It all starts with the invitation, the centerpiece of your wedding stationery. But, what else needs to go in that ever important envelope? Your wedding invitation sets the tone for your wedding and tells the who, what, when, where of the day. It can be very confusing (since you only pick these out once in your life!) to know what parts you need to include in your invitation and why. I’ve broken down, below, what are the essential components of your wedding invitation and some optional items you may want to consider. We recommend checking out Basic Invite for everything from Wedding Invitations to Bridal Shower Invites.
This piece is indispensable, the main component, which all of the other pieces turn. Information to include is the bride and groom’s names, the date, time, and location name with addresses at the minimum.
The RSVP Card
In an effort to make responding easier (and to gather a more accurate head count for seating arrangements and catering), RSVP cards became a popular inclusion to the wedding invitation. Also, don’t miss putting an RSVP deadline for your guests have a timeline as to when you need their response information. I recommend a deadline of no less than two weeks before your wedding date.
The RSVP Envelope
Some brides choose a postcard style RSVP. However, whether you choose a postcard or a card/envelope combo, don’t forget to include postage to make your guests’ job of returning it as easy as possible.
The Reception Card
The reception information should be on a separate card and list the starting time of the reception and the address of the venue (if it is separate from the ceremony venue).
Optional items to include with the wedding invites…could do without, but you probably shouldn’t.
A Directions Card
If most of your guests are from out-of-town, consider a directions card, which will guide them from the ceremony venue to the reception site. This card is also indispensable for locals if either site is in a difficult to find the area of town.
An Accommodation Card
For guests who are traveling, it is often helpful for them to know which hotels you recommend. If you’ve booked a block of rooms for your guests at a local hotel, be sure to include the hotel code on this card so the guests can get the reduced rate. Now that you have all your invitation components to get you started. You may be wondering when do I need to do all these things? Timing is so important and should not be ignored. Here are some answers to questions concerning wedding invitations and the timing you will need to know.
This pre-invitation mailing officially announces your wedding date and lets guests know that they will, in fact, be invited to the celebration. Save the dates are a great way of letting friends and family know to keep a particular date free or organize any travel plans that may need to be made. These should be sent out six to nine months before the wedding day, especially if you are planning a summer wedding. Save-the-dates are usually just a single card or postcard containing very basic information (couple’s names, wedding date, and sometimes the location).
When should I start looking for wedding invitation designs?
Whether you are going to purchase a pre-designed invitation or design one yourself, you should start shopping or designing about 6 months before your wedding day.
When should I order my wedding stationery and how many?
Ideally order your invitations as soon as you have your wedding day schedule finalized. A good amount of time would be four to six months before your wedding. Each family/couple/guest will need their own invite. Order a few extras in case of inevitable mistakes.
When should I start to address my invitations?
Start addressing the invitations 3 months before the wedding. If using a calligrapher, they might need 4 months prior.
When should I send out my wedding invitations?
Wedding invites should be sent out no later than eight weeks before the wedding. I like to plan for 10 weeks especially if you have a large amount of family and friends traveling for the wedding. It gives them time to make travel arrangements. I, also, like to schedule the RSVP deadline to be two weeks before the wedding. This ensures that you have time before your guest count numbers have to be to the caterer. Inevitably you will need to give a few guests a call or email that have not RSVP’ed.
When should I expect my RSVP’s to be back?
Ideally, all RSVPs should be back two to three weeks before the wedding. It is appropriate to follow-up with any RSVPs not back before then with a phone call or email.
A couple last tips…
Postage. Please be aware when you are creating your invitations as to how much the invitation and all the added components will weight and the amount of postage it will require to send it out. I advise taking a sample to the post office and ask it to be weighed so you know the accurate postage it will require.
I recommend to each of my clients to place a small (in pencil) guest number that refers back to your guest list. Unfortunately, just a few guests will return the RSVP card but forget to enter any of the needed information. This, in turn, will assist with knowing who they are and if you need to contact them to gather additional information.
Most of all, give yourself plenty of time and plan ahead! You do not want to rush through this part. So…get some help. If you would like some help, please give me a call. I can come alongside you and assist you with this stage of your wedding planning and much, much more. Or ask others to give you a hand and make it fun!
Marsha VanArk, Wedding Planner & Owner
Distinctly Yours Wedding & Events, LLC
Wedding days are filled with a bundle of emotions and often ones you can’t really predict. They wait right beneath the surface and it isn’t until we see the faces of the ones we love the most do they spill over. These are the moments we want to candidly capture and have it as though we were never there. Being present doesn’t mean the shutter has to be clicking but waiting and anticipating those moments. Katie and I both have our strengths and this is certainly Katie’s. As a wallflower, she lives for moments like these, just anticipating the perfect moment when the father of the bride sees his daughter for the first time in her wedding dress. As a father, this moment gets me every time. I think about what it will be like when my own daughters get married and how I will be a complete mess and for good reason, they are my babies and I will be giving them away… it will be a happy day and at the same time I will be missing them before they are gone.
Marriage is big, scary, & filled with the unknown. Weddings are a celebration of what it means to dedicate your life to another for life in spite of those fears. This summer I have the chance to give the message at my brother’s wedding. It is something I have been planning for almost a year. Does anyone really remember what was said at their wedding? Maybe not without the help of a videographer, but I know how I want him and his wife to feel; loved and supported. Marriage takes work and families are not off the hook, while they are to take a back seat in letting their children make decisions, it is their right as parents to support the marriage and no longer the individual child they raised. This is hard. Parents can either be absent or overbearing, but for the fortunate, they are encouraging, transparent, and honest. This is worth more than its weight in spiritual gold.
As believers, this means that we will point our children and their spouses to Christ always! There is no greater example of a servant than that of Jesus Christ and our marriages should reflect the glory of our creator. Understanding that marriage was designed to serve as a union within a fallen world breaks the notion that marriages themselves should be perfect. Indeed, we try and make our weddings as flawless as possible, but marriage will be filled with highs and lows and a million imperfections. In those lows and through those mistakes, what will bring us back to a place of contentment and surrender? What will point us back to our promises? We believe that with God’s help and through scripture you will be reminded of your vows and commitment to one another. Psalm 77:11-12 – I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your wonders of old. I will ponder all your work, and meditate on your mighty deeds.
Over the last nine years of marriage, it is so evident how God has poured out His mercy and blessings on us in all His forms. Over time, I am afraid that we will forget all the goodness and trials he has given in order to have us draw closer to him and each other. I like to think that photographs and journals help protect against that. We are reminded every day of His goodness and the blessings we’re surrounded by. Our marriage is not perfect and our children are not angels, but God’s Grace is sufficient for all our failings as spouses and as parents. It is our hope that our couples would know Jesus personally and lead God fearing lives that raise up disciples for the Lord.
Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build labor in vain.
This is from one of my favorite chapters in Psalms which reminds me that children are a heritage from the Lord. What a gift we have to be able to marry the one whom God has chosen for us and to live in a place where we can serve and worship him freely. God ultimately wants us to delight in Him and to chase after him. So very often we misplace God for our spouse and our spouse was never designed to replace the creator of the Universe. We simply are not big enough to fulfill the needs of the human soul, we cannot be the happiness source of another. This is freeing! You don’t have to be EVERYTHING to your other half, you simply have to show them who is worthy of all of your praise. John 1:3
So, rejoice. Breathe. Laugh. Cry. Be silly. Your wedding day should be filled with hope and joy, much like our blessed hope in the day Christ will return in all His glory. Titus 2:11-14