Know anyone who is getting married soon? I sure do! Summer and fall always seem jam-packed with these joyful celebrations, and there’s nothing I love more than helping a friend or family member plan their wedding! While I don’t do it professionally, I am certified in wedding planning and have guided plenty of pals through the process. I get a kick out of sharing tips, elegant DIY ideas, and helping brides-to-be manage stress. That brings me to wedding invitations.
Although the dress and the decor get most of the attention, when it comes to the most anxiety-inducing planning activity, I’d argue the invites (and guest list) rank number one. But it doesn’t have to be that way!
My husband and I are marking seven years of marrigage this week. Coincidentally, Basic Invite asked me to share a few helpful hints for brides who on the hunt for invitation elegance. I jumped at the chance to “reimagine” our special day and reflect on what we learned as a couple.
Wondering how to keep the stress down, while getting a beautiful result? This post should make your invitation process a bit easier. I’m also sharing a 15 percent off coupon code, so stick around till the end!
Everything—and I mean everything—will take longer than you expect. It’s like time speeds up. “Save the Dates” typically go out 6-8 months before your wedding, but that’s not really the beginning. First, you need addresses! Start gathering these as soon as you have the guest list settled. Social media helps, but gathering addresses is a pain and takes more time than you think.
Conventional wisdom suggests your wedding invitations should go out 6-8 weeks before your wedding day. However, savvy brides and grooms will build additional cushion into that. Why? Inevitably, you will have wedding guests who don’t respond by your RSVP date. You also need to consider when your venue needs its final headcount. At a minimum, you want to give yourself at least a week to call guests who haven’t responded. Therefore, 2-3 months is ideal. Bottom line: Don’t procrastinate!
The longer you wait, the more stressful wedding invitations will be. And this is coming from someone who is notoriously late for everything. Let’s just say my “Christmas” cards (and I’m using that term loosely due to my tardiness) went out in mid January! Guess who is determined to have their act together this year? Basic Invite has the best holiday cards and Christmas party invitations! But, I digress…
When you first start looking for wedding invitations, the myriad of options might leave you at a standstill. There are so many pretty designs. Brides often feel pulled in all directions, especially if they allow too many people to provide input. Remember the saying “too many cooks in the kitchen?”
My advice is to make invitation selection a couple’s activity. Future spouse not jazzed up about invitation selection? Work with a trusted family member/friend instead. Just make sure to limit the viewpoints you consider. You don’t want your own voice drowned out!
Additionally, give yourself ample time to weigh your options.
Consider your location, your theme, and the colors that make you happy. Your wedding invitations should hint at celebratory experience to come. For instance, we got married near Lake Michigan in Wisconsin’s Door County peninsula. Consequently, I wanted a nautical vibe. Navy was our “color”, but I also love teal and turquoise. They seem to evoke water at its most brilliant.
Basic Invite allows you to search through its diverse options by theme (e.g. nautical or beach). You can also narrow things down by color, size, orientation, etc. Once you find a invitation you like, it’s time to really put your designer hat on!
With Basic Invite, you can customize the color of each element on your card, not just the background. Few companies offer this level of personalization; there are 180+ shades you can work with! Best of all, you can see how it looks instantly with an online preview. I tweaked these invitations, changing the primary color from navy to my favorite shade of teal.
You can also get creative with your envelopes. They come in 40+ colors and are peel & stick. Goodbye tongue paper cuts! You can add foil detailing, change the shape, and customize your paper (e.g. shimmer, signature matte, or luxe velvet). I was curious about the luxe velvet, so I tested it out on these thank you cards. It feels oddly delicious on your fingertips, just like suede!
Creativity is welcome in most areas of wedding planning. However, traditionalism reigns supreme when it comes to invitations. There are plenty of dos and donts, and they’re specific! Take the time to review etiquette guidelines and wording samples.
Make it clear who you are inviting. Are you are allowing plus ones? Are children welcome? Don’t make your guests guess. Additionally, do not include registry information on the invite or your save-the-dates. You can include a link to your wedding website and house registry information there. Basic Invite offers free websites with digital RSVPs and an address collection function.
No need to go overboard. However, I highly recommend adding at least 5-10 “backup” invitations to your order. You might decide to add someone to your guest list at the last minute, goof while addressing an envelope, or spill/smudge your invitation (Trust me, it happened to us).
The cost per invitation goes up significantly when you only order a few. Instead, include the extras in your initial order. You want to be prepared in case one of your invitations gets lost in the mail.
It’s always a good idea to get a printed sample of your exact invitation before placing your final order. Invitations are an expense! You want to make sure the customizations you’ve made are precisely what you want. Colors might look different in real life than on your computer screen. You’ll also want to get a feel for the paper quality and have an opportunity to catch typos.
Basic Invite makes this easy and affordable. You can order a custom sample reflecting your wording, color scheme, paper choice, etc. This allows you to see your invitations as your guests will and make any necessary adjustments.