By Holly Peters with Papeterie
Your Save the dates and wedding invitations are your guest’s first impression of your wedding and the primary way of informing them what they need to know for your celebration. Here are some frequently asked questions that stationers are asked when meeting with couples.
Do I have to send out a save the date?
No, you don’t need to send out a save the date. This is a fairly new practice in the wedding industry over the last decade, but with the amount of time and expense that goes into a wedding, it is a great way to let your guests know the date and information ahead of time. Save the dates are especially helpful for destination weddings since more planning is necessary. It’s always nice to give your guests extra time to make arrangements.
What information should be included on my save the date?
The main points of the wedding day are what needs to be conveyed. The couple’s names and picture (optional), date, and city/state. One of the most important pieces of information you can give your guests is your wedding website. Websites do not belong on the wedding invitation which makes the save the date the perfect place to give them this information.
When should I send my save the dates and Invitations?
Save the dates can be sent out six months to a year in advance of the wedding. If your celebration is a destination wedding or during a busy time of the year, such as during summer vacation or a holiday weekend, you may want to send them at least six to eight months ahead of time so they can plan around these dates and arrange for time off work.
For wedding invitations, we typically recommend six to eight weeks. If you did not send a save the date, consider sending them out around the eight-week mark. Sending them out three months or more ahead of time has become a trend, but unfortunately, it hasn’t ultimately helped with people sending back responses.
Should I order invitations online?
There are a few reputable invitation sites, but the customer service is historically lacking and you have little recourse if there is a problem, misprint, or wrong information. There is usually no proofing with online companies so you are on your own for spelling and etiquette. Invitations are something that is best-chosen in-person by seeing and feeling the stock, the actual printing on the stock, and having a professional to help you with etiquette. There are a lot of rules of etiquette that are involved in the designing and wording of invitations that you may not be privy to. You can avoid future embarrassment and hurt feelings by going to a professional.
The assumption that online invitation sites offer cheaper pricing is debatable, as most are digitally printed and mass-produced. Unfortunately, once you make the upgrades to the paper, envelopes, etc., the cost is very comparable to a local stationer’s pricing, sometimes more. You indeed get what you pay for, and fortunately for local stationers, a cottage industry of “fixing” online invitation mistakes has emerged but that is an added expense that you could have avoided in the beginning.
What is the cost of an invitation?
Invitation pricing is determined by different factors. The printing process plays a large part. If you are looking for letterpress or engraving, these tend to be the higher priced invitation choices. Thermography and flat or digital printing are typically less expensive options. Paper or stock can go from luxe, thick cotton papers to more cost-effective, thinner stocks. Another factor that will affect the price is the number of pieces you need in your invitation suite. Most people require an invitation with an envelope, a response card with envelope, and some need to add a details card or reception card as well. Keep in mind that a typical greeting card is around $5.00 each. A beautiful invitation can start anywhere from $4.00 – $5.00 each and go up from there.
Should I use a website for RSVPs?
Websites are a convenient way to get information to your guests, and most offer a way to RSVP to the wedding as well. When trying to decide if you will do a mail-back response or have people reply online you need to think of everyone on the guest list. Just because it is convenient for you and your friends to answer online does not mean your grandparents and older guests can respond this way. Some don’t feel comfortable with this method, and some may not have the equipment. In many cases, couples include a phone number for them to call as well as the web address. In other instances, couples have printed enough of the mailed responses for those that would be more apt to answer in this manner. Either way, you want to be sure all your guests feel equally included and can easily respond to your invitation.
Where should I put our registry information?
Information about your registry should NEVER go on the invitation itself…EVER. When you invite someone to an event, especially something as special as a wedding, you are requesting their presence, NOT their presents. Including registry information can be seen as presumptuous and ill-mannered.
If you wish for your guests to have your registry information you can put it on your website, or you can add in another small card or on a details card in the invitation suite, or by word of mouth, but never on the actual invitation.
What postage costs should I factor into the cost of invitations?
Postage is often a forgotten part of the invitation process. The number of pieces you have in your suite, as well as the type of stock they are printed on, will affect the weight of the invitation, therefore, the cost of postage. Invitations typically require more postage than the average piece of mail. We always recommend taking a fully assembled invitation to the post office and letting them weigh it so you know exactly how much postage is required. Response cards require less than the invitation, but be sure to put a stamp on the response card envelopes when assembling the invitations so your guests can reply promptly. When taking your invitations to the post office we always recommend that you ask to have them hand canceled. This will decrease the amount of machinery sorting your invitations will incur, which will also minimize the chances of damage.
Holly is the Owner and Lead Designer of Papeterie Fine Stationery and Gifts in Bon Air, Virginia. With a lifelong love of design, she and her staff enjoy custom designing your ideas into beautiful invitations. Papeterie has been serving brides nationally and internationally for 30 years. For unparalleled design, wedding invitation etiquette, service, and one of Richmond’s favorite gift boutiques visit our website at papeterierichmond.com.