I have been meaning to blog about general things to remember and most common mistakes when going through the invitation process since opening my business and either forgot about it or just didnt have the time. So, I have FINALLY had a moment or two to put this together for all of you and I hope that you find this information helpful. Its certainly not everything, but it at least outlines some basic things that I hope will help you along.
General Invitation Information
- Start the process early. I usually tell my bride’s to start the invitation research process as early as possible, but at the very least 6 months in advance. If you are planning to send save the dates then the process should start as soon as you get engaged. It is good to order or see samples whenever you can (never order anything online without seeing a sample first), make appointments with different shops and designers, and educate yourself with what you can get for different price ranges as it specifically relates to paper quality and printing method. Your specialty printing, like foiling, letterpress and engraving are going to be a lot more expensive than your digital and/or offset printing but the quality is vastly different as well.
- General Timelines. Save the dates are traditionally sent out 6 months to 1 year in advance, wedding invitations are to be sent out 6-8 weeks in advance (8-12 weeks if save the dates were not mailed or if your wedding is out-of-town), and rehearsal dinner invitations are to be mailed 2-3 weeks after the wedding invitations. As for the date to use as the “reply by” date, standard etiquette says 3 weeks before the wedding. However, I usually tell my bride’s to ask their guests to respond at least 4 weeks before their wedding so that you will have time to make the phone calls to your guests that didn’t respond in time, and have time to pull together the orders for your wedding day materials (programs, table numbers, escort cards, signs, wedding favors, etc.).
- Defining the “invitation set.” Make sure that you have the company or person you are speaking or meeting with define what an invitation set is to them (the number of pieces, the size of the pieces, and the type of printing method used). Many vendors may tell you the invitations are $3 per set but that may only include the invitation and outer envelopes all digitally printed on very inexpensive stock, which may be very different than what you are looking for. This way, if you are trying to work within a specific budget you can better compare apples to apples and not waste your time at invitation consultations or appointments.
- READ REVIEWS! You will learn a lot about a vendor by reading past customer reviews. Now, you cannot take every one for the 100% truth but if you see a consistent issue with the vendor based on the reviews (like lack of responsiveness or poor work product) then you may want to entertain looking into someone else.
Most common mistakes I see bride’s make:
– Make sure to spell out the date on the wedding invitation. For example, use “Saturday, the third day of June” instead of “Saturday, June 3rd.” Additionally, the year is to be spelled “Two thousand twelve” and not “Two Thousand Twelve” or “Two thousand and twelve.” Only the first word is capitalized and the word “and” should be left out. Many of my bride’s still like to include the “and” just because of how it reads, but proper grammar is to leave it out.
– Do not use the zip code on the main invitation ceremony address. You can list the name of the location, the street address, the city, and state but not the zip code.
– Do not use any abbreviations anywhere on the invitation. This is the most common mistake that I see. Make sure to spell out “Street”, “Avenue”, “Drive”, and state names.
– Do NOT print wedding registry information anywhere on the invitation. The registry information is to be communicated on shower invitations, by word of mouth, or on your wedding website. Your wedding is not an invitation for people to bring you gifts. If you simply google “Wedding Registry Info on Wedding Invitations” you will read that I am not alone in this theory. For those brides of mine that still want to include it, I always tell them that you can always simply include your wedding website address on an extra insert with the wedding invitation as a delicate way to direct people to your registry.
– Do not use abbreviations anywhere on the envelope (just like mentioned above) except for the salutations (Dr., Ms., Mrs. and Mr.).
– Metallic envelopes are tricky to hand write and print on. Specifically for metallic envelopes be aware that permanent markers and digital printing are known as the two best forms of printing. An inkjet printer will not work on metallic envelopes. However, always make sure (no matter what kind of envelope your bride chooses) to test the pen you choose to write with.
– Test the return/response address. Sometimes bride’s will choose very ornate or scripty fonts to use on their envelopes, whether that is printing them or calligraphy. So, I recommend sending a test response out to make sure the envelope gets where it is supposed to. The last thing you want is for your response cards to have an issue getting back to you or your bride.
Here are two of the most common mistakes I see in addressing. There is a whole list of specific ways you are to formally address your invitations, but I have only listed the top two most common ones that I see my bride’s miss. If you have an inner and outer double envelope there are different rules to follow. Email me if you need assistance with this.
Scenario 1: An unmarried couple. You will list an unmarried couple as separate lines on the envelope. The word “and” or “&” used in between two names on the same line signifies that they are married. For example:
Ms. Christine Jenny
Mr. Larry Eberle
Scenario 2: A married couple and the woman has chosen to keep her maiden name or hyphenate her last name. You will list the woman’s name first and use “Ms.” instead of “Mrs.” The “and” in between their names signifies they are married.
Ms. Christine Jenny and Mr. Larry Eberle
Ms. Christine Jenny-Eberle and Mr. Larry Eberle
I hope that this information helps you as you enter the realm of invitations and wedding stationery. If you have any questions on invitation etiquette, please don’t hesitate to call or email me.
Christine@www.eberleinvitations.com or (678) 773-4747