Wedding Invitations 101

A rustic wedding invite with the phrase "you're invited" and a picture of deer.

The wedding invitation is often the first time your guests will hear about the specifics of your wedding and it sets the tone for the kind of celebration you’ll be having. A wedding invitation is a first impression—a sloppy invite with typos, a cheap-looking font, or signs of a rushed job will indicate that the wedding might have that same sense of disorder to it. With this in mind, it’s important to ensure that your wedding invitations make the right impression and that they’re appropriate for the type of wedding you’re having. Here are a few tips to send you off on the right path.

Gather Inspiration for Your Wedding Invites

We recommend couples dive deep into the internet as a first step. Look at a bunch of different invitations and save the ones you like. You can always borrow separate elements from each of them to create your own, like the hand-drawn map of the woods the guests will walk through to reach the ceremony space, or pictures of the couple as kids. This invitation is your oyster, so get creative! Make a list of what you want in your invitation (besides information). Think about color schemes, fonts, glitter, and illustrations. You can always weed out the unrealistic stuff later.

Go Paperless With an Electronic Invitation

An open laptop with white flowers sitting on the keyboard.

If you’re inviting people from all over the country or world to your wedding, you may want to consider an electronic wedding invitation, also known as an evite, to save on postage and keep things more streamlined. Done right, these can have a hip and modern feel to them. Our advice? Don’t use a free service. Pay for a high-quality business to get the job done right. You can pack a lot of information into this type of invitation, linking smoothly to maps, hotel reservations, gift registries, and a photo album of you and your fiancé—which are all things your guests will want to access, anyway. Other benefits of electronic wedding invitations are that you don’t have to track down home addresses and you’ll save lots of trees! Keep in mind, however, that some of the old-fashioned family members and friends on your list may not be great with email and will appreciate an actual card, instead. You can always order a small batch of physical invitations to accommodate these people while sending an evite to the rest of your list.

Order More Than Needed

A stack of wedding invitations.

Keep in mind that a list of 100 guests doesn’t mean you’ll need 100 invitations. Organize your guest list into households so that a couple or family of five that lives together only receives one invitation. (This is standard practice, as long as the envelope is addressed to everyone for which it’s intended.) And always—and we mean always—order 30 or so extra invites. These will come in handy in case some get lost in the mail, someone asks you to resend theirs to a different address, or some get dropped onto the floor and stepped on, etc. Printing additional invitations after the initial batch has been made will add up in cost and time.

Invitation Timing and Etiquette

Generally, people send out wedding invites four months before the wedding date, but some recommend doing it sooner. This will be especially important if you have a lot of guests who live overseas or who have crazy work schedules.

It’s bad form to refer to the reciprocity of this event on the invitation; generally, couples leave the gift registry link or other gift information off of the invitation. You can put this information on your website or leave it up to the bridal party to spread it via word of mouth.

DIYing Invitations? Consider These Factors

A stack of handmade wedding invitations with fake flowers and doilies.

If you’re creative and/or artsy and want to invest the time to make your wedding invitations by hand, our advice is to start early. It’s much more fun to take your time with this kind of project rather than rushing it because of a time constraint. Put on your favorite music, get a mug of iced coffee or a glass of wine, and start painting those 80 individual watercolors! Bonus tip: try to have both partners involved, even if the other person only does something less artistic like apply the stamps. Another thing to consider: it’s often best to do a test invitation before committing to buying all the supplies. Make sure the design and the materials work for you, and that each invitation won’t be too time-consuming.

Last But not Least: Proofread the Wedding Invitation

The biggest blunder people make is forgetting relevant information, like the exact address of the event. Another mistake is feeling like you have to pack every detail about the event onto the invitation. Keep it simple, clean, and free of errors. Have friends or family proofread the invite before you make the order.

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