Etiquette Corner: An invitation primer

By Paula Paradis, Paradis & Foster Events LLC

Because the invitations reflect the tone of your wedding they should be considered early on in your planning activities. Once you have developed your guest list, selected your ceremony and wedding venues and decided on the degree of formality you wish to express throughout your wedding, you can comfortable begin to search for your invitations and other printed materials.

Consider these points as your shop for your paper trousseau.

Choose the right vendor

Select a vendor that specializes in wedding invitations. The staff there will have the expertise and experience to help you with paper selections and correct wordings. Their advice can end up saving you time and often money as well. Figure in all of the options as you look at pricing and purchase 50 extra invitations and 100 extra envelopes to allow for addressing errors and last minute additions.

You will likely be ordering more than just invitations so consider these other items as well:

• Save the date cards

• Insert cards (directions or other information)

• RSVP cards

• Place cards and table assignment charts

• Menus

• Thank you cards

• Programs, and of course

• The invitations.

Placing the order

When you place your order, be sure that you send one of everything to yourself when the rest go out so you can monitor the delivery dates.

Be sure that you allow enough time to order, address and send the invitations packages. Double check with your print specialist on the time frame required for satisfactory order completions. Most experts agree that invitations should go out 6-8 weeks prior to the ceremony.

Consider purchasing special issue postage stamps rather than just ordinary stamps. Check with your local postal service for the options with your local postal service for the options that may work for you. Be sure to check on delivery times if you select a personalized stamp pattern.

Always take a sample of your fully “loaded” invitation package to the post office to verify the amount of postage to put on each. How embarrassing to have it arrive at your guest’s home with “postage due”.

Always double-check the proofs of the invitation copy. Have someone else double check you as well. It is easy to skip over and not notice errors in copy with which you are so familiar. A misspelled name can cause unnecessary delays and expense.

Whom to invite

If children are being invited to the wedding and reception, their names are usually included on the inside envelope, clearly letting the parents know that the children are invited. If children are not to be included, just the invited guest’s names are on the invitation. This lets the parents know exactly for whom the invitation is intended. If children are not being invited to attend, for whatever reason, plan how you handle requests from guests who wish to bring their children. Have alternative plans in place in case this becomes an issue.

You are not obligated to invite a guest or escorts with your single friends. If you do decide to, find out beforehand whom they intend to bring and ask for their name and address; it is proper to send a separate invitation to that person. If the couple live together, you may send one invitation to them both, just as you would to a married couple (list their names alphabetically on the envelope).

Send invitations to the principals in the wedding even though they’ve been invited informally. Your finance’s mother and your mother should receive three or four unsealed invitations as wedding mementos.

When you are ready to begin the selection of your invitations and paper trousseau, be sure to spend time with an experienced consultant who can make sure you have a perfect invitation for your perfect wedding.