Wednesday, February 23, 2011

5 Things Every Bride Should Know About Her Invitations

5.) Invitations Set the Tone for Your Wedding. By the time your invitations actually go out, you have been probably been planning your wedding for MONTHS, possibly over a year! However, even if you are intimately familiar with every single detail of your big day, chances are this will be your guests' introduction to what your wedding is all about. You want to make sure this "first impression" is the one you want! If you are having a casual, beach themed wedding, but your invitations have a formal, black tie look, your guests may show up completely overdressed. Or vice versa.

4.) Let Your Invitations Drop The Hint. Are you planning an adults-only reception, but you aren't quite sure how to let your family members with small children know they should probably get a babysitter? Or have you decided that perhaps you're not completely in love with the idea of all your single friends bringing strangers as dates to your sit down dinner? There are elements you can incorporate into your invitations that communicate these sentiments without having to make the awkward phone call to say, "No, little Sally and Johnny are not invited!" Wording like "Adult Reception" on your reception card, and addressing the envelopes to "Aunt Mary and Uncle John" or "Joe Smith" instead of "Smith Family" or "Joe and Guest" lets your guests know they should only be RSVPing for themselves. 

Photo by Nickel City Studios
Bonus Tip: Don't forget, the number of invitations you need (or sometimes programs if you don't have enough, like this bride did here!) is probably about half of your entire guest list, when you take into account couples and families.

3.) It's Never "Too Early" To Start Planning! Engagements seem to be getting longer and longer, not always out of desire but out of necessity. With so many brides booking reception venues, photographers and caterers up to 2 years in advance, many couples may find themselves with limited options if they wait too long to plan. This includes your invitations. Does this mean a long, several year engagement is for everyone? Definitely not! But we do recommend you start making phone calls as soon as you feel ready to plan – don't let friends or family pressure you into thinking you're starting "too soon." Some online printing companies have a quick turnaround of a week or two, while other private agencies (especially letterpress) require longer production times of 2 or 3 months. Plus, some companies will limit how many invitation orders they take at one time, so if your special day is in a peak wedding season waiting until the last minute could mean compromising on what you want or paying rush charges.

2.) All Postage Is Not Created Equal. Unfortunately. Everything about your invitation will affect exactly how much postage you will have to put on each beautiful, carefully crafted little package. The number of inserts, the thickness of the paper, even the shape of the envelope will dictate your stamping. A carefully weighed, post-office-approved shape and size can pretty much guarantee you a hassle-free trip to the post office, with each envelope adorned with a delightful "LOVE" or heart stamp, intended for such an occasion. But a poorly planned shipping method can result in your beautiful invitations having one beautiful heart or sunset stamp, and one sheep's head. OR – our worst nightmare – every single one of your invites returned to you with a big INSUFFICIENT POSTAGE stamp across the front. Measure twice, mail once...

1.) All Invitations Eventually End Up In The Garbage. Or the recycling bin, we hope. Megan hates when I say this, but it's true. Except for your mom, or your grandmother, or your sentimental best friend, almost every one of your guests is going to toss out that beautiful, hand-crafted, painstakingly planned invitation. And the food will be eaten. And the cake will be eaten. And the flowers will eventually wilt. Our point being - ENJOY THIS PROCESS! This is probably the biggest party you've ever thrown in your life, and will possibly be the one time in your life everyone you care about will all be together in the same room. Don't make yourself crazy over the spacing in the font on the reception card, or that the red in your flowers doesn't exactly match the shade of your bridesmaids' dresses. Yes, plan the details, it's the details that everyone notices, for sure. Enjoy the details, plan to your hearts content, but at the end of the day, BE content. 

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