Wedding Invitation Series Part 1: What to Do First
The moment when you finally hand over your wedding invitations to be sent out is an exciting time! Your wedding day is on the horizon, and you're ready to start getting your RSVP forms back. First things first though. Before you start sending out those invitations there are six things you need to do.
Wedding Invitations Step One: Plan!
Decide on a Budget
Before you start looking at wedding invitation designs, you need to know what the maximum amount you’re willing to spend is. You don’t want to plan your dream invitation and then find out you can’t afford it. Do a little bit of research, and talk with your designer or planner to get an idea of what things actually cost. If you’re looking at getting custom-designed wedding invitations, you’re going to spend more. Quality custom invitations are going to be upwards of $1,000 on the lower end.
Keep in Mind the Number of People You’re Inviting. Sending out 300 invitations will cost way more than sending out 50. At the same time, if you are only sending out 50 invitations, you have a little more flexibility to spend more per set! As a designer, I work closely with each of my clients to figure out exactly what their needs are. The goal is to find a balance so they can have as much of what they want within the parameters they set.
Don't Forget the Small Details. When you are putting together your budget don’t forget to factor the cost of postage and address labels. If you have a suite with a lot of pieces and thick cards, it might cost you more than standard mail.
Decide on the Quantity of Invitations
Remember that the numbers will be based on the number of households, not people! Each household should get a single invitation, however, convention says children over 18 should also get their own invitation even if they live at the same address. You will likely mess up a few, or decide to invite a few extra people at the last minute, so make sure to add in a few extras just in case. Also, be sure to factor in the number you and your family may want to keep as a memento.
Figure Out Your Dates
If you have your wedding date picked out, work backwards to find out when you should start sending your invitations. I recommend couples base timing not on what everyone else does, but on the overview of their event, and their guests. For example, if most of your guests are local and won’t need to book travel or accommodations, 8 weeks is reasonable if you’ve already sent them a save the date. If you are planning a destination wedding, with guests flying in from all over, you should send your save the date as early as 10-12 months in advance, and an invitation 3-6 months before the event.
Also keep in mind when you need to give your final numbers to your venue. You should give your guests about a month after receiving the invitations to RSVP. There are so many ways to get creative about how guests can RSVP—it’s not just about response cards vs websites anymore!
Decide What Information to Physically Send Out
Do you want people to RSVP online? Do you want accommodations and directions written out? Are there a lot of details you want printed or will most information be on a website? These are all questions you want to think about in advance, because these elements can greatly impact your price. These are also important pieces of information your designer will need to put together a proposal for your wedding invitation needs.
At a minimum, you will be sending out an actual invitation—a single (usually flat) card with wording that requests your guest be present on your big day. You can also include a response card and a card with accommodations and directions as well. Often, destination weddings will include a card that lists the schedule of events for the weekend, and many will send the save the date in advance.
Chances are most couples will need to get in touch with family members and friends to get everyone’s addresses. You should reach out to each of your guests individually or by household and ask them for their most up to date address. You can then ask them to give it to you, have them fill out a Google form or using a wedding website that collects addresses. Once you have collected all of your addresses, it’s time to get organized. Make a spreadsheet to keep track of your guests, RSVPs, dietary restrictions, and any other information you need. Start doing this now and you’ll avoid a lot of headaches down the road.
Determine the Look and Feel
If you are unsure where to start, start by creating a mood board. A mood board is a collection of pictures, swatches, and visual inspiration that create the look and feel you are attempting to achieve in your invitations. You can create a mood board using Pinterest or www.gomoodboard.com for a quick and easy visual tool.
If you have already decided on the look and feel of your wedding, then you should have a pretty good idea of the style you want. Do you want a romantic setting or a warm autumnal vibe? Maybe you’re looking for something rustic with earthy tones? Now is the time for you to decide these things.
When you’re determining the look and feel of your invitations, keep in mind the overall look and feel of your whole event. Things don’t have to be matchy-matchy and fit in perfectly with the decorations on the wedding day, but you want to tell a story with the visuals, and set the tone for your guests.
Decide what feeling you want to evoke with your invitations. What do you want your guests to feel when your invitations arrive, and what lingering feeling do you want in their head when they leave? Do you want to evoke a warm fuzzy feeling or a sense of awe? Don't forget to let your venue inspire you! After all, the setting and event should be harmonious.
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Planning your wedding? Read more from our Wedding 101 series of posts!