Once you have finalized your list of prospective guests, it’s time to begin thinking about how you’ll share the news of your Big Day with your loved ones. Invitations and other stationery items are a key element to the process as your choices will have a lot to say about the tone and style of your wedding, in addition to conveying practical information. Your wedding invitation ensemble may include save-the-date cards, invitations, response cards, and various enclosures. And, you might also wish to order related thank you note cards, which you’re likely to use before and after the wedding.
Below is a quick look at some of the most important considerations when thinking about your stationery needs. As you consider your options, keep in mind that there is a wide price range for invitations; that you need to order enough invitations for each household (not each person) you’ll invite; and it’s always a good idea to order more than you’ll need. It’s also a good idea to plan to send out your invitation ensemble 6-8 weeks before the event.
Save the Date!
Frequently, couples begin to express their unique wedding themes or motifs with their save-the-dates. These handy little courtesy cards or magnets give your guests the heads-up that a date for your gay or lesbian wedding has been set. Those guests who must travel to your wedding will be able to arrange airfare and reserve hotel accommodations based your advance notice.
There are many choices that impact the per-invitation cost of your stationery suite. Paper quality and the printing process that is used can both have a dramatic effect on the bottom line. Enclosure cards, which provide guests with additional helpful information, may include response and menu details, wedding website directions, custom maps or GPS coordinates, and accommodations information. Each enclosure adds a per-piece cost as well as additional required postage at mailing. Custom design services can dramatically increase your invitation budget, while do-it-yourself options exist that can minimize the impact this category has on your overall expenses.
Couples living in or near major markets will have the opportunity to make appointments at brick-and-mortar stationery stores to pour over pages of save-the-dates and invitations in-person. Many others will start by searching the numerous sites available online where one can order everything needed for the invitation suite down to personalized postage, custom calligraphy, and creative seals. Take care, when ordering online, to request a physical proof of any paper product you order. These are generally available for a small fee, and will help you avoid the embarrassment of ordering something that looks great on the screen, but disappoints in person.
Electronic Alternatives to Printed Invitations
Save-the-dates, along with wedding invitations themselves, do come in budget-friendly, and ecologically responsible electronic form. If you have a large percentage of guests who are not technologically savvy, e-vites may not be ideal. However, if your crowd is plugged in, this format is emerging as a completely viable alternative to printed stationery products — especially when used for more informal wedding events or legal elopement ceremonies.
Whether you send printed or electronic invitations, it is important to give your guests enough time to consult their schedules, plan any necessary travel or time off, and respond accordingly. It is best to send invitations to out of town guests at least eight weeks prior to the wedding, and in-town guests four to six weeks prior. Request a response two to three weeks before the wedding. Remember, your caterer will require you to guarantee your final guest count anywhere from three to ten days before the wedding day, so build in enough time to follow up with any guests who may have forgotten or failed to respond.
Time is a special consideration for couples planning an elopement or destination wedding. While you may hold formal invitations for the last several weeks (or forgo them altogether for an intimate ceremony and instead invite your guests personally), as soon as air, hotel, and other applicable travel details are available, distribute that information to your guests, allowing them maximum time to budget and plan to share in your special day.
Same-Sex Wedding Invitation Etiquette
A common and important concern of gay and lesbian couples when drafting their invitations is how to properly word them. The etiquette on this is emerging as same-sex weddings flourish, and there are dozens of acceptable models to fit any circumstance. Know that invitations generally begin with the names of those who are hosting the event (the couple, the couple and their parents, just parents), and the rest of the wording is dictated by the style, location, and formality of your wedding. Sample wording is available through many reliable online resources including GayWeddings.com!
Where to Begin
There is much to consider when planning your guest list and selecting your invitations. Our website is full of the LGBT-friendly wedding providers, advice, and guidance that you need to successfully navigate this and all the phases of your same-sex wedding. We are delighted to invite you to start here!