Invitations and Other PapersBy: Colin Cowie
After the flurry of breathless phone calls- telling friends and family, “We’re engaged!” – the first bit of real information that most of your guests will receive about your wedding is the invitation, or possibly a save-the-date card. This little piece of paper has a big job to do: It needs to set the tone, the look and the feeling of your event. It’s the first glimpse of the celebration to come. Do you want your guests to open an oversize envelope made from the most luscious card stock, hand lettered in meticulous calligraphy with the details of a formal wedding and black tie reception? Or do you want to pack a handmade envelope with a piece of dried lavender to accompany green card stock with aubergine ink, announcing a morning ceremony followed by a garden reception? Or do you want to provide the facts in an understated fashion- the when, the where, the dress code, and the RSVP date- for next summer’s ceremony?
As you know, I tell every bride to dream big, to conjure up the overall picture in her mind’s eye, and then fill in the small details. Identify the defining visuals of your wedding and then let those images drive the design of the save-the-date card, invitation, RSVP card, menu, host card, ceremony program, place cards and even the thank-you note. The paper used, the colors of the ink, the style of the lettering, and even the stamp that seals the envelope can be creatively directed. Is your heart set on getting married barefoot on a sandy beach, or do you see yourself riding up a mountain in a horse-drawn sleigh? Is your wedding seasonally inspired?
Once you’ve determined the grand scheme, it’s crucial to remember that the purpose of the invitation is, after all, to convey information and to give it to your guests in time for them to make the necessary plans. It used to be that everyone clung to the old etiquette that the invitations were sent six weeks in advance of the event; and the general rule of thumb today is still six to eight weeks. But if you are holding your wedding on a popular travel weekend or planning a destination wedding, your guests will appreciate knowing earlier, even as much as twelve weeks for celebrations abroad or big holiday weekends.
Whatever printed material you use, remember that consistency counts. All these pieces should be on paper stock and printed in an ink that ties in to the invitation and, of course, matches your color scheme. If you have a logo or embellishment on your save-the-date card, be sure to use it on the invitation too.