When Should I Mail My Wedding Invitations?
This question is real and usually the question that follows immediately is, ‘and how should I make them out’? Let’s start with the when and then tackle the how. We asked one of our favorite invitation and paper good designers, Darby Locklear, with Darby Cards to help us shed some light on when to order invitations.
Should I Send a Save the Date?
We actually get asked this a lot and if the budget allows, the answer is yes. Many weddings are destination weddings for a lot of the guests and even the couple and you want to give them plenty of heads up so they can mark the date on their calendars. Your save the date doesn’t have to be as elaborate as your invites but you’ll want them to know what date and what city to plan their visit. This could seriously be an evite. (We talk a bit more about this on Planning + Prosecco as well.)
It can be confusing to know just how far in advance to send your invites, but also how far in advance to order them so you have enough time to get them addressed, stuffed and stamped. Darby gave us some insight into this:
How Do I Address My Wedding Invitations?
This is where it gets a bit more complicated. There are many ways to address and certain wording that you may want to use. First, the wedding invites set the tone for the wedding and should reflect the type of shindig you are planning. If you are planning a black tie affair then the invite and the wording should be a bit more formal, if you are planning a relaxed party of back yard barbecue then you can go a bit more non-traditional with your words. You just need to date back to English class: Who? What? When? Where? (You get to save the how as a surprise for the wedding.)
We refer a lot to our Emily Post wedding etiquette guide when it comes to the proper way to address. (Yes non-traditional couples, we throw this out the window when talking about your invites. sort of.)
Here is Darby’s quick guide on what to ask yourself and what wording to use based on where your wedding ceremony is being held:
If you are purchasing your invitations from a designer like Darby Cards, lean on them to help you come up with the perfect wording. You may decide to go the more traditional route or come up with something completely different. (Yes, we have used curse words on an invite before. No, grandma was not still living to receive the invitation.)
If Their Name is Not on the Envelope, Are They Invited?
NO. #sorrynotsorry to be blunt but if their name does not appear on the inner (or outer if that is all you have) envelope then their name does not appear on the guest list. This is a place where many people get confused and will write in their entire family as attending when their entire family was not invited. One way we emphasize this is by saying, “We have reserved two seats in your honor” and then giving them a space to say ____ of 2 attending. There will be someone you have to confront about this. It will be uncomfortable. Pick your battles if you have to but if cousin Jane is planning to bring her seven kids to your adult only reception that is a battle you will have to fight.
So, How do I Address Those Envelopes?
Good question. We have some couples who choose to do this in the most formal senses:
Dr. Amelia Smith and Mr. Mark Smith
22 Lovely Lane
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
This means spelling out everything like and, lane, apartment, Tennessee. The only abbreviation here is in the titles. If you wanted to include their family and don’t have an inner envelope you can say, Dr. Amelia Smith and Mr. Mark Smith and Family. If the female is not a doctor, the man’s name traditionally is listed first.
You may choose to skip this and address them more like this:
Ms. Jane Smith and Ms. Alexis Jones
23 Lovely Lane
Nashville, TN 37209
Huh, these peeps are neighbors. You can choose to go a bit less formal and even abbreviate. There are many great fonts to print the addresses on the envelope or you may choose to have it hand-lettered. (And if you budget allows, hand lettering is ah-mazing. Insider tip: if your budget doesn’t allow, you can have the envelope being photographed hand-lettered or just have the envelopes of those closest to you done by a calligrapher.)
Let’s Talk About RSVPs Baby…
Should You Send a Response Card?
If you want a response, yes. People are notoriously horrible about RSVPing. Though it is tempting to skip the postage on the response card, you should definitely include it. Believe us, giving them every opportunity to reply to you is the best course of action. We also have many couple now that give their guests the opportunity to respond online through a site like RSVPify.
When Should the Response Date Be?
A whole lot earlier than you think. Your guest count will likely be due to your vendors two weeks in advance. You should ask your guests to RSVP by no later than one month before your wedding. This gives you time to track down those friends and family you haven’t heard from so you are not scrambling to get those numbers in or do a seating chart. (Pro tip: your wedding planner will take this off your plate and call all these numbers in for you!) It is ok to call/email/text guests after the RSVP date to confirm whether or not they will be able to attend.
Can you Show me Something Pretty?
Always. Here are some of the invites that Darby Cards has created for our weddings and the wedding they belong to:
Lindsey + Jared: Bazaar not Bizarre Wedding:
Chattanooga Mountaintop Elopement Shoot:
Amy + Charlie’s Sewanee Spring Wedding:
Leah + Colton’s Organic, Outdoor Inspired Wedding: