Your Wedding Invitations Guide

Now that you are engaged, congratulations! As you begin organizing details, take some time to find a style of wedding invitation that is right for you.  Here is a guide to helping you begin the selection process as well as understanding how to properly address and insert the correct wording.

Style

First, determine whether you plan to have a casual or formal event and keep your setting in mind.  Will your wedding take place indoors or outdoors, in the evening or early afternoon? Are you planning a destination wedding, or something at your local church? Each of these factors can play a part when deciding which invitation to choose. A formal wedding invitation is better suited for an indoor wedding in the evening hours where a sit-down dinner will be served.  A casual invitation is better suited for an early afternoon wedding on the beach. It is essential that the formality and style of your selection corresponds with your atmosphere.

Colors

Have you already selected the colors of your bridesmaid’s dresses and floral arrangements? If you have a shade in mind, wedding invitations are a perfect avenue for introducing your color theme.

Addressing

Before you order your wedding invitations, pre-plan who will be included on your guest list.  Always order additional invitations in the event you need to extend a last-minute invite. Address your envelopes to clearly reflect who you plan to include.  If you are hoping for a family along with their children, address your envelopes to the “Family of….” If you only intend to invite the couple, address the invitation to “Mr. and Mrs.…” For the singleton who is engaged, be sure to include their fiancé. In this instance, or in the instance of a single person who you want to bring a guest, write “Mr. or Ms.….and Guest” While most single adults are allowed to bring a date to weddings, if you are keeping your numbers low and only want to invite him or her, be sure you only address the invitation to the name of the person you plan to include. Here are more tips on how to keep your guest list small.   Here is a guide to knowing when you should allow a “plus-one.” Make sure you include response cards and envelopes with postage to keep your RSVP list in order.

Wording

This part should take most of your attention and time. It is essential to include the name of the bride and groom, the exact wedding location and time, parent’s name if they are taking part in wedding payment and planning, and any other pertinent information your guests will need to know. Avoid adding registry information or logistics. If you want to include anything additional such as these items, add them to a card or small note within the envelope. Feel free to add a poem, or something unique to make your invitation special, but remember to keep it simple with few words. Too much information in a small space can be overwhelming. Here are some invitation mistakes to avoid. If you are planning a reception following your ceremony include a note stating “Reception to follow” so all guest can plan ahead. Optional elements to include in your envelope are, reception details, directions, registry information, and anything else.  Wedding website details can be added to your invitation or as an optional add-in.

Thank You Card Etiquette

Presents are one of the greatest of all wedding perks, but sitting down to write thank you notes is not so exciting.  Even for the less enthused, it is essential to show your appreciation after receiving a wedding gift.  Here is what you need to know about thank you card etiquette.

Organize a list

Create a list of items you receive in conjunction with the person who sent it.  Gifts usually include a note indicating who they are from.  Keep these notes attached until your list is complete.  If the item is from a couple or family, be sure to include individual names in your card to show gratitude to everyone involved.

Consider merging your bridal shower, wedding party, and guest lists into one database to make the process more efficient. With this master list, you can note the item beside the person’s name and add a check mark when you have completed their thank you card.

Timing

Thank you cards should be sent within three months of receiving a gift.  You have been busy planning, and now you are itching to get to your honeymoon destination.  We understand.  But, when you return, just dive in.  Your guests will be happy to receive your card within a reasonable time.  Plus, it strikes another item off your post wedding to-do list.  The longer you wait, the more daunting this task may seem.

What to say

Finally, the most important piece is knowing what to say.  When writing a thank you note, be personal.  Specifically list the item you received followed by how it will benefit you. For example, “I am grateful for the beautiful photo frame.  It will look perfect on our coffee table with our favorite wedding snapshot.” Follow this statement with another reason why you are grateful. “We really love your style, so this photo frame will bring a nice touch to our living room decor.”  End by using a closing statement with meaning. “We look forward to seeing you soon” or “please keep in touch” along with a personal signature suited for the individual.  If you are thanking your parents, sign with “Love, ….” For colleagues, close formally with, “Truly, …”

The most essential element of a thank you card is expressing your gratitude for the recipient’s generosity. A handwritten, personal note goes much further than a generic statement of gratitude.