First impressions are all important and through your invitations you will be able to convey the style and theme of your wedding, so you will want to choose them carefully.
Specialist printers and stationers will be able to help you design and co-ordinate all items of your stationery and set just the right tone for your special day.
Traditionally the bride's parents send out the invitations. Nowadays, it is more likely that the couple sends them out.
So, don't be afraid to be creative, especially if you are planning an unusual ceremony or reception, use your invitations to set the scene.
Order your invitations at least six months before your wedding, earlier if your wedding is at a busy time of the year. Always ask for a proof to check prior to printing to make sure all the details are correct. Make it clear on the invitation who is invited and what part of the day you would like them to attend — the ceremony and the reception, or the evening celebrations only. This is made easier if you have separate day and evening invitations printed. You may also want to indicate the dress code, i.e. if evening dress is required the words "Black Tie" should appear in the bottom right hand corner. Alternatively, you may want to encourage evening guests to participate in a theme and dress accordingly.
The situation regarding not inviting children can be tricky. Many parents will assume that your invitation includes their small children. To save any embarrassment you could telephone people before sending out the invitation or, you could include a short personal note saying, "Much as we'd like to invite the children of all our friends, it is only possible to accommodate the children of close family". If you are inviting small children and you have made special arrangements for entertainment, a bouncy castle for example, you may want to advise parents when you send out your invitation so they bring along appropriate clothing. Avoid addressing your invitations to "John, Janet and family", if they have teenage children they might turn up with their girl/boyfriends, too. Remember to send invitations to both sets of parents and to your attendants. It is also courteous to invite the celebrant. If you have relatives you know cannot attend, the elderly for instance, it is a nice gesture to still send an invitation — but don't include them on your guest list. Order 10% extra invitations to allow for any mistakes or to invite last minute guests.
Send all your invitations at the same time. Include a stamped addressed reply card and indicate a RSVP date for responses.
You may also want to include directions from the ceremony to the reception, a note asking for any special dietary requirements, hotel or accommodation details for guests staying overnight, and your gift list. (Though sending the gift list is standard practice now, it may be more fitting to wait until it is requested, especially if it's a second marriage). By ordering and writing out your "thank you" cards at the same time will save you time searching round for addresses at a later stage. (If your gift list was organised through a gift registry at a store, be specific about the gift you received — the store may have made a mistake.) The beautifully scripted handwriting of a calligrapher will make your invitations look very impressive!
Reception stationery includes: place cards, serviettes, menus, cake boxes, a book for your guests to sign, all of which can be co-ordinated to your theme. Your "thank you" cards could be your favourite wedding photograph made into a card. (If your wedding day is during the school holidays, you might like to have "Save the Date" cards printed to send to special guests as soon as you have set the date so they don't arrange their holidays and miss your wedding.)
Wedding Images © Posh Photography www.poshphotos.com.au