The days of sending wedding invitations four weeks ahead of your big day are over! It’s no longer a necessity to marry on a Saturday; the demand for Thursday, Friday and Sunday weddings are up. If you are getting married on a weekday guests will require plenty of time to request holiday from work. If you are getting married on a Sunday it’s best to ensure they don’t plan a big Saturday night before!
You should let your guests know your wedding date as soon as you can. Save the date cards serve to let your guests know your wedding date and rough location well in advance, but they are not essential. If you would rather not go to the expense of sending save the date cards, a simple solution is to send an email or, if the timing suits, an enclosure with a Christmas card.
Most importantly, ensure you send your invites out in good time. You should post wedding invitations eight to 12 weeks before the big day, and at least four months in advance if you are getting married abroad.
Here are some helpful tips on things to consider before sending wedding invitations and the information you should include with your invites…
Things to Consider Before Sending Your Wedding Invitations
Compile Your Guest List ASAP
Get your guest list right from the start. It’s never too early to compile your guest list; really you should do this before you book your venue as it’s amazing how it’s always a fair bit bigger when you write it down to what it is in your head.
Work out early on if you intend to separate day and evening guests, and ensure you plan your timings carefully to ensure that you can fit everything in.
Allow plenty of time for compiling addresses for posting. In this day and age we rarely post things, using text, email etc far more, and therefore it can take quite a while to get addresses from everyone. So, start early and divide up the task with your wedding team.
Bespoke Will Take Longer
Print design can take quite a while, especially if you’re going for something bespoke which requires lengthy print processes, such as foil blocking and laser cutting. Remember, the approval of text can take quite a while too. For bespoke invitations, expect it to take on average eight weeks from first appointment to having your invitations ready to post.
Think about calligraphy (or as an alternative you could use hand lettering). This can be a lovely touch, especially for a more formal wedding in a classic setting. It’s wonderful to have guest names written at the top of their invitation, or even having the envelopes written in calligraphy if you have the budget (if not you should write the envelopes by hand – it looks more personal). Again, remember that calligraphy will take a couple of weeks to complete from receiving your complete guest list.
What to Include with Your Wedding Invitations
When sending wedding invitations, including guest information cards is a great way of sharing important details with your guests. They will also free up space on your invitations allowing you to focus on the wording and appearance – it’s a shame to spoil invitations with an overload of text. Information cards can also save you from getting swamped with questions from your guests.
Set an appropriate RSVP date that allows guests three to four weeks from the date of them receiving the invitation to reply. Don’t give guests too much time to RSVP as they might forget about it entirely. It’s a nice touch to include an RSVP postcard (which you can pre-address and stamp), and it should mean guests reply quicker.
Wedding Day Timeline
One of the most important things to add to your information cards is a timeline for the wedding. You can save the fine details for your order of service, but it’s a good idea to include key points such as the ceremony and reception start times, especially if there is a gap between the two.
Locations are just as important. Write the addresses of your venues clearly so your guests can plan their journey and arrive in time. It pays to check if postcodes work on a Sat Nav too, as in some areas Sat Navs have lead people into nearby fields! If your venue has one of these postcodes, warn people on the guest information card and provide them with directions for the last part of the journey.
Also add some step-by-step directions if many of your guests are travelling from out-of-town or are unfamiliar with the area. You might also include local information, especially if they’ll be staying for more than a day or two. Transport options for non-drivers, like local bus times or train stations, are another good detail to add.
Ensure you include a box on your RSVP for guests to let you know if they have any special dietary requirements. This will be very important as you finalise your menus, and it’s best to get this information all at once, rather than having to contact each guest again at a later stage.
If you’ve decided not to invite children to your wedding, politely let guests know when sending your wedding invitations. Guests shouldn’t take offence, but if it’s not obvious some may assume their children are invited.
You can let your guests know your dress code too, but this is usually only if your wedding has a specific theme such as formal, informal, or something non-traditional like beach-casual.
Many couples also tackle the subject of gifts in their wedding guest information cards. Your friends will be grateful for guidance such as a gift list, a request for honeymoon money, or a note that you don’t want anything. If you you feel awkward about asking for presents, perhaps break the ice by presenting it in poem form.
If you are sending wedding invitations for a destination wedding, locations and travel options are crucial. Tell your guests about airline options and times too. This also leads us to another detail…
Most guests will be grateful if you include some hotel or B&B recommendations. Don’t forget to let people know if you have arranged a guest discount at a particular hotel, and if guests are travelling a distance you might like to tell them about local attractions too.
Food and Drink
Let people know about food arrangements. You could add menu options if it’s applicable to your reception, and tell people if there is a cash bar.
It’s quite helpful to let guests know with the invitation what time ‘carriages’ are. Whilst nobody wants the party to end, it can be immensely helpful for guests to know what time to book taxis for and what time to book the babysitter until.
Invitation with Envelope: Miesh Photography
Calligraphy: Tiree Dawson Photography
Information Card: Pippa Mackenzie Photography
Guest Information and Destination Wedding Info: Dotty About Paper