Your wedding invitation is where it all begins.
Just think about it:
It’s the first thing your guests will see and receive related to your wedding. It gives them an idea of what to expect. And it sets the overall tone and feel of your event.
With its multitude of design possibilities, your invitations can (and should!) be deeply personal - making your guests say, “That’s so them!” as they open their envelope.
But if you're like most engaged couples, you may be wondering, what exactly goes into an invitation suite?
What about the wording? Are there etiquettes or protocols to follow? How far in advance should we make them? And when do they need to be sent out?
Wonder and worry no more! Because we’re answering all of your questions in this blog post.
WHAT'S INCLUDED IN AN INVITATION SUITE?
Contrary to tradition, what makes up a wedding invitation suite is entirely up to you. There is no pre-set package.
At Lucky Onion, we only recommend and create what’s needed for each of our couples. Sometimes, that only includes the invite with an RSVP card. In other cases, it’s an invite for each event throughout the weekend, an RSVP card, and an information card.
Here’s a breakdown of what an invitation suite can include:
INFORMATION YOU SHOULD INCLUDE IN INVITATIONS
Speaking of invites - some couples believe you can skimp on information or save a few bucks if you have a website. But we highly encourage against that because, frankly, it doesn't do anyone any good. Skimping on information on your invitation suite will lead to:
A) Guests not knowing what to look for on your site
B) Not everyone referring back to your site, and you shouldn't expect them to
C) More people reaching out to you directly if they cannot find the information they need easily. This only increases in volume as you get closer to the wedding. You love your people, but trust me, this is not a time you want to be fielding these questions.
D) Frustrated guests and, hence, added stress on your shoulders, which inevitably filters to you because YOU are their main point of contact.
Websites have their place, but they shouldn't replace the necessary information to be included in your invites. (As a reminder, essential information should consist of events, times, locations, and dress code of all the things that particular guest is invited to.)
Pro tip: If you want people to arrive on time to your ceremony, in your enclosure card tell them the to arrive by a particular earlier time in order to be able to attend the ceremony on time. Make sure your invitation has the correct start time. Do not trick them into coming earlier, by listing the incorrect start time on your invite. Rather, be up-front and honest about the times for the events, and alert them on the recommended earlier times of arrival in your enclosure cards. This will make those late-comers on-timers, which helps keep guests focused on the action (i.e., you getting married.)
INFORMATION YOU SHOULD NOT INCLUDE IN INVITATIONS
For those that are worried about proper etiquette, this is for you.
Do NOT include where you’re registered, as it's generally in poor taste to assume you are getting gifts (even though everyone under the sun knows you are). Instead, refer guests to your wedding website for more information or just pass the info along by word of mouth.
Also, do NOT state, "No children invited." We know, we know. For an adults only celebration, they can be a lot to deal with, and you don’t want them causing a scene during your ceremony or running around like maniacs at your reception.
So, what should you do instead? You can allude to a child-free wedding by addressing the envelopes a certain way (see below) or including info such as, "Child care services provided."
At the end of the day, these guidelines are just that - guidelines. It's your wedding, your invitation. We’ll recommend what we think is proper, but ultimately, the final decision is yours!
Do not fret, we are here to help craft the wording for you, so you do not have to go at it alone! You will have someone to guide you every step of the way, and still be able to have your voice in it too.
Know that whoever is listed on the envelope is who you're inviting to the wedding.
In the case of children, if their names are on the envelope, they're invited. If you are not allowing children, do NOT list their names anywhere on the envelope.
Another thing to know is that you can indicate the formality or casualness of your wedding by how you address your envelopes.
Use standard prefixes, earned titles, and traditional nomenclatures such as Miss/Mr., Doctor/Judge, and Mr. and Mrs. John Smith for a formal event. And keep things proper. In other words, do NOT abbreviate names or use nicknames.
For a casual wedding, feel free to use abbreviated names or full names without prefixes or titles.
UNIQUE AND CREATIVE STATIONERY IDEAS
Today's wedding invitation suites go way beyond traditional, rectangular pieces of paper. They are more like custom pieces of art or creative expressions of you and your wedding.
Suites can be venue or theme-inspired. Like this mixed media urban invitation we created that complimented the exposed wood and industrial features of the couple’s venue:
So, go ahead! Think outside the (paper) box! Because your invitations can take on so many forms than paper, such as wood, leather, acrylic, glass, or a combination of all them. They don't have to conform to the ideology of paper. The material should fit the job, not the other way around.
And know, there are plenty of creative ways to embellish an invitation suite. We've created illustrations, foil stamping (for a metallic, shiny look), laser cutting (to create intricate patterns), pocket folios, wax seals, rubber stamps, envelope liners, and paper with embedded wildflower seeds - just to name a few.
We've also created keepsake invites so that they become something more than a piece of paper guests throw away after—for example, a wooden shadow box with a watercolor mural at the base.
No matter your material or design, we create your stationery with intention and purpose.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO WORK ON A STATIONERY PROJECT? HOW FAR IN ADVANCE SHOULD YOU REACH OUT TO GET STARTED ON STATIONERY?
Your invitation is the centerpiece of everything and, conceptually, creates the roadmap for the rest of the stationery. So having plenty of time to focus on it is essential.
With that being said, we recommend working on it as soon as possible. But in the case that your wedding day is fast approaching, we like to have at least six months from the day of your wedding to get started on the design.
In an ideal world, 18 months ahead of the wedding day is preferred. This gives us time to create the concept sketch for the entire suite, and then lay the groundwork for the save the dates, invites, and day of stationery.
WHEN SHOULD YOU SEND OUT SAVE THE DATES?
Nine to twelve months before your wedding. Pre-pandemic, I used to say closer to nine months made sense. However, with things booking up quickly and people's schedules filling up fast, if you want a higher rate of attendance, twelve months is recommended.
WHEN SHOULD YOU SENT OUT INVITATIONS?
Three months in advance.
There are a lot of unpredictable factors out there, so we like to make sure you and your guests are prepared for them. There are also a lot of contingencies hanging on your invitations, like the final headcount your caterer likely needs 30-days out.
This time frame also accounts for the upwards of 2-2.5 weeks of mail time required by USPS. If we get the responses back at five weeks, this gives you (or, if you prefer, us) an extra week to hunt down those who haven't responded. And then one month to determine what day-of items you’ll need, like escort, place, and menu cards.
Still have questions? Or have a question we didn’t answer?Let us know! We’d be happy to help.
You’re engaged - congrats! And overall, the wedding planning is going well. But you have also have to admit, you’ve had a few sleepless nights thinking about some things. Perhaps, one of them being stationery.
You know you need it. It’s how you’ll tell your guests the need-to-know details of your wedding. But you also want your stationery to go beyond successfully relaying the information. And instead, to set the tone for the entire weekend in a highly-personalized way.
After all, it’s the first “peek” your guests will have into your wedding.
But where do you even start? What does that kind of stationery look like? And what about the wording? Wouldn’t it be easier to pick out something pre-designed and call it a day?
Is custom stationery really where you should be focusing your attention, energy, and budget?!
First, do yourself a favor and take a slow, deep breath.
Then, keep reading! Because I’m answering your questions and showing you why custom stationery is, in fact, worth every penny.