Getting all the information together prior to searching, selecting, and sealing your order need not be a painful process. Invitations are like small teasers that bring a taste of the wedding or event celebration to your guest’s front door! Your invitations will reflect you, those involved and/or honoured in your event, and the event itself. This is your opportunity to personalize your event to every one of your guest’s all at the same time. Nothing else in your wedding or event planning carries such an overwhelming initial impact and first impression. So have fun with it! Do your research! Share your ideas! Allow your invitations to speak for you and your event!
The best way to begin is to decide
on what you need. Here are a few
questions you should be able to answer in the course of your planning:
Obviously the list can go on and on. The important thing to remember is that this is your event. Small details may alter some small elements of your invitation, but you must feel comfortable with the look and style and feel of your event as seen from the perspective of your invitations. If you are having trouble finding the ‘right’ invitation, consult any of the invitation designers that have invitation collections closest to the styles that do appeal to you. Oftentimes, your invitation may be out there, you just may need a hand in scoping it out!
Good invitation designers recognize the importance of finding the right invitation that suits you and your wedding or event. You should never feel pressured or intimidated into selecting an invitation that you are not fully comfortable with.
There are a lot of components that
can be added to your wedding invitation depending on the type of wedding,
guests, budget, and style of your wedding celebration.
§ Anchors your ‘invitation package’. This is your guest’s first impression of your wedding once they pick up their mail!
It is a good idea to have your
return address printed on the back flap of the envelope in the same lettering as
Your guest’s address may be
handwritten neatly or written using the services of a calligrapher.
Historically, inner envelopes were
created to provide added protection to the contents of letters or invitations.
That is, the outer envelope often suffered quite a bit of wear and tear between
destinations, so the inner envelope would preserve the contents while
identifying the recipient in case the original address information wore away.
The need for an inner envelope no
longer exists, but the romantic tradition remains.
Nowadays, the inner envelope identifies only the invitees within the
household (For example: Mr. & Mrs. Wilhelm Schneider).
No address is written on the inner envelope.
All contents of your invitation package are placed inside the inner
envelope. Usually the inner
envelope back flap is left folded, but unsealed.
The most essential component of
your invitation package.
If your invitation is a folded card, all other components should be
placed inside the invitation. If
this is not possible, or your invitation consist of a one sided card, place all
other components on top of the invitation.
The goal here is to make the invitation package as neat and tidy as
Just as important as the
invitation, the size and expense of your wedding is largely determined by RSVP
RSVP cards usually contain a blank
line where the guest fills in his/her name and indicates the number of persons
attending from his/her party. Usually an addressed and pre-stamped envelope is included to
encourage your guest to respond as soon as possible.
RSVP cards can contain other
information such as multiple dining options which must be chosen, or spaces for
comments, requests, feedback etc.
A common tip is to lightly number each RSVP card with a corresponding
guest/invitation list. That way, if
any RSVP card is returned blank without the sender’s information, you’ll know
exactly which guest it is.
RSVP sizes are usually much
smaller than invitations and contain an appropriately-sized return envelope.
For weddings where the ceremony
and reception are not at the same place, an additional card may be required to
inform your guests of the name and address of the reception hall.
This card may include information
on parking, written directions, smoking rules, and the time of the event(s) (ie.
Cocktails, greeting lines, seating times etc.)
Usually this card is the size of
the RSVP card.
If your ceremony and reception are
not well know to any or all of your guests, it is proper etiquette to provide
detailed directions to and from the sites.
Directions cards may be as simple
or as detailed as appropriate to the scale of the wedding celebration.
If you have out-of-town guests, you may wish to include hotel
information/directions, suggestions on where to rent a car or call a taxi, maps
or drawings in additional to written directions etc.
The information on this card is a
service to your guests. Use your
own common sense to determine what information should be included.
A program reflects the chronology
of events which will occur during your wedding day.
Regardless of what traditional and non-traditional elements may or may
not be included in your particular wedding day plans, a program adds a nice
touch and air of sophistication to your celebration.
Programs offer a high degree of
creativity that can really stun and impress your guests.
You may wish to match your programs with your wedding invitation
colours/styles. You can present
them as a scroll or booklet on the day of your wedding
Program information can include a
chronology of events, speakers, locations, dance lists, greetings from family,
messages from the bride and groom, and even credits or special information for
The purpose of these cards is to
‘announce’ the joyous event of your marriage to absentee guests.
Usually, guests who live far away or could not attend due to other reasons are
sent announcement cards immediately after the wedding
Announcement cards are simple and
elegant. They may consist of your
names, the wedding date, the location, and a small quotation or greeting from
you and your spouse.
Also called engagement cards,
these cards serve two purposes.
