Monday, March 16, 2015

Wedding Invitation Etiquette | Every Last Detail Contributor

I was so excited to be asked by Lauren Grove of The Every Last Detail blog, to join the ranks and be one of her contributors! Here is my first entry, all about my take on Wedding Invitation Etiquette!
See the article HERE on the Every Last Detail blog!
One of my favorite consultations with my clients is developing their custom invitation suite. This got me thinking about wedding invitations as a whole- from the basics and ordering, to wording and conquering that dreaded guest list… so here is my best advice (plus a few tidbits from V List members!) on wedding invitation etiquette!
  The ELD Guide To Wedding Invitation Etiquette
First, let’s start off by defining what I like to call…

THE BASIC BONES OF A WEDDING INVITATION:

- INVITATION

- RSVP CARD

- ONE OUTER ENVELOPE (INNER ENVELOPES ARE SO 2010…I HAD INNER ENVELOPES…AND THE TISSUE}


The above pieces are the “basic bones” of a wedding invitation- what you absolutely need for it be considered a wedding invitation. Sometimes brides will also include an Accommodations + Transportation card, a card for the Rehearsal Dinner or Welcome Reception, and/or a card for the Morning After Brunch- just as many other things when it comes to weddings, additional cards is dependent on whatever is necessary for you and your wedding.

ORDERING:

When it comes to invitations, Brides tend to not know where to begin. Some opt for a predetermined template from an online resource {which is great!} but my advice to all brides is to meet and work with a Custom Invitation Designer. If it sounds like a vendor like this would be out of your budget, don’t draw conclusions so fast! Sometimes a Custom Invitation Designer can actually save you money!
Here’s an example: A little over four years ago, I was planning my own wedding and you could say I broke the cardinal rule when it comes to ordering invitations… I ordered one invitation for every guest on my invite list. Sounds like a pretty dumb thing to do and seems like it should be obvious, right? But I really had no idea, and when I share that little anecdote with Brides, they usually have no idea either!
Typically you should order one invitation per household and one for the single guests, while ordering at least 10 extras for the ones you forget.
*BONUS Tip from Heather of Simply Designed: “If working with a custom stationery designer you will want to think about contacting them about 6 months before your wedding for plenty of time for custom design.”

WORDING:

Not only would a Designer assist you in ordering the proper amount of invitations, but they will also help you with how to “word” the invitation. Weddings sometimes will bring out emotions in family members {particularly Moms} that you would not necessarily expect.
For instance: Recently I had a Friend of mine call for some advice. Her brother is getting married and his fiancĂ© showed off the invitation to the family one night over dinner. After the couple left, the MOG started crying because the names of the Grooms parents were not listed. Her question to me was, “Is that normal?”. Basically, yes, it is normal for the Grooms parents to not be listed. Usually the names of the family members who are “hosting” the wedding will be listed. There are times that the Bride will want to acknowledge the family of the groom as well, but those names would be listed below the Groom’s name, rather than at the top of the invitation.
Working with an invitation designer, he or she would be able to guide you along in your wording, answering any and all wedding invitation etiquette questions.
*BONUS Tip from Alyssa Arlene Events: “Never include your registry information on your wedding invitation!!! Your guests should find out via word of mouth or if you have a wedding website, it is okay to include it on there.”

The ELD Guide To Wedding Invitation Etiquette
Design by Simply Designed

ENVELOPES:

From Heather of Simply Designed
“We get this question all the time, should we or shouldn’t we use outside envelopes? Well the answer is up to you really. Sending out an invitation with two envelopes guarantees that each guest will receive a beautiful envelope, even if the outer one has been torn or soiled in the mail (hungry, hungry mail sorters). Still, the two are not necessary. If you do decide to use two envelopes, the outer envelope includes all of the information the post service needs for delivery. The inner envelope should have the names of the invited guests in the household (including children, whose names do not appear on the outer envelope). I tell most of my brides if they are having a formal affair, they should go with the two envelopes; but if your wedding is carefree and laid back then most likely you can forgo the second envelope.”

