How to choose wedding invitations?

Wedding Invitation Ideas

Your wedding invitation serves as an introduction to your guests about the style of your wedding and reception. Often, it will represent your chosen colours as well as your aesthetic. To make a cohesive impression, your wedding invitations should be as coordinated as the rest of your big day. If you want to make sure you have chosen the perfect invitations for your wedding, consider the following tips when making your decision.

While it may not seem like the most important detail when you’re checking off a mile-long to-do list, figuring out how to choose your wedding invitations is super-important, as these paper products are the first hint guests will receive of your special day’s style. And your wedding invitations are designed to make your loved ones want to attend your wedding, and to give them all the info they’ll need to arrive on time and in style, so you want to get those invites right!

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Here are a few things to consider when it comes to how to choose your wedding invitations.

Consider the price point

As you’ll see on our examples below, the price of wedding invitations can vary wildly, from a few cents per invite to upwards of $50 per invite! So be sure to consider your budget when deciding which invitation to send. That also means you’ll need to have your guest list nailed down first, so you’ll know if you need 20 invites or 200.

Incorporate your wedding’s theme and colour scheme

If you’re keen on having a particular theme for your wedding day, one fun way to incorporate that is to select a wedding invitation that goes along with that theme. Below, we’ve included lots of fun examples to check out. Or maybe you want your invitation to herald the dominant colours you’ve selected. You’ll need to nail those down before purchasing your wedding invitations.

Figure out the inserts you’ll need

Most wedding invitation suites can be customized to include just about anything, like RSVP cards, direction cards, cards where guests can note special dietary needs, and more. When thinking about how to choose a wedding invitation, be sure you have an idea of which types of cards you’ll need to include in your paper suite.

Here, we’ve outlined several different wedding themes and provided an example of a wedding invitation to match. You’re sure to get some inspo here if you’re considering how to choose a wedding invitation. Note that pricing is listed per invitation. 

Wedding Invitation Ideas

Modern

Modern weddings are all the rage! So if you’ll be pulling together a chic, contemporary affair—think lots of black and white, maybe some touches of gold, understated but elegant floral arrangements—you’ll want to choose a modern wedding invitation that reflects your taste.

For a beautiful and minimalist-inspired look, we love these black and white invites. With simple wording and nothing but the facts, they’re the perfect complement to a wedding with a minimalist vibe. Clean, horizontal lines draw the reader’s eye to the information they need to know about your wedding day, without much distraction.

What to include in your wedding invitations

As much as beautiful design is a priority, there’s no getting away from the fact that your invitations are there to serve a purpose – to share essential info about your wedding with your guests. How much detail you add is up to you, but there are certain facts you must include to make sure your guests are fully informed and arrive on time.

Essential info to include: 

There’s a wedding, and you’re invited!

Whether you ‘request the pleasure of their company’ or simply tell guests you’re ‘tying the knot’, let your guests know you’re getting wed with invitation wording that suits the vibe of your invitation and your wedding that’s to follow. Traditional wedding ceremonies require more formal wording, whilst modern weddings can be introduced with a fun, casual tone.

Names of the happy couple

Of course, you’ll need to include the name of you and your husband or wife-to-be so that guests know whose wedding they’re attending. Traditionally, the bride’s name comes before the groom’s, but, nowadays or for same-sex weddings, names can also be arranged alphabetically or in whichever order looks or sounds best. 

The venue and location

The name of your wedding venue and an additional evening venue (if applicable) are a must. You don’t have to state the full address if you’d prefer to keep text minimal as possible, but you do need to share the name of the venue and the city/country it’s in so guests can look up its exact location.  

The date and time

Let guests know when your big day will take place and what time they should arrive. For destination weddings, be clear about how many days the celebrations will go on for if you’re inviting guests to attend more than one day. 

Reception info

If your evening do will be taking place at a different venue, state this on the invitation and let guests know whether there will be transportation provided or if they’ll be expected to make their way there. And if you’re inviting someone to the evening celebrations only, make sure this is clear on the invitation.

RSVP details

Don’t forget to include info on how to RSVP at the bottom of your invitation, or you can also do this on your info card. Give a 4-week cut off so you can update caterers or your venue with final numbers. 

Define Your Wedding Style

Along with listing the location and time of day, the invitation—and, more specifically, its style—hints to the formality of your wedding. You should have an idea of the type of event you’re throwing—classic and elegant, casual and relaxed, or glam and modern—before you start shopping for stationery, so you can choose an invitation style that hits the same note. Then browse stationers’ websites and other couples’ wedding invitations to gather inspiration so you can give your stationer an idea of what you like.