The first is to announce your joint intent to marry and the second is to
inform the guests to ‘save the [wedding] date’ on their calendars
These cards are a more recent
addition to invitation components as engagement times are lasting longer and
longer with many modern couples.
It is important that these cards contain the wedding date, location, and
hotel/transportation information for guests.
Seating cards may be used to
identify the proper spaces each guest should be seated at.
These cards may be made for both the ceremony and the reception. Ceremony
cards are also known as ‘pew cards’, whereas reception cards are considered
There are many variations of
seating cards. Some seating cards
are simply number cards, while others may only discern ‘bride’s side’ and
‘groom’s side’, or even state the full name of the guest.
Seating cards are usually small in
size and may be folded horizontally. They usually match the invitation style exactly or coordinate
you’re your wedding colours.
It is not only proper etiquette,
but an expectation that the newlywed couple sends out Thank You cards.
Your guests’ wedding or shower gifts should be acknowledged in this form (even
in addition to other personalized expressions of gratitude).
Thank You cards
have evolved over the years. The traditional card used to be a small
book-folding card no bigger than 3”-5” containing a small handwritten expression
of gratitude on one side, and a wallet-size wedding picture on the other size.
§ Some modern alternatives include: Postcards that features a collage of wedding pictures on one side and a gratitude expression of the reverse; Cards that emulate the style and format of the invitation but contain the gratitude expression instead (picture may or may not be included); or the utilization of digital picture printing or even electronic Thank You cards. Note: Electronic Thank You cards should always follow in conjunction with printed cards.
Also called “At Home Cards”,
Residence cards are an elegant way to communication your new home or residence
together to all your friends and family.
These are small cards that may be
sent with invitations or shortly after the wedding.
They should include your names, your new home or residence address, phone
number, and move-in date.
First, a bit of background: Many
companies offer ‘free web space’ on the internet where you can design a website
using some generic templates.
Some of these companies are wedding-themed and offer couples an easy and
‘low-tech’ way of constructing a “wedding website.” The advantages of a “wed site” are numerous.
You can personalize a space on the internet that is accessible by anyone
in the world through the internet.
You can update it with pictures, wedding details, gift registry information,
quotations, letters, stories, and even solicit creative contributions from
family and friends.
Website cards are physical cards that can be included with
your invitations directing your guests to your “wed site”.
Essentially the cards contain your names, the website address (http://www.)
and your email address(es).
Theoretically, any of these
components can be duplicated electronically. While the possibility of exploring electronic alternatives to
physical cards is a tempting one, it is not recommended.
Weddings are still considered
formal and traditional events. Even
if every one of your guests is an active user of the internet, electronic cards
and greetings should always be sent in conjunction with physical cards.
Acceptance of electronic cards as
substitutes for invitations or invitation components is not yet a reality.
Many retail companies accustomed to
registries print and offer their own special ‘registry cards’ that displays
their logo. A registry card
announces an active registry with a retailer.
There is still controversy over
whether information regarding gift registries is better communicated through
word-of-mouth rather than through invitations.
At present, gift registry cards are quite normal and ubiquitous in the
wedding invitation world.
Ultimately, it is a personal choice to make.
As timelines go, you should probably consider your invitations a top priority in planning your wedding or event. To ensure the fullest possible attendance for your wedding or event, invitations must be ordered and sent during the correct window of time appropriate for the type of event.
Generally speaking, the earlier you
start looking for your invitation, the better. Once you have a guest list and
know when and where your event will take place, you are ready to place your
order. For a wedding or bar/bat
mitzvah, it would be safe to start your search at least six to twelve months
prior to the event. You should
place your order at least three to four months before the event.
For less formal events like birthday celebrations and showers, you can
risk a little less time in planning and placing an order.
To avoid unexpected changes, mistakes, and headaches, try and place your
order as soon as possible!
Generally speaking, for an event like a wedding, invitations should be sent out six to eight weeks before the event itself. If there are other factors such as events over the holidays or events requiring many on your guests to make flight arrangements to attend, you should try and send out your invitations ten to twelve weeks in advance. Alternately, you can send out a Save-The-Date-Card earlier and then follow the normal timeline for your invitations. Again, for less formal events, it is appropriate to send invitations approximately four to six weeks in advance.
Ultimately the choice is yours as long as you consider the farthest your guests will have to travel and the nature or formality of your event. When in doubt, use a little common sense and always err on the side of caution.
This is probably the most challenging question as the guest list is always in danger of fluctuating between too few and too many!
Many invitation designers limit the
sizes of invitation orders to various quantity thresholds.
For instance you may only be able to order invitations in multiples of 5, 10,
15, 20, 25, or 50. Sometimes there are also minimum order sizes imposed which
may force you to buy more than you really need if your wedding or event is a
To arrive at a close approximation
of the exact number of invitations needed, consider a healthy buffer of extra
invitations. The precise amount of
‘extras’ is up to you and the type of event you are hosting or planning.
