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I’m at the age that everyone is getting married so I’ve been invited to my fair share of weddings. In last 3 years, I’ve also been involved directly with 5 weddings, including my own. I feel like I’ve learned a lot from all the brides before me so I thought I’d put together a little post on some of the Save the Date and Wedding Invitation tips I’ve learned.
NOTE: I claim, by no means, to be an etiquette or wedding planning expert. In fact, I tend to lean more on the side of non traditional when it comes to these things. BUT there are a few things I have discovered along that way, some of which are more of the modern take on wedding invitations, that I hope other brides will find helpful. Feel free to silently disagree with my observations!
Save the dates Tips:
Don’t forget your last names:
This is a big mistake that several of my brides friends have made and learned afterwards and passed the tip to me. If you do the postcard style save the date, don’t forget to put your last names!
Sure, lots of people on your invite list will know who you are when you write “Derek & Tara” on your save the date, but not all! There might be some more distant family members that your parents are having you invite or maybe it’s a family friend who hasn’t seen you as an adult in the last 15 years and doesn’t know your fiance’s name and you’re not the first Tara they think of when they get a card.
They have postcard stamps:
We chose a simple photo postcard from Wedding Invitations by Wedding Paper Divas as our save the date. The post office sells postcard stamps for this exact purpose! I’ve received similar postcard style save the dates in the past, where the bride used a regular forever stamp and therefore overpaid for shipping.
Wedding Invitation Tips:
Square vs. Rectangular:
When hunting for invites, pay attention to the sizes. Even though they are pretty, square invites cost more in postage! (unless they are sent in rectangular envelopes – which I have seen as new options!)
Get it weighed:
Many modern brides are chosing to exclude the inside envelope from their invitation set. Some (like myself) also have opted to not put in a map inside their invite either and stick with just the directions. (Yes, older attendees may not have access to a smart phone google map or GPS system, but the majority do, so this seems like a close to obsolete item.) Without these pieces, (and depending on your paper weight), you might be surprised to learn that many brides can actually get away with the regular postage stamp and not the increased wedding weight pricing. (At the time of this post, this is 66 cents). Take your completed sample to the post office and have it weighed before sending to see if you’re overpaying for shipping.
Send yourself a sample:
Since you’re already at the post office, why not address and send yourself your own invitation? This will help you understand if there are any problems you can’t foresee on your own. Is that a slightly bumpy part of your invite that will be caught in the machine and rip the envelope? Is your address label too low and gets covered by the postage information?
The new “adult only reception” trick:
There’s a new trend in RSVP information for weddings. After putting a line for the guest to fill in their names, brides, like myself, are listing a line similar to this “We have reserved ___ seat(s) in your name”. The bride fills in the blank with the number of guests invited. For example, a couple is listed as “2 seats”, a family may be listed as “4 seats” and a single person without a guest is listed as “1 seat”. Now your cousin with the 3 kids won’t question whether or not their kids are invited to their wedding when they see that only 2 seats are reserved in their name.
This trick also stops you from having to put the cringe worthy “and guest” title on the outside of the envelope. Now you can just put that invitee’s name on the outside and when they open the rsvp card they will see that they, in fact, have 2 seats set aside for them. We did this for our wedding and are happy to report (we think) everyone understood when filling out their information.
Number your RSVPs:
Take your excel list of invitations being sent and add a column to number them for your reference. Prior to sending out the invitations, write this number in pencil on the bottom back of the rsvp card for the corresponding invite. As you get the rsvps back, you will easily be able to figure out who has written you and who hasn’t.
You’d be surprised how many people don’t properly fill in the name field on the rsvp. Or maybe you have this example that happened in my family: You invited uncle Bill Smith, but his nephew is also Bill and therefore not a jr. When “Bill Smith” writes back saying they are coming with 1 guest, how do you know which Bill Smith wrote you back? Luckily you wrote the RSVP number on the back and can check against your spreadsheet!
Add your website, not your registry:
This is an age old etiquette concept, but I personally think it still holds true. DON’T put your registry on your invitation. DO put your wedding website link (which might include your wedding registry, but that’s just a bonus). Guests can go to that website and find your registry if needed, or good old mom will be there to let them know where you’re registered.