Know Your Colors

Think about your wedding colours too. You may want to incorporate your hues and a motif (if you have one) into your wedding invitations—and then carry them throughout the rest of your wedding paper (like the escort cards, menus and ceremony programs) for a cohesive look. While ivory, cream or white card stock paired with a black or gold font is the classic choice for formal wedding invitations, you can also brighten your invites with colourful or metallic fonts, paper stock, envelopes and liners. Just keep readability in mind when choosing your colours (more on that later).

Looking for someone to help decorate on your special day? Check out our list of Wedding Decorators in Melbourne

Play With the Shape and Size

A 4.5-inch-by-6.25-inch rectangular card is the traditional size and shapes for wedding invitations. But couples are channelling more playful or modern vibes with circular, scalloped and square invitations. Don’t forget to consider that veering away from the standard envelope size can increase the postage—bulky or extra-large invites may cost more to send.

Make Sure They’re Legible

As you consider colours and patterns, don’t forget about the text—the information you put on the invitation is the whole point of sending it out in the first place. Your stationery can help, but, in general, avoid light ink on light backgrounds and dark ink on dark backgrounds. Yellow and pastels are tough colours to read, so if you’re going with those, make sure the background contrasts enough for the words to pop, or work those colours into the design rather than the text. Also, be wary of hard-to-read fonts like an overly scripted typeface—you don’t want to sacrifice readability for pretty letters.

Choose Your Words Wisely

Learn the rules to wording your invitation. Traditionally, whoever is hosting is listed first on the invitation. Customarily, you should spell everything out, including the time of the ceremony. On classic wedding invitations, there’s always a request line after the host’s name—something like “so and so request the honour of your presence.” The wording can change as the hosting situation does, so make sure to double-check you’ve added everyone who should be included. 

Don’t Crowd the Card

List only the key points on your invitation: ceremony time and location, the hosts, your and your fiancé’s names, the dress code (optional) and RSVP information. Trying to squeeze too much onto the invitation card can make it harder to read, and it won’t look as elegant. Leave things like directions to your wedding venue and details about post-wedding activities for your wedding website and/or print them on separate enclosure cards. One piece of information that doesn’t belong anywhere on your suite: where you’re registered. The only acceptable place to list registry information is on your wedding website.

Start Early

Your save-the-dates should go out 8 to 10 months before the wedding. It can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks—or longer, depending on how fancy you go—to print them. While your save-the-dates don’t have to match your invites, ordering everything from one stationer can save you money and make the invitation process easier on you. So start scouting stationers 9 to 11 months before the wedding. Aim to order your invitations about four to five months out, so they’re ready to mail 8 to 10 weeks before the wedding. If you’re having a destination wedding or marrying over the holidays, send out your invites even earlier (12 weeks before the wedding).

Get Your Dates Straight

Include your RSVP information on the bottom right corner of your invitation or a separate enclosure, and make the deadline no more than three or four weeks after guests receive the invitations. Check with your caterer first to find out when they’ll need the final headcount. Remember, the more time you give guests to reply, the more likely they are to forget—but you’ll need time to put together the seating chart. Plus, your final count may affect the number of centrepieces and other décor elements, which your vendors will need to finalize a few weeks before the wedding.

Consider Costs

The price per invite can vary widely—anywhere from $1 to more than $100. It all depends on the design, ink, typeface, printing process, paper and quantity. Top-of-the-line papers, colour ink, formal printing techniques (like letterpress and engraving) and custom design will add to your costs, as will decorative extras like envelope liners and multiple enclosures. That’s why it’s important to research your options ahead of time, so you can pick your priorities, whether it’s sophisticated printing and a custom design or multiple enclosures. Also, if you’re planning to hire a calligrapher, look into the cost (think: $2 to $8 per envelope) at the same time you’re choosing your invitations, so you can account for it in your stationery budget.

To get more budget tips in your wedding, check out our post on How to plan a wedding on a budget? 

