First, you may want to send “Save-the-Date” cards. They are announcements that inform your guests of your future wedding in order for them to plan ahead for your wedding day. They are essential if any of your guests are traveling to your wedding, your wedding takes place on or around a holiday, you are planning a destination wedding, or your wedding will take place in a seasonally busy or tourist locale, where the flights and hotels perhaps book up early. They are generally sent at least 4-6 months prior to your wedding.
If you are planning a destination wedding, for example for an Arizona it is strongly recommended that you send them 12 months in advance if not longer. Because wedding guests want to dress appropriately for a destination wedding, it is important to include the dress code within the invitation as well. Read: “Getting Married in Arizona? Here’s the Latest Scoop!.”
Second, select a wedding invitation that reflects you both as a couple, and reflects the theme, tone and style of your wedding. You should send your wedding invitations 6 to 8 weeks in advance of the wedding date.
What can you include in your wedding invitation packages without stomping on wedding invitation etiquette? What is acceptable and what is not? Today many more things have become acceptable that were taboo not that long ago.
With constantly evolving traditions and modern twists to the wedding, there are plenty of variations to wedding invitations. All of the information within them serves as the first form of communication between you and your guests. If you are having a traditional first-time wedding with all the bells and whistles, then you may want to add a little more than the basic information. If it’s going to be a more informal wedding or a second wedding with a not-so-traditional format, you may just want to list the basics.
Wedding Response Cards – Response cards, otherwise known as RSVP cards, helps ensure that your guest will respond to you if they are planning to attend. On these cards, guests tell whether or not they will be attending and how many will be attending. Include a response date and a stamped return envelope with your address pre-printed on the front.
Reception Card – Some modern couples hold the wedding ceremony and the reception in different places. While the wedding response card contains details about the ceremony event, the reception card specifies the address of the location, time, etc.
Directions and Maps – Be sure to include directions (with complete address and ZIP code) or a map with your invitation, especially if you are having out-of-town guests or planning a destination wedding. No photocopies, please. They should be printed in the same style as your invitations. If you are writing directions (e.g. from the airport, etc.) or developing a map, make sure you check and double check your facts before having them printed. A link to MapQuest or GoogleMaps might be helpful.
Hotel Accommodation Cards – A list of local hotels/guesthouses/Bed and Breakfasts for people needing to stay over. If the hotel is providing a special rate for guests at your wedding, make sure to mention it. Accommodation information cards are a good idea if you’re hosting your wedding at a vacation destination or if you have many out of town guests. They can include detailed travel information for your guests., including nearby airports, hotel options, area attractions and activities, rental car agencies, taxis, etc. If you have blocked a number of suites in a particular hotel you would provide this information on the accommodation card.
Web Sites – Some couples have websites where guests go to find information about the wedding. A simple card that provides the web address can be included within the invitations. Your wedding website can provide miscellaneous information that proper etiquette does not permit to be included in your wedding invitation. You can also provide details about the rehearsal dinner (for those in the wedding party), ceremony and reception and provide directions, hotel accommodations and rental car information.
Wedding Blog – Although a blog might be unusual, it’s an ongoing dialogue about your thoughts, feelings and ideas about your upcoming wedding. Invite comments and respond to guests. After the wedding you can post photos and video clips of your wedding.
An Attire Card – Guests sometimes wonder what to wear to a wedding. You can alert them by adding a line to the lower right corner of the invitation indicating “Black Tie,” “Casual,” or other information. If your wedding is outdoors you may want to ask them to wear “lawn-friendly shoes.” Guests coming from Minnesota to a November wedding in Arizona may want to know that the temperature will usually be between 70 and 80 degrees. Check out the Arizona temperatures. Click here.
Gift Registry – Even if the stores where you registered provides gift registry cards, DO NOT include the cards that contain information about your registry in your invitations. It’s impolite for you to start the conversation about gifts. According to traditional American etiquette, wedding gifts are purely optional. That’s why it’s uncouth to include any mention of gifts with your invitation – it comes across as if you are expecting a gift. Ask family, friends and the bridal party to spread the news when people ask; you can also put this information on your wedding website. Read: “Honeymoon Bridal Gift Registry.”
“Etiquette dictates that registry information should never be included in a wedding invitation, even though some stores provide printed cards for this purpose. Instead, rely on your family members and wedding party to spread the word. That said, it is generally acceptable for the hostess of a shower to include these details on that invitation (indeed, this is where you might put those information cards to use). And if people ask you directly where you’re registered, feel free to tell them. ~ Martha Stewart“
Programs – Consider including a wedding ceremony program with your wedding invitation. It can both excite and comfort your guests to know about the schedule of events.
Reception Menu – Providing a menu for your guests before the reception might be great for those picky eaters, and get others drooling over the meal to come.
Your New Address Card – Since a change in marital status is often accompanied by a change of address, and sometimes a change of name, this small card is a way to let people know how to contact you after the wedding. Include the date you will return from your honeymoon, or your wedding date itself: “After August 31, 2011,” etc. Include your new address, cell phone, e-mail address, and website, if you wish to share them.
Special Postmarks for Wedding Invitations – Have cupid send your wedding invitations (or any other romantic card) to your friends and family that bears a postmark from Loveland, CO 80537. This city is one of several cities that have a special name whose postmark can embellish your wedding invitations with romance.
Miscellaneous Invitation Tips – Do not use abbreviations. Example: Spell out words such as Road, Street, and state names; Arizona (Not AZ). Four o’clock in the afternoon / Two Thousand Eleven. Tip: The “o” and “c” in “o’clock” are never capitalized. It is socially incorrect to mention “No Children Allowed.”
Copyright © 2011 – Larry James. This idea is adapted from Larry’s “romantic” Wedding Ceremony. Larry James is an award winning, non-denominational wedding officiant and performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere! Every wedding ceremony is customized to your complete satisfaction. Call to check availability: 480-998-9411 or 800-725-9223. Pre-maritial relationship coaching is available and not required. You will find more than 460 pages of Wedding ideas, tips (90 tips and growing), ceremonies, and more at: http://www.celebrateintimateweddings.com. Something NEW about weddings is posted every 4th day on this Wedding BLOG. Check Larry’s availability.
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