Paper or digital? ‘Save the Dates’ or just straight-up invites? Location maps, reply-paid RSVPs, long weekend itineraries? If you thought this was a simple ‘be here on X date at X time’ affair, sorry to burst your bubble.
There are some standard things that an invitation needs to communicate, but there are also some additional things that are very useful to both share with your guests (like accommodation options) and to collect (like dietary requirements) to help with catering.
Firstly, let’s look at the different forms that an invitation can take.
The Medium: Paper or Digital?
If you’re creating actual paper invites, you might as well make them something that deserves pride of place on your guest’s fridges. Thankfully, there are a load of amazing stationery co’s out there that offer set or custom designs. There’s nothing quite like the experience of opening up an envelope that doesn’t contain a bill and it’s a sure-fire way to get some anticipation rolling for your wedding among your guests and make them feel special.
The other option is to take things online and use a tool like Paperless Post to deliver your invitations digitally. The upside here is that it’s more affordable and your RSVPs can be managed at the click of a button, however it might not suit any friends or family that aren’t tech-savvy, so you may want to create some hard-copies for people, like your grandparents for example.
The Essentials: What to Communicate
Anything that’s vital for your guests to be able to make it to your wedding should be included in your invite. Obvious logistical things include:
- The date
- The time
- The location
Beyond the when, what and where, here are some other things to consider:
- Decide how you want your RSVPs communicated – and by when. A basic option is to pop a mobile number on the invite and request a text by X date. A nicer option is to include a pre-stamped postcard where your guest can physically tick a ‘hell yes, count me in’ and pop it in the post box for you. And if you’re doing a digital ‘Save the Date’/Invitation, there may be a nifty RSVP tracker that you can use, depending on the website you choose.
Any of these works but just make sure you ask for the RSVP with enough time to let your caterer know your guest numbers, as well as your hire company if you’re having to organise your own chair hire and table settings (cutlery, glassware etc.) for the wedding.
- Your caterer will want to know any dietary requirements. This is where that fancy pre-stamped postcard can come in handy as you can ask people to note these down. Otherwise, they can be emailed or texted to you, or easily added to a digital invitation.
The Optional Extras
- Some people like to include a dress code. It’s in no way mandatory – everyone knows that trackies are off-limits for a wedding – but if you’re doing something a bit special like black tie or a particular theme, then your invite is the place to communicate this.
- You could ask for music requests in your RSVP – not necessarily for the band but for your own playlist if you’re having a pre or post wedding get-together.
- If you’re making a long weekend out of your wedding and plan on getting guests involved in some events (e.g. wine tour, golf tournament), share an itinerary and also suggested accommodation with your invites.
- Kids. Are they welcome or not? It can be an awkward thing to address but it’s worth making it clear on your invitation so there’s no confusion for your guests. Here’s our advice on communicating this.
This all leads us to the next question: when should I send out my wedding invitation?
The Timing of Your Invitations
This depends on how long your engagement is going to be. If you’re planning a longer engagement (12 months or more) and/or a destination wedding, it’s also not a bad idea to send out a ‘Save the Date’ to allow people enough time to factor your wedding into their life plans and book accommodation.
We’d suggest sending out your wedding invitations for guests to receive them around eight weeks before the actual day. This will allow you enough time to collate RSVPs – helpful for a planning, hiring and catering front.