First, consider the many purposes of a wedding invitation. The wedding invitation is an expression of the couple’s personal style and can serve as a memento for family and friends to remember the wedding day. Most obvious is to announce the wedding and invitation to attend. Also important is the RSVP information, reply cards and other essential wedding details.
Before we get into the details of How To choose and send the invitations, let’s take a moment to discuss the decisions you need to make before you actually order them.
Here are some guidelines that have proven helpful for keeping your wedding invitation mailing list under control. Reality check time, each name on the list is going to cost you between $8.00 to $50.00 or more when you factor in all the costs associated with the wedding, including flowers, food, venue, entertainment, etc. What follows are tips to help you control the invitation list in order to help control the costs.
Be firm but fair
If your parents want to invite twenty friends, your fiancé’s parents should be allowed to do so as well. Although you may feel like you should have the lion’s share for your family and friends, give up a few slots for them as well. Especially if they are helping to foot the bill!
Have too many on the list?
Divide your list into two categories, the Priority – A List and the Secondary – B List. You will find that as many as 15-25% of your guests may send their regrets (Especially if your reception falls on a holiday weekend).
As you receive the “regrets” then you can keep going back to your B-list (mentioned above) to invite some more people. The Priority A-list should contain those guests you must have attending (immediate families, close friends, etc.). The Secondary B-list should consist of those that fall into the “It would be nice to have them” (co-workers, friends you haven’t seen in a while, obscure relatives, etc.) category.
When someone from your A-list sends their regrets, fill the slot with someone from your B-list. To accomplish this without it seeming as a last minute invite (and they WILL notice!), send your A-list invites out about two months in advance. Send your B-list invites out as you get “regets” but no later than three weeks prior to your big day.
A word here about CO-WORKERS—Just because you work with them and eat lunch with them, does not necessarily mean that you should invite them too. A good rule of thumb is this; Do you spend personal time with them on the weekends?
If you spend time with them other than for work related activities, then you may wish to consider inviting them.
A really good rule of thumb is to have your guests RSVP about three weeks prior to your wedding day. This gives time for your delinquent guests to give you the “Yay or Nay” and so you can give your caterer the most accurate head count.
Now let’s discuss how to actually work with your invitations….
Information that is needed for invitations.
First, Middle and Last Name
First, Middle and Last Name
Wedding Date: Month, Date, Year Weekday
Wedding Time: (seven-thirty in the evening)
Zip Code: (this will help people look up driving directions online)
R.S.V.P. Date: Month Date & Year
Spell out all names and places
Remember if it goes inside the envelope to spell out all street names, street numbers and states. (Example: 486 Fourth Street, Springfield, Illinois) If it is an address on the outside of the envelope you need to use the USPS address. (see below)
Who should be invited to the wedding?
The first step is to finalize the guest list. Determine how many invitations are wanted, simply count each couple and single guest, each attendant, parents, family, clergy and their guests. Make a chart and divide the chart between both of you (hers/his) and start your list of Families, Friends, and Work etc. Plan on adding to this chart as time goes. Order 25-50 extra invitations to handle last minute surprises, as well as guests from your secondary list. It is suggested to order an extra 25 blank envelopes for addressing mistakes in addition to your invitations. Having too many invitations is better than not having enough. Order more the first time will save you money than if you need to go back to order additional amounts.
Choosing your invitations
With thousands of invitations to look at how can one decide? Write down the theme of your wedding, the colors that you want, and go online or to your Bridal Stores with your list. When searching online use this tip and use quotation marks around what you are searching for. For example: Use a search engine like Yahoo and type in “Calla Lily Wedding Invitations” or “Tropical Wedding Invitations” with quotation marks to narrow your search. This will help speed up your search for your invitations.
Wedding invitation wording
Nicknames or abbreviations should be avoided when possible except for Mr., Mrs., Jr., etc. You may use an initial if you do not know the full name, or if the person never uses his given name. Cities, states and numbered streets are written out in full (with the exception of D.C.). In regard to addresses, the only optional abbreviations are for Saint (St.) or Mount (Mt.), which can be written either way.
How much should I budget for invitations?
In printing the cost for each invitation normally goes down as the quantity you order goes up. The reason for this is it cost a certain amount to set a press up to print. This set up cost is the same for 50 invitations as it is for 450 invitations. That is why you will find the price per invitation lower as you order more invitations. At this point make sure you order enough invitations or you will pay the start up cost all over again. You can find invitations in all price ranges. On the budget side of the invitations you can buy 50 invitations for $50.00 and 125 invitations for $75.00. On the medium price you can buy 50 invitations for $90.00 and 125 invitations for $135.00. On the high end you can buy 50 invitations for $285.00 and 125 invitations for $425.00.
Use the correct USPS address!
Make sure you have the correct mailing address for your guest. Having the right address will help your invitations arrive on time and not be delayed at the Post Office as they try to figure out if you wanted First St, or 1st Street both being two different streets in the same city.
- ZIP Code™ numbers are extremely important in the processing and delivery of mail.
- Using the correct ZIP+4® code reduces the number of handlings and significantly decreases the potential for error and possibility of a misdelivery.
It is frustrating having a beautifully addressed invitation returned to sender with postage markings all over it because of an incorrect address. Please double check your addresses and zip codes. To check zip codes go on the Internet to http://zip4.usps.com/zip4/welcome.jsp.
Assembling your wedding invitations
If your invitations are single fold and the wording is on the outside only, insertions are placed on top of the invitation. If your invitations are multi-fold and/or the wording is inside the fold then insertions are placed inside the first fold of your invitations
The insertions go in the following order (from bottom to top):
- tissue paper
- reception card
- response envelope
- response card (tucked under the flap of the response envelope)
This is all placed inside the inner envelope, printed side facing the flap. The inner envelope is then placed inside the outer envelope, flap side facing the front of the outer envelope. It also makes it easier if you place stamps on all of your response envelopes before you start assembling. Start assembling your invitations one at a time, but do not seal the outer envelope. Take one of these to the Post Office to have it weighed to verify the postage amount. Buy your stamps and start putting your stamps on the outer envelope. Look again to see if you have everything in the envelopes. Seal your envelopes after you have assembled all the invitations. Mail your invitations inside the Post Office. It will save them from being tossed around before they even get to the USPS.
When should I send out my invitations?
Invitations should be sent out six to eight weeks before your wedding date. If you have a large number of out of town guests, we suggest eight weeks to give your guests the courtesy of making reservations and securing travel arrangements more economically