As many brides are in the process of ordering invitations for their spring and summer weddings, I thought it would be a good time to address some important considerations for ordering and mailing these special stationery items.

Invitations Dos:

~ Order extras!  Order at least 25 additional envelopes, or 10% of your total number of invites, to allow for addressing mistakes.  It is MUCH cheaper to order extras now, versus placing an order later, when the pricing will be as if you were placing an new order.  Also, remember to account for extra invitations for names that get added later (it always happens!), as well as several for the scrapbooks.

~ Always request a proof!  The cost is minimal compared to the time, money and stress of having to have them re-printed.  Double-check all spelling.  Have your parents, maid of honor and wedding planner check your proofs as well.  It is surprising what can sometimes slip past a couple of people.  The more eyes to proof, the better!   Be sure to also check spelling of names and addresses on your guest list as well.

~ Use the phrase “request the honor of your presence” for a ceremony in a house of worship; use the phrase “request the pleasure of your company” for a ceremony in a secular venue, such as a home or hotel.  Be consistent in your spelling — if you choose to use the more formal “honour”, then also use “favour”.

~ Do spell out numbers in the date and year — “the seventh of March, two thousand eleven” as well as in times — “half after five o’clock in the afternoon, eleven o’clock in the morning”.

~ Think about where you want your response cards sent.  Who will be tracking the responses?  Bride or her parents?  This is often the address guests will use when mailing cards and gifts, so keep that in mind, as well.

~ Allow plenty of time!  Plan on mailing your invitations 6-8 weeks prior to the wedding.  (Eight if no save-the-date sent, six is fine if they have sent the save-the-date information.)  Also, allow extra time if mailing out of the country.  Remember to allow time for addressing, ordering, proofing.  To back out of the timeline….mail 8 weeks, add a month for addressing, add a month for delivery once ordered, allow a couple of weeks for the proofing process…so, plan on choosing your invitation a good five months before the wedding.  This will ensure you have plenty of time and no stress!

~ Check postage!  Take a completely assembled invitation to the post office and have it weighed, before you buy the stamps.  You don’t want them returned due to incorrect postage.  Weight of the invitation and enclosures obviously affect the cost, but also size of the envelope and whether it is flexible or rigid.  I have had very stiff invitations (due to the paper choice) that cost more, as they can’t be put through the same mailing process as regular flexible mail.  And finally…ask the post office if they will hand-cancel your invitations.  Some will for free, some will charge, and some won’t — it really just depends on the post office branch (and sometimes just who you talk to!).  This will help prevent torn and dirtied envelopes, as a person will individually hand-cancel each envelope.  Soooooo worth it after you have put so much time and money on these items…which will set the tone for your wedding!

Invitation Don’ts:

~ Never include your registry or gift information.  Let your parents and wedding party spread the word about where you are registered.  You can even put it on your wedding website and include with shower invitations, but do not put on (or in) the wedding invitation.

~ Do not put “No Children” or “Adult Reception” on the invitation.  This is by far the question I get the most!  I know it is a challenge, but please don’t do it.  🙂  Again, spread the word via family and friends if you are very concerned about guests showing up with their uninvited kiddos.  The way an invitation is addressed dictates exactly who is (and who is NOT) invited to the wedding.  If you are a guest, please pay attention to this, as well!!  If the invitation is addressed to “Mr. and Mrs. Dustin Tripp”, then only the parents are invited.  IF you children are included, then their names will be listed too!  As in:  “Mr. and Mrs. Tripp”, then on next line “Miss Sally Tripp”.

~ Do not dicate dress.  According to Peggy and Emily Post, “It is incorrect to put “black tie” or “white tie” on the invitation to the ceremony.  If it seems essential to include this direction, it can be added only to the invitation to the reception and is placed in the lower-right-hand corner.  Avoid writing “black tie invited” or “black tie preferred”.

~ Do not use labels!  You may hand address the envelopes yourself, hire a calligrapher, or even use computer calligraphy (which is becoming more common and offered by many invitation companies in a font to match your invitation).

There are certainly more “Dos and Don’ts” than I have listed here, but these seem to be the areas where I get the most questions.  When in doubt, ask a professional — the invitation company, your wedding planner, Emily Post’s Wedding Etiquette, and Crane’s Wedding Blue Book.  🙂

 

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