Here are some common situations where extras may be needed:
Depending on what stage you are at in finalizing your guest list, you may want to ‘guess’ at the total number of invitations required if pressed for time. Consider some of the ‘rules’ on who should get invitations:
When you are ready to place your order, have all your wedding or event details and facts worked out. Even if you don’t know exactly how many guests you will finally have, try to arrive at a reasonable estimate and include a few extra invitations with your order. At the very least, extra invitations make beautiful and thoughtful gifts or souvenirs. You could consider framing them and presenting them as keepsakes to the bride’s or groom’s parents and/or special honoured guests after the wedding or event. Either way, you’ll be glad you ordered the extras.
This is a situation where you will be thrilled that you did some advance planning. For baby announcements, you probably should start shopping around when you are five to seven months pregnant. Try and look for one neutral design or two separate designs that appeal to you if you don’t know the gender of your child.
If you do know the child’s gender,
you may still want to opt for a neutral card. It is a good idea to place your order well ahead of time.
Once the baby arrives, you can send your invitation designer all the
information on your new baby (name, birthdate, weight) as a final step.
Then your announcement cards will be ready to print and then mailed out
within weeks of your child’s birth!
Adoption announcements operate no
differently from baby announcements. The only additional information added is the “Arrival Date”
in addition to “Birth Date”.
For older children, you can even include their name change on your
Most invitation designers do not
have the time and resources dedicated to assembling invitations.
Therefore few companies will assemble your invitations as the time and costs
involved in labour make this practice impractical.
Your invitations may arrive as multiples of each component.
In this case, if your invitations contain multiples layers with ribbon,
you would be responsible for folding, assembling and tying the ribbons for each
Some invitation designers offer the
added service of assembling your invitations.
It is usually included in the per invitation cost.
This is an advantage for those sophisticated invitations with multiple
layers, eyelets, and ribbons.
However, you also may have the choice of opting to assemble your invitations
yourself for a small cost savings.
It is best to find out what your invitations designer’s policy is in this area
prior to ordering. Regardless, don’t be afraid to ask what exactly is and is not
assembled with your ‘completed’ order.
You need to know what to expect so that you don’t experience any
unforeseen surprises when you receive your invitations.
Stuffing envelopes is not the same as assembly. Nearly all invitation designers require that you stuff your own envelopes. This can be a tricky task depending on the style and invitation format you’ve selected.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind
when stuffing your envelopes:
Don’t settle for the default stamps! Check with your local postal outlet to see what other stamps are available in the denomination you require. Sometimes you may be able to find stamps that match the colours and/or theme of your invitation. The cost is the same, but your invitations will have a much nicer touch that will surely separate them from the rest of your guest’s incoming mail!
When you see the listed prices of custom invitations and custom stationery components, it is important to understand how these prices are arrived at. Many custom invitation companies aren't quite as forthcoming with respect to their pricing. This is understandable considering how competitive the invitation industry is. One of the advantages of being a leader in the custom niche of the invitation world is our ability to cover this and related topics on our website.
After all, we feel - as customers - you need to be confident you are making an informed decision when ready to purchase. To that end, we've broken down some of the factors involved in the pricing of custom invitations.
Material alone account for the largest proportion of the per invitation cost. Reputable custom invitation companies do not have the luxury of substituting high end materials with passable lower end stationery. Using high-end, top quality materials is critical to the creation of your perfect invitation. It's fairly easy to spot the difference between a quality invitation and a substitute. The following costs may be factored into the material cost:
The next significant cost is in the labour. The process of proofing, cutting, folding, printing, and assembly of the invitation and related materials is also factored into the cost.
We hope this gives you a better understanding of how custom invitations are priced. Of course other factors such as overhead costs, packaging, marketing, etc. are general considerations that play a role as well.
High quality invitations can be
quite costly. Factors such as paper
and envelope materials, decorative accessories, labour, printing, and level of
customization make up the fixed costs of your invitation order.
However, there are ways in which you can reduce some of the other costs
involved without compromising on the quality and/or choice of invitation.
Here are a few things you can do to get those invitations to fit into
your wedding or event budget:
These are just a few tips. If you are having trouble finding the right invitation to suit your budget, always contact the invitation designers and ask for some help. A good invitation designer will be able to work within any reasonable budget.
Yes! There are a number of resources available to help you get your invitation and stationery wording just right! There are a few online websites that offer help choosing the right wording or verse. To get you started, we've assembled a few of our more popular wording choices in a few samples for wedding invitations and response cards. You can view these by clicking here.
Alternately, visit our LINKS page for a listing of some of the resources that may be able to help you find what you're looking for. If you still can't find the right wording, try a general internet search on Yahoo! or Google.