INVITING:

Creating the list of who to invite is ALWAYS dramatic, and there’s bound to be people who have some opinions on your guest list. I have come up with a couple ways to explain how the guest list works with any parties involved with the guest list.
- Split the guest list up four ways {or between those important parties equally. Equality is key in maintaining the peace}. Meaning… if your guest list is 120 total invitees, the Mother of the Bride gets 30 couples, Mother of the Groom gets 30 couples, and as the Bride & Groom, you get 60 couples. Why do you get the most? Easy. Its YOUR wedding. :)
- Explain that each guest can easily cost between $150-$300 each, thats between $300 – $600 per couple. That number would include their food, beverage, chair, all utensils and rentals which they will use to eat, and a fraction of the Entertainment, linen & table decor, invitation, save-the-date, and favors. Yes- it most certainly all adds up! The guest count will always directly affect your budget, no matter how you cut it.
- So how should you decide who to cut from your guest list? Not to sound petty, but every wedding guest will gift between $50-$75 {who’s getting the better deal here?}. So if you are trying to figure out who to cut from your guest list, ask yourself this question: “Would I give ___________ a $150.00 Christmas or Birthday present?” If the answer is no, chances are they shouldn’t be invited.

RSVP DATE:

Your Venue and/or Caterer will need your final number at least two weeks prior to the wedding date and there will ALWAYS be guests who will not send their RSVP card back by the date listed. So to avoid this to the best of your ability, make the RSVP date three weeks prior to the wedding! This way you will have a little extra wiggle room to wait for any tardy responses and time to go over and finalize the guest list (and seating arrangements) before sending it to your Planner and Venue!

RSVP CARD:

- Number the back of the RSVP cards to keep track of the invitations and in case one comes back without a name on it! Believe me, it happens more than you would think!
- If you are hosting a plated meal where guests are asked for their meal option, instead of having them put a “number” in the blank, ask them to initial. This way you can keep track of the specific meal choices of each of your guests rather than having to guess or call to confirm. This helps your planner, caterer, and paper designer with the escort cards & seating chart!
- If you want to add a fun element to your RSVP card, ask your guests to also respond with a song choice to hear during the reception! This will help you create a “must play list” for your DJ!
The ELD Guide To Wedding Invitation Etiquette
Design by Caroline Creates

RECEPTION CARDS:

From Heather of Simply Designed
In general, if your reception will be held at a different location than the ceremony, then it is a good idea to include a reception card. This way, you will have plenty of room to list the significant details without overloading the invitation with too much information.
A few things to remember:
• There is no need to send the reception card separately, simply include it with the invitation.
• You don’t need a separate reply card for the reception card.
• Make your invitation suite consistent. If your invitation wording is formal, then keep the same level of formality for the reception card, and make sure the design feel is consistent as well.
• So, what if your reception is being held at the same location as the ceremony? In this case, you can mention the reception on the invitation. Just include a line near the bottom that states something like “dinner and dancing to follow” or “reception to follow” and this should indicate to the guests that the reception is in the same location.

MAP CARDS:

From Heather of Simply Designed
So, how do maps relate to weddings in this day in age of google, smart phones and GPS? An old fashion map adds a little touch of something special. They are a really great addition to your wedding invitation suite if your wedding festivities will be held at more than one location, you have out of town guests who aren’t familiar with the area, or if you just want to provide a nice little keepsake for all of your guests and get them started on their own adventure!
So if you have decided this is something you really want to have as part of your invitation package, but you really aren’t sure where to begin, here are few things we ask for when working with our brides:
• Be sure to provide the name and address of each important location.
• Please make a list of all major streets and highways that need to be included on the map.
• Please include a list of any important monuments or landmarks that you would like to include on the map.
• If you wish to include any written driving directions or special instructions (parking, times, etc.)

SENDING INVITATIONS:

The rule of thumb is to send out your invitations between 6-8 weeks prior to the wedding. If you are having a destination wedding or are inviting a lot of out of town guests, I would always suggest 8-10 weeks prior to allow your guests ample time to arrange their travel plans and accommodations.
Note: Don’t send out your invitations too soon or your guests may lose, misplace, or forget about the invitation!
*BONUS tip from Kelly of Just Save The Date: “Make sure that everyone that receives a Save The Date receives an actual invitation. Also, make sure that you don’t use “and family” on an invitation. Each person that is invited should have their name spelled out.”

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I know this is a lot to digest, but I also know that if all Brides knew these little tips right off the bat, it would make the wedding invitation process so much smoother and less stressful!
Have any of you encountered wedding invitation issues yet? If you have any questions, please comment below and we can answer for you!

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4 comments:

  1. The wedding team was very supportive. The wedding venues Los Angeles had everything a girl might need. I highly recommend getting ready in the bridal suite. They lit the fireplaces and the views from the suite were exceptional.

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