1. Define Your Wedding Style
Casual? Formal? Rustic? Elegant? There are a lot of choices for wedding invitations and not knowing your wedding style will make narrowing down your choices very overwhelming. Whatever the style of your wedding your invitations should match. Your invitations are the first thing your guests see – a sneak peek into what to expect at your wedding!
2. Know Your Colors
Traditionally, wedding invitations were always printed on ivory paper with black text. Today, the sky is really the limit in terms of paper and color options. If you’ve got a specific color in mind for your Big Day you may want that to be reflected in your wedding invitations. Again, this will give your guests a little taste of what’s to come!
3. Start Early
You should really start looking for invitations and designers about 6 months prior to your wedding – give yourself more time if your theme is going to be included on your Save the Dates. Invitations are typically mailed 6-8 weeks prior to the wedding (10-12 if it’s a destination wedding, or if your wedding date falls on a holiday weekend). You want to give yourself enough time to explore all of your options so you can choose the invitation that’s right for you. This is NOT the place to be making a last minute decision.
4. Get Your Dates Straight
In addition to your wedding date, you’ll also need to check in with your venue to determine when they’ll need a final head count. I recommend choosing an RSVP date of 4 weeks prior to the wedding to ensure you have plenty of time to follow up with late responders.
If you’ve negotiated a reduced rate at a local hotel you may also want to let guests know when that rate is available until.
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5. Know Your Numbers
How many invitations do you really need? You’re total guests is likely NOT the number of invitations you’ll need. Married couples, for example, only require 1 invitation. So make sure you know how many invitations you’ll need to avoid over- or under- ordering. Make sure to order a few extra invitations just in case –re-prints can be very costly!
6. Nail Down the Details
The who, what, where, when, why! Who’s hosting? What time is the wedding? Where is the wedding taking place? You’ll need to have all of that information handy when you start your search.
7. How Will You Address Your Envelopes
Will you be hiring a calligrapher? Hand-addressing them yourself? Having a designer print them? If you’re hiring a calligrapher or having a designer print your envelopes, make sure you ask them if they’ll need extra envelopes (calligraphers often require extra envelopes) and what format they’d like your addresses in. If you don’t know a calligrapher, your designer should be able to refer you to one. If you’ll be hand-addressing make sure to order plenty of extra envelopes and give yourself plenty of time.
If you’re not sure how to properly address your envelopes, sign up for my mailing list and you’ll receive a free copy of my e-book, “Dear LC’s Guide to Addressing Wedding Invitations”!
8. Determine Which Pieces You’ll Need
Most invitation suites require more than just the invitation. If you need to know how many guests will be attending then you’ll need to include a response card. Do you need to let your guest’s know how to get there or if you’ve reserved a hotel block? Then additional enclosures may be required. Do you want to include envelope liners or a pocket? All of those pieces will impact the final cost of your suite.
9. Consider the future
Will you be carrying your invitation design over to your reception items (table numbers, escort cards, programs, etc.) If so, make sure the designer is able to accommodate your needs.
10. Know Your Budget
If you’ve determined a budget for your wedding stationery, be sure to let your designer know. They will often work with you to ensure that you get the maximum impact for your budget. In addition to the invitation you may also want to include escort cards, table numbers, programs and/or other stationery for your reception. Don’t forget to include that when you’re determining your budget. Also, don’t forget to include postage estimates in your budget!