1: Define Your Wedding Style. The invitation is your guests’ first peek at your wedding style. Along with listing the location and time of day, the invitation — and, more specifically, its style — hints to the formality of your wedding. You should have an idea of the type of event you’re throwing — classic and elegant, or glam and modern — before you start shopping for stationery, so you can choose an invitation style that hits the same note. Then browse wedding invitation photos and stationers’ websites and gather inspiration so you can give your stationer an idea of what you like.
2:Know Your Colors. Think about your wedding colors too — you may want to incorporate your colors and a motif into your wedding invitations and then carry both through to the rest of your wedding paper (like the escort cards, menu cards and ceremony programs) for a cohesive look. While ivory, cream or white card stock paired with a black or gold font is the classic choice for formal wedding invitations, you can also brighten your invites with colorful or metallic fonts, paper stock, envelopes and liners. Just keep readability in mind when choosing your colors (keep reading for more on that).
3:Play With the Shape and Size. A 4.5-inch-by-6.25-inch rectangular card is the traditional size and shape for wedding invitations. But couples are also channeling more playful or modern vibes with circular, scalloped and square invitations. Just keep in mind: Veering away from the standard envelope size can increase the postage — bulky or extra-large invites may cost more to send.
4:Make Sure They’re Legible. As you consider colors and patterns, don’t forget about the text — the information you put on the invitation is the whole point of sending it out in the first place. Your local stationer can help, but in general, avoid light ink on light backgrounds and dark ink on dark backgrounds. Yellow and pastels are tough colors to read, so if you’re going with those, make sure the background contrasts enough for the letters to pop, or work those colors into the design rather than the text. Also, be wary of hard-to-read fonts like an overly scripted typeface — you don’t want to sacrifice readability.
5:Choose Your Words Wisely. Learn the rules to wording your invitation. Traditionally, whoever is hosting is listed first on the invitation. Customarily, you should spell everything out, including the time of the ceremony. On classic wedding invitations, there’s always a request line after the host’s name — something like so and so “request the honor of your presence.” (Read Wording Invitation Samples for all the details.)
6:Don’t Crowd the Card. List only the key points on your invitation: ceremony time and location, the hosts, the couple’s names, the dress code (optional) and RSVP information. Trying to squeeze too much onto the invitation card can make it harder to read — and it won’t look as elegant. Leave things like directions to your wedding venue and details about postwedding activities for your wedding website and/or print them on separate enclosure cards. One piece of information that doesn’t belong anywhere on your suite: where you’re registered. The only acceptable place to list registry information is on your wedding website.
7:Start Early. Your save-the-dates should go out six to eight months before the wedding. It can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks — or longer, depending on how fancy you go — to print them. While your save-the-dates don’t have to match your invites, ordering everything from one stationer can save you money and make the invitation process easier on you. So start scouting stationers 9 to 11 months before the wedding. Aim to order your invitations about four to five months out so they’re ready to mail six to eight weeks before the wedding. If you’re having a destination wedding or marrying over the holidays, send out your invites even earlier (10 to 12 weeks before the wedding).
8:Get Your Dates Straight. Include your RSVP information on the bottom right corner of your invitation or on a separate enclosure, and be sure to make the deadline no more than three or four weeks after guests receive the invitations — check with your caterer first to find out when they’ll need the final headcount. The more time you give guests to reply, the more likely they are to forget, and you’ll need time to put together the seating chart. Plus, your final count may affect the number of centerpieces and other decor elements, which your vendors will need to finalize a few weeks before the wedding.
9:Consider Costs. The price per invite can vary widely — anywhere from $1 to more than $100. It all depends on the design, ink, typeface, printing process, paper and quantity. Top-of-the-line papers, color ink, formal printing techniques (like letterpress and engraving) and custom design will add to your costs, as will decorative extras like envelope liners and multiple enclosures. That’s why it’s important to research your options ahead of time — so you can pick your priorities, whether it’s sophisticated printing and a custom design or multiple enclosures. Also, if you’re planning to hire a calligrapher, look into the cost of that (think: $2 to $8 per envelope) at the same time you’re choosing your invitations, so you can account for it in your stationery budget.
10:Get Your Envelopes Early; Have a . When you order your invitations, see if you can take the envelopes home immediately (or as soon as possible). That way, if you’re having someone other than your stationer (say, a calligrapher) print the return addresses on your envelopes (most stationers print the return addresses for little or no charge; it’s often even included in the suite’s price), they can get a head start. While you don’t have to hire a calligrapher to address your envelopes, we highly recommend it — it looks beautiful and makes an elegant first impression.