So you just got engaged over the holidays and now here it comes, the HUNDREDS of questions everyone has for you, and that you have for yourself; Where will you get married? When? Does the season matter? Who is your Maid of Honor? Best Man? Super overwhelming, right? Take a breather! First let me say, ENJOY this time of being engaged. Let it simmer between you and your loved one for a bit and tell everyone to take a back seat, your day will come together in time and as it should, and when it does you'll let them all know in the most beautiful ways possible, with your Save the Dates and Invitations.
I've done the research for you on the whats, who's, whens, and hows for your Wedding Invitation Etiquette, and below is a list of the important pieces you should know.
- When do we send all of these damn cards? If you've decided to do a Save the Date card or Engagement announcement card, those typically get sent out 6-8 months before your wedding date. If you do decide this is a route you want to take, a VERY important element of this design includes location! Whether you have your venue set yet or not, let your peeps know at least what state or area you'll be getting married in, especially if you have loved ones all over the country. Your wedding Invitations themselves should be sent out 6-8 weeks before the big day, and if you are considering a destination wedding, make that 3 months beforehand.
- RSVP Cards - How long do our guests have to reply? Responding 2-3 weeks before your wedding gives you enough time to let your caterers know a final headcount, and this is a great timeframe. As a side note, if you already KNOW you are using a calligrapher for escort cards, seating chart, etc., and are waiting on your final guest list to arrive, take into account this can take time to produce. So if you are taking this path then maybe 3-4 weeks before the wedding would give you a little bit more wiggle room for your designers. And trust me, we greatly appreciate that! :)
- Wedding Website- This is a GREAT way to keep your guests up to date on any little extras going on in your planning or on your wedding day. Wedding Wire and The Knot both offer customizable sites that you can upload your engagement photos, registry, accommodations, etc., AND you can have your guests RSVP right on your site. Your site name can be written out on your RSVP card, or another card within your invitation suite.
- NEVER- ever, ever, ever put your registry on your invitations. Nope, don't even think about it. There is a place for things like that, and this is not one of them. Have your friends and family spread the word or include it on your awesome new website! Nobody likes when people announce they are looking for gifts, so don't announce it.
- Play Nice with Wording- Weddings can be tricky when it comes to who you should invite, or how you should tell people what to wear. If you are picky on who is attending, make sure you use exact names on the envelope being mailed out. No kids? Don't include their names, and don't write "And Guest" (this is basically an open invitation to anyone in the world, remember that.) As for attire, simple phrases can be included to sound classy and elegant without sounding demanding. Try these: "Black-Tie Optional," "Cocktail Attire," "Casual Attire," etc..
- Thank You Cards- Here is a tip that will make what seems like a daunting task a tad simpler, buy a notebook! While you are planning your wedding you are going to have help from some pretty amazing people (I hope! If not, call me, I'll be your amazing person to help you) Having a notebook or journal to keep track of little things that made your life easier will be wonderful when you go to write out your thank-you cards. Also, don't believe what people say, you DO NOT have 1 year from your wedding date to write these. You have a few months, tops. Take a Sunday afternoon, brew a pot of coffee, put your feet up, and take a few hours to write your loved ones a personalized little note. Have your new Husband or Wife help. Put some music on, maybe some tunes from your wedding day itself, relive that day and make it a fun and enjoyable experience!
- LAST TID BIT- Hiring a Designer- before I send you off into the world of wedding planning, if you are hiring a designer to do your Save the Dates, Invitations, Escort Cards, Menus, etc., PLEASE, please, please take into account the amount of time this can take from start to finish. Printing time can sometimes take 2-3 weeks alone. Add to that consultations, designing, revisions, approvals, emailing. You get the idea. As designers we are inspired by you. By your story, your day, your life. We want to provide you with your dream materials to show off to everyone you know, and we can only do so if you give us the time to make that happen. So make sure you contact your designer as soon as your Pinterest Board is booming with ideas, so we can start creating those magical pieces for you!
I hope this helps you get a bit more organized in your planning. Remember, this is an amazing time in your life, and it should be FUN!! So make it everything you want it to be because it only happens once (hopefully).