With the holidays coming to an end and a new year fast approaching, there is no doubt that we all have a million and one things on our mind to get done. But for those couples out there that are looking to wed in 2013, you may want to get an early jump-start. If you have the date and venue reserved, the next step is the invitation. The importance of a wedding invitation can often be ignored or underestimated, but it is more than just simply stating the basic: who, what, when, where, and why. Rather, it is the first introduction to your wedding and it contributes to your theme, which sets the whole backdrop for your entire wedding planning and gives your guests a small glimpse of what to expect. When it comes to invitations, there are hundreds of styles to choose from so before you get started, sit down with your significant other and decide what type of theme and event you want to throw. Here is everything you need to know, and more, to get your invitations designed, ordered, sealed and delivered for the New Year!
Choose your wedding theme and style. The invitation is the first glimpse guest’s have at your wedding. Just from this one invitation, they will be able to tell what type of event it will be and the style of it. This is why it is important for you and your significant other to have a solid idea of what type of wedding you want to throw, whether it is classic, elegant, modern, glamorous, or funky.
Research and Browse. Once you have the stylistic basics down, you can now set out to find the perfect stationary to complement your style. The Internet will be your friend. Browse wedding invitation photos and stationers’ websites and gather ideas and inspiration so you have a concrete idea to tell the stationer what you like.
Digital versus traditional. Traditional paper invitations are always the way to go. Digital invitations are a great way to reduce paper and go-green, but they tend to be forgotten. Whether they forget to open the email or they read it once, digital invitations are not the most effective for wedding invitations. Because most of the mail we receive is through technology, it gives off a less wholehearted tone. And for the mail we do receive they are usually flyers or bills, it is nice to receive a creative wedding invitation personally addressed to you. Sending traditional paper invitations is personable, formal and your guests will be able to reference it easily.
Pick your colors. Think about the colors your want at your wedding. Once you have decided on a color palette, incorporate the colors and motif (birds, for example) into your wedding invitation and as well as the rest of your wedding paper (seat assignments, menu cards, etc) to ensure cohesiveness. If you are going for more of a classic look, white, cream and ivory card stock is widely popular, with black or gold font. If you are going for a funkier theme, play with bright colors and metallic fonts until you found one that best suits your style. Whatever colors and fonts you choose, keep in mind readability.
Make sure it is legible. The most important part of the invitation is the text, so as you are choosing colors, patterns and size, always keep in mind text because that is the whole point of the invitation. A stationer can help with this, but be aware of contrast as you pick text color and background color. Avoid light ink on light backgrounds and dark ink on dark backgrounds. Lighter colors and pastels can be tough colors to read, so if you choose light colors, make sure the background contrasts enough for the letters to pop. Also, be aware of the type font and steer aware from scripted typeface (it can be hard to read).
Wording. There are rules to wording invitations. If you look at wedding invitation examples, it will give you a better idea of how to choose your words. Typically, the host is listed first on the invitation. Spell everything out, including dates and times. On traditional wedding invitations, there is a request line after the host’s name – so and so “request the honor of your presence.” List only the main points on your invite: time and location, the hosts, the couple’s names, the dress code and RSVP information. If you want to include directions to the wedding venue or details about post wedding plans, include a separate enclosure card. Check out The Knot’s wording invitation samples for more references.
Get an early start. The save-the-date cards should be sent out six to eight months prior to the wedding and they do not have to match the invitations. The time it takes to print the invitations often vary, depending on how fancy you go, it can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks, or even longer. If you order everything from one stationer, it will save you money and make the process easier. Start looking for a stationer 9 to 11 months before the wedding. Try to order your invitations about four to five months out so they are ready to be mailed six to eight weeks before the wedding. If you are having a destination weeding or getting married during the holidays, send the invitations about 10 to 12 weeks before the wedding.
Be aware of the dates. Remember to put the RSVP information on the bottom right corner of the invitation or on a separate card. The deadline should be no more than 3-4 weeks after guests receive the invitations. Be sure to check with your cater before to find out when they’ll need the final headcount. It is important to give your guests time to reply, but the more time you give them, the more likely they are to forget and you will need a finalized headcount a few weeks before the wedding for décor elements and such.
Quick & final reminders before sending out the invitations:
1. Triple check the proof before the invitation order is printed.
2. Have multiple people check over the proof.
3. Count carefully and count households- you might be able to cut the amount of invites in half.
4. Order 25 extra just in case you need to resend an invitation and ask for extra envelopes.
5. If possible, hire a calligrapher to write the addresses. If not, hand-written envelopes are more personal than printed labels.
6. Track RSVP’s as they come in using a spreadsheet and keep note of who gives you what gift.
7. Remember to include stamped (and addressed) envelopes if you want guests to mail back their reply cards.
8. Remember to order the rest of your wedding cards (menu cards, thank you notes) with your invitations.
9. Number your reply cards so that when someone RSVP's without a name you'll know who it is.
10. Use a glue stick to enclose the envelopes.
For couples getting married in the New Year, it is a good idea to getting an early start on your save-the-date cards and wedding invitations. While they can be a small pain, it is exciting at the same time because it is the first pronouncement of your wedding details. It can be done quickly and efficiently if you’re prepared ahead of time. Happy card making!