Have a Pro Address Your Envelopes

When you order your invitations, see if you can take the envelopes home immediately (or as soon as possible). That way, if you’re having someone other than your stationery (say, a calligrapher) print the return addresses on your envelopes (most stationers print the return addresses for little or no charge; it’s often even included in the suite’s price), they can get a head start. While you don’t have to hire a calligrapher to address your envelopes, we highly recommend it—it looks beautiful and makes an elegant first impression. Traditionally, addresses are handwritten, so unless you have impeccable handwriting, it’s best to leave the envelopes to a pro. If you plan to do them yourselves, tackle the project in a few sittings to avoid sloppiness or mistakes. While using printed labels is an easy (and affordable) option, handwriting each address is not only more formal, it’s also more personal. It shows your guests you want them to be at your wedding so much that you took the time to handwrite (or have a calligrapher hand-letter) their name and address on the envelope. But if your penmanship is more like chicken scratch and you don’t have the budget for a calligrapher, you can print the addresses from your computer using digital calligraphy software.

Triple-Check the Proof

Before your invitation order is printed, your stationer will send you a proof (either a hard copy or an email attachment of the invite mock-up). Don’t just have your partner and mom read it over. Ask your English major friend or a grammar-savvy bridesmaid to check the proof before you okay it. You’d be surprised at the things you may miss (pay special attention to details like date and time and spelling). Borrow a tip from copy editors and read the proof word for word from right to left, so you don’t accidentally gloss over any mistakes.

Count Your Households

You don’t need an invitation to every guest. Take a look at your guest list and figure out how many houses need invitations before you give your stationer a number—you might be able to cut your order in half. Cohabiting couples get one invitation; for couples living apart, you can either send one invite to the guest you’re closer with (and include both names on the inner and outer envelopes), or you can send out separate invitations. Families get one invitation (addressed to “The Smith Family,” for example). The exceptions: Children who don’t live at home (like college students) or anyone over 18 who lives at home should get their invitation.

Order Extra

It’s expensive to go back and print more invitations after the fact. Order enough invitations for your guest list, plus 25 extra in case you need to resend an invitation, want to put some aside as keepsakes (trust us, your moms will want at least a few) or plan on sending invitations to a B-list. Tip: If you have a lengthy B-list, consider ordering a second set of invitations with a later RSVP date. And even if you’re hiring a calligrapher to address your invitations, ask for extra envelopes in case of returned invites or addressing mistakes (calligraphers generally require an extra 15 to 20 per cent).

Don’t Forget the Rest of Your Suite

Order your menus, programs and thank-you notes with your invitations. That way, your stationery can include all of the pieces in one order, which may save you money and time. It’s also a good way to ensure all your stationery has a cohesive look, even if you want to vary the design slightly for each element (by switching the dominant colour or alternating between two patterns, for example). Also, don’t forget those little items like favour tags and welcome bag notes.

Remember Your Thank-Yous

Track RSVPs as they come in using a guest list manager tool or spreadsheet. Include a column where you can note what each guest gives you. Then, as the wedding gifts start rolling in, begin writing your thank-you notes, so you don’t fall behind. For any presents received before the wedding, you should send a thank-you note within two weeks. For those given on or after the wedding day, give yourself a month.

Put a Stamp on It

It may seem obvious, but it’s easy to forget: If you want guests to mail back their reply cards, include stamped (and addressed) envelopes. That way they don’t have to pay for the postage. Traditionally, the return envelopes should be addressed to whoever is hosting the wedding; however, if your parents are technically hosting, but you’re keeping track of the guest list, you can use your address instead. And you can find customizable stamps to coordinate with your design at The Knot Shop. Tip: Rates do change from time to time, so check before you add those stamps to make sure you have adequate postage.

Do a Weigh-In

While you probably can’t wait to drop those wedding invitations in the mail and check another thing off your to-do list, weighing a sample invitation (enclosures and all) at the post office first could save you many more to-dos later. Trust us, and you don’t want to deal with the hassle of invitations being returned because of insufficient postage. And while you’re at the post office, ask about hand-cancelling your invites. This involves a stamp that says your mail is processed (instead of running your invites through the processing machine like regular mail, which could bend or even ruin them). While hand-cancelling is free, check with your local post office first to make sure that it has the handstamp. And keep in mind that while most post offices try to keep hand-cancelled mail separate from regular mail, there’s no guarantee your invitations won’t go through the processing machines. To ensure they don’t, you can pay a non-machinable fee to have them hand-processed—it will guarantee your mail will be sorted by hand.

Do You Put Registry On Wedding Invitations?

Generally, it’s considered poor form to include your wedding registry on your invitations. You can, however, include a link to your wedding website on an informational enclosure card. Most couples choose to host their registries on their wedding website, and many website hosts offer an easy registry integration.

When it comes to wedding invitations, there’s a lot of options. But you must choose what’s right for you and that also fits your budget. We hope you find this guide helpful in your wedding journey.

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