Hurrah!! You've said 'YES' and now where does your planning begin? Planning your wedding is exciting, fun and maybe a little overwhelming. So where does a couple start, and when do you begin planning for invitations? The good news is that planning your special event is not as challenging as you might think, if you follow a few key steps you're on your way to your perfect wedding day!
Step#1: Pick A Date!
The very first step to any event is to pick a date. For a wedding, think of a special time of the year that is meaningful to you as a couple. Maybe it's when you first met or your anniversary as a dating couple. The most common would be the season of the year - Summer is the most popular due to the warm weather or maybe the Fall season is appealing with warm, rich colours to theme your event. Weekends of course are the most sought after days, however more couples are considering Monday - Thursday wedding dates to have flexibility. Most importantly, pick a date that will give you ample time to plan your wedding of your dreams.
Step #2: Book Your Ceremony and Reception Venues
Once you've secured a date to your wedding, you'll need to book your ceremony and reception venues. This is a good starting point to begin the process of planning invitations and help you decide if you need Save the Dates or not.
Should I send out Save the Date Cards?
Yes, if your wedding is one or two years away or unusually busy holiday time period, in a faraway destination or if the majority of your guests are from out of town. This allows guests to mark their calendars and plan their vacation.
No, if you plan to send invitations out no later than two months out or if most of your guests are local. Save the Dates should be sent out 8-12 months in advance.
Who is hosting/paying for your wedding?
Knowing who is hosting your wedding or in other words, who's paying for it is where to start with wording your invite. The first line on the invitation will note who is throwing the reception party. Is the couple paying for it or one set of parents? If it's just the bride's parents "Mr. and Mrs. Bride's Parents invite you..." If it's both families, "Together with our families..." would be an appropriate line. If the couple are the ones hosting you may say "Linda and Robert invite you..."
How to write the couples names on the invite?
The formality of your event will dictate how you should write your names on the invitation. If you are having a formal wedding, traditionally the bride and grooms full names of both bride and groom should be used. If it's a casual wedding typically will use only a couples first names. Last names are optional, but either way is acceptable. The bride and grooms names are highlighted separate from the body copy and should be on their own lines.
What should I use as the request line?
There are a few options for your request line and depends on certain traditions. If you are getting married in a place of worship, such as a church, "request the honour of your presence" would be the most common option. If the ceremony is not in a place of worship, "The pleasure of your company" can be used. At Stylish Moments Invitation Studio, we'll provide you with various options so you can choose a phrase.
What about the date and time?
It is more formal to spell out dates and time, however using numerals is acceptable depending on a format that you like. A stationery designer will provide options for stylizing the date. If the wedding is starting on the hour, "o'clock" should be used. "Half past" should be used for 30 minutes past the hour. State the day of the week that the event will be held on especially if your wedding will not be on a Saturday.
Location, location...how do I state this properly?
It's important to always put the full address of the ceremony and reception venue on the invitation. This would include the name of the establishment, full address: street, city and province, postal codes are not necessary. The address should always be fully spelled out - no abbreviations. If you choose to have a separate insert card that includes includes a map or additional details such as parking etc., you should include the venue and full address as well.
How do I phrase the reception on my invitation?
There are are few options to state the reception:
"reception to follow"
"dinner and dancing to follow"
If you are hosting cocktails before the dinner reception, then you could say, "Join us for cocktails and appetizers followed by dinner and dancing".
What about the RSVP card?
For every wedding invitation, there needs to be an RSVP. Typically this would be on a separate card that says, "Kindly Respond". The card would include a return envelope with postage and bride and grooms address so that guests can drop in the mail to send back to the couple. It's important to provide a deadline for guests to respond one month prior to your wedding so that you can give your reception venue an accurate head count, coordinate your seating plan and quantity of small gift favours to purchase.
Included on the card would be a deadline for guests to respond, space for the guest to write their name(s), a line to accept or decline, another line to indicate a guests' dietary or allergy restrictions and sometimes song request.
How do I inform guests on dress attire?
Typically it's assumed based on the style of the invitation and reception venue what the formality of your wedding will be, however you can indicate dress attire on the invitation if you would like to make this clear to all guests. A small line on the bottom right hand corner of the invitation that specifies dress code is acceptable. This could say, "cocktail attire", "black tie" or if your event is casual, "casual attire" or "beach formal" if it's a destination wedding.
What if we're having an adult only event? How do we state no children?
This is a tricky area of conversation. You don't want to offend or upset your family or friends if you decide to have an adult only wedding event with no children. There are a few reasons why a couple may not want to include kids. If budget does not allow the extra head count that could be a solid reason or perhaps the style of your event does not fit having little ones attend. What ever the reason, remember that this is your special event and there are options to indicate, "no children" in a respectful and considerate way.
*Read my recent blog "How To Announce An Adult Only Wedding" for tips and guidance.
How do I write my guest addresses on the envelope?
Guest addressing is as important as your invitation. Again, depending on the formality of your wedding event, there are several different ways to write your guests names on the envelope. Traditionally, "Mr. and Mrs." is the most formal and common approach. If your event is more casual, then just the guests first and last names. If there are two families within the same household they should each receive their own invitation.
We provide couples with options on how to best write their guest addresses based on the formality of your wedding. Contact us for more information.
When should I send out my wedding invitations?
Typically invitations can be mailed out a minimum 8 weeks prior to your event, 10-12 weeks would be the typical timeframe especially if you have quite a few out of town guests.
Additional information Always, always proof read your invitation suite thoroughly, checking for spelling and grammar and elements the designer has added to your design to make sure they fall inline with the initial creative brief. Your stationery designer will do their very best to catch any obvious typos, however it's ultimately the responsibility of the couple to approve all spelling especially guest names and their addresses.
There are really no rules on how to word invitations, but keep in mind the guests you are inviting when wording your own. Guests will appreciate details to your special event which will avoid guests reaching out for clarity on the day of your wedding. Lastly, always remember that your wedding invitations are a reflection your unique personality, style and they set the tone for your special event!