One will never get a second chance to make a first impression. While you have been living and breathing all things to do with your wedding, the first time your guests may have any idea about your big day is when you’re wedding invitation or save the date card lands on their doormat. It is important how to send invitations.
You want to share your good news with people and to invite them to celebrate your special day with you. Knowing how many guests are going to be at your wedding will also give you a clearer idea of the number of people to cater for and the venue size required.
But this is about more than just logistics; this important piece of mail will set the scene, the tone, the theme, and your guests’ expectations of your special occasion. It also acts as a way to educate and organize your guests so that they know what is expected of them too. What you say, when you send it, to which you address it and what it looks like all provide the first experience your guests have of your wedding. So it’s really important that you plan your stationery wisely to make the best first impression.
There are three different routes you could go down with your invitations – the traditional way of sending out paper stationery, the more technological (and environmentally friendly) path, or a combination of the old and new which might involve paper invites but collating the RSVPs electronically.
Whichever route you take, it’s great too. One should coordinate the stationery with the theme of your wedding; coordinate all the stationery as a whole. Ensure that you have a consistent look and feel with everything that you do online and offline, order all your paper stationery at the same time to save on costs. Don’t forget to factor in the cost of envelopes and stamps to your budget. Bear in mind that the more people you invite, the more postage you’ll have to spend and then multiply this by how many times you send different stationery from the suite (i.e. save the date cards, invites, added info, etc).
Think of your wedding as a big marketing campaign – you need to consider the promotion of it before, during, and follow up afterward to get the best results (and response) from your audience. A well-informed guest is a happy one and communication is key so your guests don’t encounter too many unforeseen surprises that they haven’t accounted for.
Here is the full suite of paper stationery to consider. Also included are some US trends that we are starting to see more of in the UK
Almost 12 months before the wedding day – send you to save the date cards (or add a note in Christmas cards to save on additional postage). Around months before the wedding day – send out the invitations (consider sending them out in waves if you want to see how many people reply positively and then decide whether you could ‘bump up’ any evening guests to be all-day guests if you have some people that can’t make it). Include extra information documents to provide details of the day and give the guests details of how to contact you to confirm their attendance. Put a date on the invites to tell guests when you need to have their RSVP back to you. Around 6 weeks before the wedding day – check any last-minute changes to your guest list and chase any outstanding RSVPs so that the table plan and place cards can be produced and you have a final number for the order of services and menus for the day.
After the wedding day – send out wedding cake in boxes to any friends or relatives that couldn’t make the big day. 2 weeks-3 months after the wedding day – etiquette dictates that you should respond to people in a polite timeframe as soon as you receive their gift (or as soon as possible after your return from honeymoon) to thank people for their gifts and attendance.