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Inspiration Detail | Part and Parcel

Part and Parcel

Whether formal or casual, contemporary or classic, refined or quaint--the first impression of your wedding is made by your invitations. In addition to the styling, you will want to give consideration to several other details, such as paper selection, font type and colors. All of these elements factor into making your invitations the best they can be. Below we have outlined the many details that are part and parcel of your invitations. Keep in mind that your paper goods vendor is an expert in his/her field and can answer questions or make recommendations for the best way to accommodate any particular need. 

A save-the-date announcement notifies guests to mark your wedding date on their calendar well in advance. It allows out-of-town guests time to plan early for travel arrangements as well as to plan for time away from their home. You can send your save-the-date announcements five to twelve months in advance of your wedding date. A save-the-date notice can be a postcard, magnet or any other creative medium you choose. 

About four to six weeks before the wedding, guests should receive your invitation in the mail. Upon opening that special envelope, your wedding style will be revealed and from the invitation your guests will know what type of wedding you have planned. So choose carefully when selecting your invitations, and remember to have fun with them! Your invitations should be a reflection of your style and personality as a couple. Are you and your fiancé modern, classic, fun or funky? 

Traditionally, wedding invitations utilize two envelopes, an inner and an outer envelope. However, current trends omit the inner envelope. If your selection includes an inner envelope, the invitation is inserted into the inner envelope facing the back flap, with the names of those invited handwritten on the front. The inner envelope is addressed as follows and if children are invited, do not use “and family." Each family member should be listed by name, such as:

Mr. and Mrs. Rogers
Marissa, Colin, and Emily

An address is not included on the inner envelope. Also, this envelope holds other pieces of the wedding invitation such as a reception card, RSVP card and envelope, accommodation card and a map or directions card. After the inner envelope is properly addressed and stuffed, it is slipped into the outer envelope. The inner envelope can be ordered with a colored liner, which may increase the invitation cost slightly, but adds a splash of color and style.

All envelopes should be handwritten. If your handwriting is not legible, consider using a calligrapher or asking a friend with attractive handwriting to address the invitations. If neither option is available, run the envelopes through your computer printer selecting a font that coordinates with your wedding style. We recommend that you have your return address pre-printed on the outer envelope flap.

When deciding on the appropriate verbiage for your wedding invitation, you will want to be mindful of both families. Using the proper language is important as your family circumstances may be a delicate matter when parents of the couple have separated or divorced, passed away or are no longer part of the couple’s lives. From time to time the bride’s parents, together with the groom’s parents, host the wedding. We have provided examples that are helpful when addressing these sensitivities. You will find these examples in the FROM OUR NOTEBOOK “Invitation Guide” at the back of this issue. 

Please note that the more formal phrase “the honour of your presence” is traditionally reserved for weddings that take place in a house of worship. For less formal ceremonies, “the pleasure of your company” or “the honour of your company” usually indicates that the ceremony will not include a worship service. When deciding on the use of “honour” vs. “honor,” consider the style of your wedding and your personal preference. For formal invites you should use “honour,” which is applicable with more formal functions. Also, be consistent by using “favour” instead of “favor,” when utilizing a reply card.

While informal wording is becoming more common, remember to make it perfectly clear whether guests are being invited to a wedding ceremony or to the reception only. An example is, “…would be delighted by your presence at the marriage of their children” or “invite you to join them at the wedding reception of…” The key to properly wording the invitation is to be socially appropriate while remaining comfortable with the verbiage. 

When the bride’s parents are divorced, the invitation is often issued by the parent who raised the bride. If both parents raised the bride, the names are listed on separate lines with the mother always named first without “and” between them. If the mother of the bride is remarried, use her married name.

While it is not traditional to include a deceased parent, many couples feel strongly about doing so. 

When the ceremony and reception are being held at the same location, a single invitation can be issued. If the reception is held at a different location, a separate card is helpful, but not required. NOTE: It is not considered acceptable to invite guests only to the ceremony but not the reception.

It is best to include a reply card with a stamped, self-addressed envelope to encourage guests to respond to their invitation in a timely fashion. Even though it is not required by traditional etiquette, doing so increases the probability of receiving a reply.

If you choose to use an RSVP line on the invitation, proper placement directs it to be printed in the lower left corner. You can also include a mailing address, phone number, email address or website for their response. If you prefer to use a separate card, the traditional fill-in-the-blank version provides the first letter of Mr. or Mrs. or a more casual option reads, "Please let us know whether you will join us" with space for writing.

If your reception includes a plated meal wherein the guests choose from a selection of entrees, those options should be printed on the reply card, one per line with a short blank line preceding each selection to fill in a number.

If your reception will not include a meal, it is courteous to inform your guests by using a phrase such as "and afterward for cocktails" rather than the classic "at the reception." If you wish to stress the importance of the style of dress, for example black tie or casual attire, print that notation in the lower right corner or the invitation or on the reception card.

It is important to note that your registry information should never be indicated anywhere on the invitation or the inserts.

Before ordering your invitations, verify that it contains all critical pieces of information, such as the (1) host, (2) request, (3) bride and groom, (4) date and time, (5) ceremony location, (6) reception location and (7) RSVP. This information can be worded and arranged in a variety of ways to reflect the style of the occasion and the changing times. 

While it is always important to consider proper etiquette, also consider your personal style and appropriate phrasing when designing your invitation. Use our “Invitation Guide” included in the FROM OUR NOTEBOOK section of this issue for additional helpful information. |NWD|