So, you have chosen the first day of your life together. What about your family and friends – the people you cannot imagine getting married without? The invitations give your guests a first taste of your wedding. They get everyone excited. They convey the magic of the day, and invite your guests to share in this magic.
Wedding invitations are a bit complicated, so don’t put off thinking about this. You should send out the invitations 6 to 8 weeks before the wedding, in order to receive RSVP’s and finalize your guest count on time. Count backwards and allow sufficient time for a unique design, consideration of samples, crafting of the text, receipt of proof and correcting any typos and mistakes, printing and shipment of the actual invitations, assembly and addressing of the envelopes.
Style of your wedding invitation.
Take some time to research different styles of wedding invitations. Here are some of the most popular styles:
- floral style (look for flowers to match the season of your wedding);
- romantic style (virgin white colour, hearts, textured lace, ribbons and bows);
- rustic style (imitation wood, nature);
- pictures of the happy couple;
- fun invitations (unique shapes, patterns and wording);
- ethnic colours, motifs and patterns.
Invitations don’t have to be a simple square or rectangle. Invitations can be folded in half, into a ‘gatefold’ (two side panels opening up like a gate to the main page), or into a ‘trifold’. Folded invitations tend to look more substantial and lend themselves easier to being displayed.
If you are researching online or in a catalogue, always, always request samples of the invitations you like. You will want to check the quality of the paper, the print, and the colours.
You can use a variety of types of paper: cotton, vellum, linen, wood fiber, parchment, rice paper, recycled, metallic foil or industrial paper (such as corrugated cardboard or newsprint). Different types of paper can have a matte, smooth, shimmery, or textured look. Handmade paper has a special soft texture. If your invitation’s design prominently features a photograph, will high-quality photographic paper be used?
While you are selecting paper, always remember: as a keepsake, the invitation will be lovingly preserved, proudly displayed, and handled frequently. The paper should match that kind of attention with durability, with a heavy and substantial feel, and with an ability to stand on its rim. The ‘heaviness’ of paper is measured, quite literally, in pounds per number of sheets of fixed size – but, for our purposes, just get a feel for a card that you like.
Printing techniques can go a long way to create a luxurious, timeless feel. Some printing techniques resemble, or at least mimic, the oldest forms of printing! No wonder they take time, and a chunk of your wedding budget. While looking at your options, remember that not every type of print will work on every type of paper. For example, fancy embossed print can only be done on heavy paper.
The simplest types of print are digital and offset. They don’t have the embossed appearance, but they do allow you to work with different colours and can accommodate tighter schedules and tighter budgets. If you prefer the embossed appearance, the most affordable and popular print technique is thermography, in which powder is heated up to form raised lettering. Thermography allows use of non-black ink colours. The more traditional printing techniques include engraving, letterpress, and embossing, which involve preparing metal or synthetic plates and pressing them against the paper.
Typeface and calligraphy.
Different typefaces (ie, print fonts) convey the theme of your wedding (traditional, retro, or modern), and different levels of formality. Calligraphy is available for those who are looking for this very personal touch. If you have a nice handwriting and would like to do calligraphy yourself, you may wish to invest in a calligraphy pen.
First things first. There are some key information that you don’t want to forget to include:
- Customarily, if the parents pay for the wedding, their names are listed first;
- names of the couple;
- date, time, and place of the ceremony;
- date, time, and place of the reception and/or dinner (if different). Remember that some guests may not be able to attend all events of the day. Clear instructions should guide them as to where they should appear at what time. And always schedule enough time for travel between different venues.
Once you have the basics figured out, get creative with the wording. Here are some of our favourites:
- The pleasure of your company is requested at the wedding of …
- Our joy will be more complete if you can join us…
- Your love and friendship has helped us become who we are. We invite you to share our joy and support our love, as we exchange vows and celebrate our marriage…
- Because we can’t picture getting married without you here…
- [Parents] invite you to share in the joy of the marriage uniting their children…
Other than the main invitation card, you may wish to include one or more of the following:
- separate reception card (if you wish to have a more intimate ceremony or dinner, and invite some guests to the reception / cocktails only);
- response card, together with a self-addressed response envelope, postage paid. Remember to include the guest’s name on the response card, so you know who accepted the invitation!
- direction / map card;
- any additional information, such as accommodations, program for the day, or any other information guests may need to have in advance (for example, whether children are invited as well);
- photograph of the happy couple.