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Planning and selection of wedding invitations

Planning and Selection

Plan your wedding invitations early. Begin creating your guest list as soon as possible. Ask your parents and the groom's parents for a list of the people they would like to invite. You and your fiancÚ should make your own list. Make certain that all names are spelled correctly and that all addresses are current. Determine if you wish to include children; if so, add their names to your list. All children over the age of 16 should receive their own wedding invitations.

Order your unique wedding cards at least 3-4 months before the wedding.  Wedding invitations are traditionally issued by the bride's parents; but if the groom's parents are assuming some of the wedding expenses, the unique wedding invitations should be in their names also. Mail all invitations at the same time, 6 - 8 weeks before the wedding.

There are three types of printing  for designer wedding invitations: engraved, thermography, and offset printing. Engraving is the most expensive, traditional and formal type of printing. It also takes the longest to complete. In engraved printing, stationery is pressed onto a copper plate, which makes the letters rise slightly from the page. Thermography is a process that fuses powder and ink to create a raised letter. This takes less time than engraving and is less expensive because copper plates do not have to be engraved. Offset printing, the least expensive, is the quickest to produce and offers a variety of styles and colors. It is also the least formal.

Things To Consider: If all your guests are to be invited to both the ceremony and the reception, a combined invitation may be sent without separate enclosure cards. Order one invitation for each married or cohabiting couple that you plan to invite. The officiant and his/her spouse as well as your attendants should receive an invitation.

Order approximately 20% more stationery than your actual count. Allow a minimum of 1-2 weeks to address and mail the high-end scroll wedding invitations, longer if using a calligrapher or if your guest list is very large. You may also want to consider ordering invitations to the rehearsal dinner, as these should be in the same style as the wedding invitation.


Response cards are enclosed with the wedding invitations to determine the number of people who will be attending your wedding. They are the smallest card size accepted by the postal service and should be printed in the same style as the wedding invitation. An invitation to only the wedding ceremony does not usually include a request for a reply. However, response cards should be used when it is necessary to have an exact head count for special seating arrangements. Response cards are widely accepted today. If included, these cards should be easy for your guests to understand and use. Include a self-addressed and stamped return envelope to make it easy for your guests to return the response cards.


If the guest list for the ceremony is larger than that for the reception, a separate card with the date, time and location for the reception should be enclosed with the ceremony invitation for those guests also invited to the reception. Reception cards should be placed in front of the invitation, facing the back flap and the person inserting them. They should be printed on the same quality paper and in the same style as the invitation itself.

Things To Consider: You may also include a reception card in all your wedding invitations if the reception is to be held at a different site than the ceremony.


If the guest list for the reception is larger than the guest list for the ceremony, a special insertion card with the date, time and location for the ceremony should be enclosed with the reception invitation for those guests also invited to the ceremony.

Ceremony cards should be placed in front of the wedding invitation, facing the back flap and the person inserting them. They should be printed on the same quality paper and in the same style as the invitation itself.


Pew cards may be used to let special guests and family members know they are to be seated in the reserved section on either the bride's side or the groom's side. These are most typically seen in large, formal ceremonies. Guests should take this card to the ceremony and show it to the ushers, who should then escort them to their seats.

Options: Pew cards may indicate a specific pew number if specific seats are assigned, or may read "Within the Ribbon" if certain pews are reserved but no specific seat is assigned.

Things To Consider: Pew cards may be inserted along with the invitation, or may be sent separately after the RSVPs have been returned. It is often easier to send them after you have received all RSVPs so you know how many reserved pews will be needed.


These cards are enclosed when guests are invited to an outdoor ceremony and/or reception, informing them of an alternate location in case of bad weather. As with other enclosures, rain cards should be placed in front of the wedding invitation, facing the back flap and the person inserting them. They should be printed on the same quality paper and in the same style as the invitation itself.


Maps to the ceremony and/or reception are becoming frequent inserts in scroll wedding invitations. They need to be drawn and printed in the same style as the invitation and are usually on a small, heavier card. If they are not printed in the same style or on the same type of paper as the invitation, they should be mailed separately.

Options: Maps should include both written and visual instructions, keeping in mind the fact that guests may be coming from different locations.

Things To Consider: Order extra maps to hand out at the ceremony if the reception is at a different location.

Tips To Save Money: If you are comfortable with computers, you can purchase software that allows you to draw your own maps. Print a map to both the ceremony and reception on the same sheet of paper, perhaps one on each side. This will save you the cost of mailing two maps. Or have your ushers hand out maps to the reception after the ceremony.


Announcements are not obligatory but serve a useful purpose. They may be sent to friends who are not invited to the wedding because the number of guests must be limited, or because they live too far away. They may also be sent to acquaintances who, while not particularly close to the family, might still wish to know of the marriage.

Announcements are also appropriate for friends and acquaintances who are not expected to attend and for whom you do not want to give an obligation of sending a gift. They should include the day, month, year, city, and state where the ceremony took place.

Things To Consider: Announcements should never be sent to anyone who has received an invitation to the ceremony or the reception. They are printed on the same paper and in the same style as the wedding invitations. They should be addressed before the wedding and mailed the day of or the day after the ceremony.


Don't forget to budget stamps for response cards as well as for designer wedding invitations!

Things To Consider: Don't order stamps until you have had the post office weigh your completed wedding invitation. It may exceed the size and weight for one stamp. Order commemorative stamps that fit the occasion.


Calligraphy is a form of elegant handwriting often used to address invitations for formal occasions. Traditional wedding invitations should be addressed in black or blue fountain pen.

Options: You may address the unique wedding invitations yourself, hire a professional calligrapher, or have your invitations addressed using calligraphy by computer. Make sure you use the same method or person to address both the inner and outer envelopes.

To schedule your consultation, call our office at 1-718-676-9146

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