How to Create the Perfect Wedding Invitation Suite (and What You Don’t Want to Forget)

July 01, 2022

unique clear acrylic moody wedding invites with real aspen leaf by lucky onion stationery photo by jose villa

 

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: 

INVITATION
The invitation is the main element of your suite - the HQ if you will. It's where the most important information gets highlighted, including your names, event date, time, and location. 


RSVP - RESPONSE CARD
The RSVP card (aka response card) is the traditional way for guests to let you know they'll be attending your wedding. But it can go beyond simply checking yes or no in the “will you be attending” boxes. RSVPs can include menu options or areas where guests can write in dietary restrictions or even song requests.

Your suite should also include an addressed, pre-stamped envelope so that it's easy for your guests to fill out the card and drop it in the mail. And so that it’s easy to determine who the response card is from, we recommend including the names of that guest(s) on the invitation envelope and / or on the response card itself. This way, you won’t have to make calls to discover who requested salmon from the pile of RSVPs that didn’t add their name.

Some couples request responses via email or on their wedding website, but we recommend doing it the old-fashioned way. Aka snail mail style. Why? Because it’s easier for your guests to check a box and slip an envelope in their mailbox rather than take the extra step of going to your website and finding the information they’re looking for.

Remember: Always make it easy for your guests. 


INFORMATION CARD(S)
Information cards share extra details about your wedding. It can be one card that includes information about a specific part of your event, like the welcome party or rehearsal dinner. Or it might provide information on hotel accommodations, dress code, or directions.

If you're hosting a destination wedding or inviting quite a handful of out-of-town guests, you might consider including a map card. These cards are great to point out interesting spots for guests to check out and things to do while in town. Most importantly, they tell your guests exactly where your wedding is being held in an unfamiliar place.

Including an information card in your suite saves you time and money
because you won’t need to send out more invites later or spend more on postage.

If you don’t want to include this information in your wedding invitations though, we suggest creating a wedding website instead.

 

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.

 moody florals envelope liner by lucky onion stationery photo by jacie marguerite

ADDRESSING ENVELOPES 

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:

unique wood and rivet materials for wedding invitation inspired by venue by lucky onion

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.



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