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Wedding Invitations Primer – Wording Samples, Etiquette, Trends and Costs
Wedding invitations are the centerpiece of your wedding stationery, providing the first glimpse of wedding style and formality. While save-the-dates can be flirty and fun, your invitations will be a true reflection of your event. Carefully plan your wedding invitations with my complete wedding invitation planning guide.
Anatomy of a Wedding Invitation
Depending on the nature of your wedding and your stationery budget, wedding invitations can include several attachments. (of course more attachments means more cost)
o Outer envelope: holds all enclosures formally addressed to the recipient.
o Inner Envelope: Holds all contents of a formal, third-party invitation for protection during shipping.
o Reception Card: Specifies where and when the reception will be held – usually only included if the ceremony and reception are held at different locations.
o Response Card: On which your guests express acceptance or regret. in a self-addressed stamped envelope. Be sure to include the RSVP deadline.
o Map/Directional: Optional access to help guests navigate and arrange accommodations
Cost and budget considerations
Before you go shopping, familiarize yourself with the invitation printing process and lingo; This will help you decide your needs in advance and avoid unnecessary expenses. Each invitation is priced, so if you have a large guest list – be prepared to allocate a significant portion of your budget to wedding invitations. Costs can range anywhere from $1-$50 each. Bulky papers, colored ink, and unique graphics all add to the cost. Custom designs can also be expensive. Printing options also affect cost.
Invitation Printing Options:
o Engraving – the most formal and the most expensive – results in a raised print that is pressed from the back
o Thermography – less expensive than engraving – results in no back pressing
o Lithography – less expensive than engraving or thermography – results in a print that is not raised or pressed
o Laser printing – the least expensive option. – Produced on a laser printer and prints similar to lithography.
When considering total costs, don’t forget to consider postage as part of your budget, including stamps for response card envelopes. Looking for ways to save? Keep your design simple by sticking to one color. Use lighter weight paper and include fewer inserts. Use response postcards instead of cards with envelopes.
As with all other aspects of your wedding, your invitations give you the opportunity to reflect the specific color, theme and/or season of your wedding. In spring, incorporate pressed flowers or flower blossom motifs in your wedding colors. Any 3D that adds an Asian-inspired floral motif or texture is hot right now. For fall, include warm, colorful leaves. For a summer wedding, feature seashells and starfish with bright sea-blues or sunset-oranges/reds. And for winter, include snowflakes on a plain white invitation.
Other popular suggestions range from unique color combinations and patterns, to ribbons or other clever themed items such as binding. Many couples are going back to a traditional, formal look and featuring both initials as a monogram on the cover, but even more popular is a creative logo or historic family seal. Whatever you decide, reflect your personal style and make your wedding invitations innovative and unique.
Tips, Rules and Etiquette
o When to send them – Send wedding invitations 6-8 weeks before the big day. (If you think your guests will need more advanced notice, send a save-the-date card as well) Try to order 3-4 months in advance to ensure invitations go out on time.
o How much to order – order about 25% more than the number of guests you are inviting – you will make mistakes or last minute additions.
o Consider hiring a calligrapher for an added touch of elegance. (It’s the first impression of your wedding!) Be sure to factor in extra time to ensure your invitations go out on time. Several rules apply to wording and addressing invitations. Here are some basics to make sure you’re “Fox Pass-Free”:
Invitation Wording Etiquette
o Dates and times should be specified (after 4:30 p.m., not 4:30 p.m. and April 22nd, not April 22nd)
o Mr. and Mrs. is an abbreviation and can be junior, but the title doctor should be pronounced
o No punctuation is used after abbreviations and other than city and state.
o A wedding ceremony invitation only does not include an RSVP
o “Hosting” of a wedding can mean anything from a set of parents planning the event, inviting guests, or paying expenses:
If there is a set of hosts, list their names at the beginning.
If hosting both sets, list on separate lines with the bride’s parents first.
If one set is hosting but you want to include the other set as well, list their names under their son/daughter names.
If you are hosting your own wedding, start with a request line under your name and state parent relationship.
If you and both sets of parents are hosting, list your names first “with their parents” before the request line.
o No abbreviations need to be pronounced except for the states Mr., Mrs., Mrs., and Jr.
o If one of your unmarried guests is bringing a date that you know personally, send a separate invitation to that person instead of including “& Guest” on the inside envelope.
o If you cannot get the name of a friend’s guest – indicate on the inner envelope that they can bring a guest – not on the outer envelope. (this looks weird)
o Unmarried couples living together should receive an invitation, where their names will be listed alphabetically and on their own line.
o Invited guests who are living together as roommates, not couples, should each receive their own invitation.
o List the names of children under 18 who still live in the household instead of “& family” which is too ambiguous and easily misinterpreted. Children over the age of 18 should receive their own invitation, regardless of their state of residence.
o A traditional, married couple recipient must follow this format:
Mr. and Mrs. Ryan Parker
2211 First Street, Apartment 3
San Diego, California 92109
Wedding Invitation Wording Samples
Gone are the days when according to wedding etiquette the wedding was organized by the bride’s parents and the bride’s parents. Today anyone can draw the bill, and with modern family arrangements, there is no straightforward rule for wording invitations, other than often nuclear. We’ve sorted through the confusion to bring you word patterns for the most common arrangements:
Simple, traditional look
[proper names of those hosting] (Official Host Line) Request the honor of your presence at their wedding (Request Line). [relationship of the bride to the host] [bride’s first and middle names] to do [groom’s full name]The [day of the week] of [day and month of wedding] here [hour] rang in [time of day] here [name of wedding venue] in [city, state] Reception to follow
[proper name of host] Requests you to honor your presence at the wedding of [his/her] [relationship of the bride to the host]
Or, if the parent has remarried and is cohabiting with a new spouse:
[proper names of those hosting] Request to honor your presence at the wedding of [his/her] [relationship of the bride to the host]
Or, if divorced parents are co-hosting:
[proper name of mother] And [proper name of father] Request to honor your presence at their wedding [relationship of the bride to the host]
When a living parent of the bride is hosting The invitation is issued only in the name of the surviving parent:
Mr. [Mrs.] Jonathan Stephen Smith and Timothy Wright request the honor of your presence at their wedding [her] Daughter Elizabeth Ann
When the bride and groom host
For the honor of your presence, it is requested that Miss Ashley Johnson’s Mr. Married to Paul Wilkins
Miss Ashley Johnson and Mr. Paul Wilkins requested to honor your presence at their wedding
Optional “Request Line” option
o “Enjoy your company”
o “the honor of your presence” (used instead of the formal “honor” when the ceremony is not taking place in a house of worship)
o “Participate in their joy and celebrate” is another creative idea that reflects the theme and tone of your wedding.
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