Your wedding invitation is the very first official thing your guests will see about your wedding. You want it to be pretty, convey the message, and set the tone for your big day, but no one told you how many decisions were involved in choosing your perfect wedding invitations, did they? So many choices for paper, style, typography, wording, colors, and design. But don’t worry. We’ve got you covered. Here is a list of important details to keep in mind when choosing your perfect wedding invitations.
Paper vs. Online
Before you start with any decisions about design, colors, or style, you first have to decide if you would like to have traditional paper for your invitations or go digital with online invitations. Paper invites are more formal in nature whereas guests will perceive online invitations more casually. Also think about your budget for a second. Does it include money for paper invitations? According to theweddingreport.com, the average price to expect to pay for 150 wedding invites and response cards is $245 with most couples spending closer to $408. That doesn’t include any additional inserts or even postage. Postage for 150 invites will cost around $75 and expect to pay more for postage if your invites weigh over an ounce, need to travel abroad, or are an odd shape. With online invitations, you might need to pay for a special template if you want one, but other than that, they are virtually free to customize and use. With sites like Paperless Post, you don’t have to sacrifice on style or design if you go with online invitations. Also, if you are paper conscious, going digital alleviates the need to use any paper for communicating details about your wedding.
Custom vs. Templates
Whether you go with paper or online invitations, there are so many options for choosing how to bring your vision to life. One option is to hire a designer to create a completely customized invite. One of the nice things about hiring a designer is you will be working with them from start to finish so you can create something unique and personalized. You can also hire them to make inserts or other paper like place cards, menus, or thank you cards so all of your wedding paper is cohesive. Even if you don’t decide to go with a designer, you can still create a beautiful custom invite through templates. With a template, the hard work of choosing your typography, colors, style, and layout is already done just leaving you with the easy decisions like finalizing your wording and inputting your details. Beautiful templates can be found on sites like Mint.
Now onto the fun stuff! The theme and style of your invitation should not only convey you and your partner’s personalities, but also the theme and feel of your wedding. Think about the type of event you are going to have. Is it a 1920’s theme or a destination beach wedding? Or a formal black tie affair? Hinting at these subtle details in your wedding paper will set the tone for your event and let guests know what to expect and create a cohesive concept.
When choosing colors, try to keep in theme with the overall colors of your wedding. If you don’t know your colors yet, try to establish them before choosing your invitations so everything complements each other. There are so many options here for colors and motifs with everything from gold foils, metallic fonts, bright envelopes or liners, etc. Just remember to keep in mind readability when it comes to incorporating these design elements. The whole point of your invitations is to convey important details about your big day so try to steer clear of hard to read fonts and dark fonts on dark backgrounds or light fonts on light backgrounds.
Wording + Details
With everything else, the wording on your invites also needs to reflect you and your partner’s personalities and your event. If your wedding is going to be more on the casual side, stuffy formal wording might not be the best choice to convey the details of your day. Regardless of how you word your invitations, there are some key elements you need to include in this order: hosting information, request for attendance, couples names, date and time of the wedding, the location, reception info, and dress code. For examples, this article from The Knot, is a great resource. Everything should be spelled out on your invitation with no abbreviations (yes, even the time!). As long you include these key details, how you choose to word them are up to you. Your wording can be more traditional and classic or more fun and whimsical depending on your individual personalities. Look up some examples on Pinterest to get a feel for different invitations.
For your response card (or otherwise known as RSVP card), most couples choose to include this as a separate insert with a envelope already complete with postage for guests to fill out and send back. However, if you’d rather have guests RSVP directly on your wedding website, you’ll still want to include a separate insert with website link and instructions.
When it comes to other inserts, the less is generally the better. The more you include, the heavier your invitation will be, which will cost more for postage. Also think about your guests. Some of them might lose some key information if there are too many papers. Most couples have wedding websites where additional information can be found so including your website link at the bottom of your invite or on another insert can be helpful instead of trying to fit all the info on enclosure cards. Having registry information directly on your wedding invite is generally a no-no, but including an insert with your registry information is acceptable. Also including it on your wedding website is a subtle and more polite way to let guests know where you are registered.
This may seem like a silly thing, but after staring at something for so long, we start to overlook key errors. You already have enough details and information in your mind so pass this task off to some bridesmaids or close family. Have a few people look it over, and you’re sure to catch any misspellings or hiccups when it comes to readability for text or colors. Another reason to double (or triple!) check your proofs is because invites are expensive to print. No use spending more money than you have to just because of silly mistakes. Don’t forget to check over all inserts and enclosure cards.
It never fails that an invitation (or a few) will get mysteriously lost or damaged in the mail or you’ll realize that you somehow forgot to invite someone and will need some last minute replacement invites. Always order 15-20 extra invitations for these reasons. You’ll also want to set some aside for keepsakes. You’ll want one for yourself so your photographer can include it in your wedding photos, and your parents, soon to be in-laws, and any other family members might want a few as well. You also might want extra on hand if your first list of invites come back with fewer than expected attendees and you want to invite a few extra people you otherwise wouldn’t be able to fit. It’s always better to have more than have to wait a week or two for invites to be reprinted and shipped to you.
You want to start the invitation process well in advance of your big day. They need to be sent out out six to eight weeks before your wedding (for destination weddings, twelve to fourteen weeks beforehand), and designing, printing, and addressing them will take lots of time. Printing them alone can take anywhere from a week or two to a month so aim to order them 4-5 months before your wedding date to ensure they are at your door ready to be sent out. If you are hiring a professional to address your envelopes, you’ll want to start even earlier to give them adequate time to work and get back to you.
Lastly, before you stick a stamp on them and drop them off, you’ll definitely want to take a complete wedding invitation to the post office for a weigh in. This will save you lots of headache later on if there is insufficient postage and they need to be returned to you. And don’t forget to ask your local post office is if they can hand process your invitations instead of running them through the processing machine. Even if you have a to pay a fee to do this, it is worth it to keep your invites from potentially getting crushed or damaged.