieces. Because so many guests use GPS or Google Maps to get directions to destinations, it’s better to have the correct address readily available for them to plug in when they start traveling to your wedding.
We hadn’t had a wedding in my family for years when we announced our engagement, and one of the questions I was asked more often than “When?!” was “What should I wear?” My female relatives took to the stores to buy a new dress for my wedding, and I realized that for those of us who aren’t platinum card-carrying members of the wedding attendees club might want a little help. After all, your guests don’t want to offend you or take away from your special day!
Because your guests pretty much only have two jobs at your wedding – 1) show up on time and 2) celebrate with you – it’s your job to help them out with what what to wear. Are you having a laid-back ceremony or a black tie affair? If you’re getting married right on the beach (in the sand and all), you might want to tell your guests that the dress code is “beach cocktail attire”. Opting for an elegant affair? “Formal attire requested” says just enough.
Who’s invited to your wedding? Your invitation is where you spell it out for your guests. I’ll give you a few examples of some addressing styles:
Mr. & Mrs. John Seymour – only the two guests listed here are receiving an invitation to your wedding.
The Seymour Family – everyone in the household is invited to your wedding, from Mom & Dad Seymour to teenage Aaron and little Becky.
Mr. John Seymour & Ms. Emily Austen – John and his girlfriend/fiancée/partner are invited to your wedding.
Mr. John Seymour & Guest – John and his significant other or date are invited to your wedding.
doesn’t this look like a stock photo?! It’s also from my wedding, and I love it so much!
What is everyone going to eat at your wedding?
There isn’t really a right or wrong way to d0 this, just a traditional way and a modern way. It also depends on the type of lunch/dinner you’ll be having: plated (sit-down) dinner or buffet/stations dinners (neither of which need guests to share their dinner selections as they’ll be serving food themselves). The absence of a dinner selection blurb tells your guest something on its own: you’re not giving them a dinner option in advance. This frees up space on your reply card to give you a cleaner look.
However, for some types of plated dinners, your caterer will need to know how many fish/chicken/steak dinners to cook. You can include a small section on your reply card to gather that information.
It’s also a great way to find out exactly how many people will be attending your wedding!
Chances are, someone that you’ve invited to your wedding will need hotel accommodations. It’s important to share hotels that are close by with your guests, and even more important to let them know if you’ve reserved any blocks of rooms at said hotels.
Provide the name and number of the hotel manager or concierge you’re working with, that way your guests can bypass the reservations desk and ensure they receive the correct room rate. If there is room, include directions to your venue from the hotel and any transportation that may be available to guests.
Theme + Activities
This one almost fits in with the attire category, but is for the more unique weddings. Will your wedding have any special themes, such as an optional Harry Potter dress code (um, yes!) or perhaps Halloween costume attire? Maybe you’re getting married in the mountains in winter and want to make sure your guests are prepared for a pre-wedding ski trip? Your invitation is the perfect place to prepare your guests for your wedding day/weekend expectations. The more specific the better, but try not to micromanage your guests!
I’ll leave you with a fun fact about wedding invitations: before the moveable-type printing press revolutionized the printing industry in 1447, weddings in England were announced by the Town Crier, who rang a bell and shouted “Oyez, oyez, oyez!” (“Hear ye, hear ye, hear ye!”) to get the attention of the townspeople.