Photos: Courtesy of Invitations by Dawn
It's not called an invitation suite for nothing! From the save-the-date to the actual invitation to the all-important thank-you note, wedding correspondence is all about pretty paper goods—and we wouldn't have it any other way! But if your head is swimming from stationery overload and you can't tell a reception card from a response card, we've compiled a helpful guide outlining everything you could need to stuff in an envelope. (We also included super helpful tips from stationery specialists and Brides Live Wedding sponsors Invitations by Dawn to make sure the mail goes out without a hitch!)
1. Wedding Invitation
Wedding invitations should be sent 4-8 weeks prior to your wedding date. And though it may seem obvious what should be written on an invite, Invitations by Dawn etiquette expert Shanna Zuelch says couples commonly (and surprisingly) forget to include key details like time, date, ceremony location and/or reception location. So check over your invite, and then check it twice! As for less obvious additions to your invitation, consider corner copy. "Corner copy is a great place for quick bits of information, such as 'reception following ceremony,' if they're in the same location," says Zuelch. "You can also use corner copy for 'no gifts please' or a note about attire."
2. Reception Card
If you have room on the bottom of your invitation to fit reception info, you may be able to save money and forgo the reception card. However, if space is tight, you will need to include a reception card with wording that indicates the formality and nature of the event. "If you are hosting a reception before 1 p.m., the first line should say 'Breakfast Reception.' Anything after 1 p.m. is just 'Reception," Zuelch advises. "Do you want to indicate a sit-down meal? The first line should read 'Dinner Reception.'"
As for the oft-contested younger guests, if you'd like to throw an adults-only affair, you should notify guests through word-of-mouth and by the names addressed in the invitation. If you must include an "Adults-Only Reception" line, do so on the reception card, and as the last line, says Zuelch.
3. Direction Card
Don't leave guests to their own devices (or Google maps) when it comes to getting to your wedding on time. "Carefully consider the font you use on your direction cards," says Zuelch. "It's important to make sure the font is easy to read for all of your guests." Even if you do send a card, you should still list the directions to your venue and its address on your wedding website.
4. Response Card
When sending response cards, don't forget to include a stamp for your guests' convenience. Zuelch advises to "number the names on your guest list, and then write that number on the back of the corresponding response card. You can then look up responses by number just in case you can't read the handwriting or someone forgets to include his or her name." When using an online response service, be considerate of older generations, says Zuelch. Be aware of guests who may not be comfortable using computers and send them a response card instead.
5. Accommodation Card
You don't have to send accommodation cards to everyone, just to out-of-town guests. "Including a deadline for making reservations on your accommodations card is optional but helpful," suggests Zuelch. "Rooms can book up fast, so it's nice to give your guests a date to shoot for." If you're covering guests' accommodations, it's proper etiquette to indicate that on the accommodation card, says Zuelch.
6. Inner Envelope
This is the place to clearly write the names of each wedding guest, "to indicate exactly who is (and isn't) invited to the wedding," says Zuelch. When placing the inner envelope inside the outer one, make sure the guests' names are clearly visible so you don't get any surprise plus-ones!
7. Outer Envelope
Don't forget the stamp! Luckily, you don't have to hand write the addresses yourself—many stationery companies offer addressing services. One final tip: "Envelope moisteners are lifesavers when assembling hundreds of wedding invitations!" says Zuelch.