Invitations 101

The Essential Elements to a Complete Invite

Your invitation is the first sign of your wedding style: use printed goods to set the tone and excite your guests for what’s to come.
M. Middleton

Start creating your invitations by dreaming big. Conjure up the overall picture of the wedding in your mind’s eye, then fill in the small details.

After the flurry of breathless phone calls--telling friends and family, "We're engaged!"--the first bit of real information most of your guests will receive about your wedding is the save the date or invitation. This little piece of paper has a big job to do: it needs to set the tone, look and feeling of your event to reflect the style you're planning.

Do you want your guests to open an oversized envelope made from the most luscious cardstock, hand-lettered in meticulous calligraphy with the details of a formal wedding and black-tie reception? Or, do you want to provide the facts in an understated fashion--the when, where, dress code and RSVP date--for next summer's ceremony?

The tone and style of your invitations should reflect the tone and style of your wedding, whether it's a formal black-tie evening or an elegant afternoon tea. An invitation with flower petals blended into the actual paper stock or a flower pressed inside would be charming for a garden wedding.

Identify the defining visuals of your wedding, and then let those images drive the design of the save-the-date, invitation, RSVP cards, menu, host cards, ceremony programs, place cards and thank you notes. The paper used, colors of the ink, style of the lettering and even the stamp that seals the envelope can also be creatively directed.

Do you want your guests to open an oversized envelope made from the most luscious cardstock, hand-lettered in meticulous calligraphy with the details of a formal wedding and black-tie reception? Identify the defining visuals of your wedding, and then let those images drive the design.

Think through what information needs to be provided to guests in addition to the basic invitation, response card and envelope. Many invitations now include practical information such as driving directions to the ceremony and reception, parking instructions and other necessary details. 

If you're planning a weekend-long celebration, the invitation is a convenient place to extend an invitation to a farewell brunch the morning after the wedding, rehearsal dinner the night before, or whatever other events you wish for your guests to attend.

By planning ahead and working with a good stationer or designer, all the elements can be designed to work together as an attractive package, rather than a miscellaneous collection of cards and envelopes.

Once you've determined the grand scheme, it's crucial to remember the purpose of the invitation is, after all, to convey information--and to give it to your guests in time for them to make the necessary plans.

 
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