Photo: Hunter Ryan Photo
Once you've decided on your guest list, you've gotten through the most harrowing part of the wedding invitation process! Now, all you have to do is address the envelopes and send them out. While you may be overly eager to get them in the mail, one mistake could cost you big. Take your time, and keep these pointers in mind so a huge stack of envelopes doesn't wind up right back in your mailbox!
1. Being careless about titles and names
Just because we're all living in an ever-changing digital world, proper etiquette, especially when it comes to your wedding invitations, is still very much alive and appreciated, points out Ceci Johnson, Founder and Creative Director of Ceci New York. Know the appropriate titles for your guests. "For example, Mr. shouldn't be used for a doctor," she warns. "Likewise, do your best to confirm any names you're unsure of, and keep in mind that these days many women don't change their last names with marriage, and those that are divorced may still use their married name." Yes, it can be tricky, but a little extra effort will go a long way.
2. Failing to order extra envelopes
This is a must, whether you're writing out addresses yourself or hiring a professional to do it for you. As Johnson explains, calligraphers like to have a few spare envelopes to test for color matching and alignment and, of course, human error. "For my clients working directly with us, we automatically supply our calligraphers with at least 25 additional envelopes for all of their set-up needs," she says. Managing the process on your own? Johnson recommends checking in with your calligrapher to see how many extra he or she prefers. "10-15% is a good rule of thumb, but it's always best to ask."
3. Not weighing your invitation sets before buying stamps
This one could cost you precious time and money! That's why Tom Hart, designer and co-founder of Jolly Edition, strongly advises brides to find out what the exact weight of their entire invitation set (including the RSVP card and return envelope, information card, etc.) is before buying stamps. "Particularly if they're super fancy, vintage or custom designed stamps." It's also wise to weigh your sets at the same post office you plan on mailing them from, adds Johnson. "Believe it or not, each location can be wildly inconsistent and may provide you with varying information."
4. Forgetting to check postage rates
We bet you didn't even think of doing this, now did you? Prior to even ordering any postage, you'll want to make sure there isn't a rate increase on the horizon, cautions Johnson. "A quick Google search should let you know, as you not only need your invitations to reach your guests, but also for the replies to get back to you," she notes. Double-check the rates one last time the day of or day prior to sending them off.
5. Formatting your address spreadsheet poorly
This could be especially disastrous if you're doing envelope printing or using a calligrapher that wouldn't know your mom doesn't, in fact, live in Maine. "Create a simple spreadsheet that's separate from your other financial and logistical spreadsheets, and omit any notes that might find their way onto the envelopes," directs Hart. "Everyone will be embarrassed by, 'do we really have to invite him?' winding up on your envelope."
6. Getting international addresses and postage wrong
If you're not sure how to properly format or write out an international address, hit the Internet to see some examples. "Remember that your international guests will require more postage, and their reply envelopes shouldn't be stamped with U.S. postage; you'll either need their local postage or to leave it blank for them to reply," says Johnson.