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How to order your Wedding Invitations

It's time! You finalized your guest list, sent out your save the dates, and now it is time to order your wedding invitations.  This is an exciting time!  Receiving your wedding invitation should be a special treat for your guests, so there are a few things to consider from both a practical and a creative standpoint.

What pieces do you need to include?  Most invitation suites come with a minimum of four pieces-invitation, outer envelope, reply card, and reply envelope.  Think about your different events.  If your wedding is being held at a different location than your reception, you will need to have a separate card inviting your guests to the reception. The reason for this is that they are two different events.  If both ceremony and reception are at the same location, it is acceptable to list both events on the invitation.

Greenery wedding invitation with custom map

Photo by Rachel Halsey Photography

Will you be having a Welcome Party the day before or a Brunch the day after the wedding?  If so, you may want an enclosure card for those events.  And if you have a website, a small details card is a good idea. It will remind your guests of your website and remind them to book their accommodations.

Find out from your reception venue if you need to have an option for different dinner selections on your reply card.  You will need that information when you are ordering your invitations.

How many invitations should you order?  Keep in mind that many of your guests will be attending as a couple.  So be sure to get your guest list together before placing your order!  I always tell my couples to order a few extras. It is more cost effective than having a second print run at a later date.  Typically, it is good to order ten or so extra sets that would be used for changed addresses or last minute additions.

If you are hiring a calligrapher (and I can't state this strongly enough!)...order at least 20% more envelopes above the number of invitations.  Hand addressing is a timely task, even for the most seasoned professional.  {As a side note, if you are purchasing invitations from us and hiring me to do your calligraphy, there is no need to order extra envelopes...we will provide them complimentary as part of our addressing service.}

Oyster shell invitation

Photo by Melissa Mullen Photography

When should the invitations go in the mail?  Typically, if you send out a save the date, the invitations should be mailed 6-8 weeks before the wedding.  If you live in a tourist town where the accommodations will be snatched up early for summer, or if you are getting married on a holiday weekend, you may want to mail your invitations on the earlier side.  If you are having a destination wedding where everyone will be flying in from somewhere to celebrate, you should send them about 3 months before the wedding.  When you create the reply card wording with your stationer, you may want to ask your guests where they are staying and when they will be arriving. 

Keep this timeline in mind when you are ordering your invitations.  Be sure to give yourself plenty of time to address and assemble your invitations.  When our clients order both invitations and calligraphy services from us, one of our special extras that we provide is a complimentary assembly service.  We carefully address by hand, assemble, and mail your invitations for you.  The price charged for calligraphy is significantly lower than the cost for someone purchasing invitations elsewhere and coming to us for calligraphy alone.  It's a great service!

How can you give your wedding invitations a real WOW factor?  At El's Cards, we think the best first impression of your invitation (and your wedding in general) is with a beautiful envelope!  We love to put a little artwork on the envelope and find that in addition to calligraphy, receiving these envelopes is like getting a gift in the mail.  

Another great special touch is by adding an envelope liner for a pop of color when your guests open the invitation. If your invitation is on the more traditional side, it's a great idea to really make it special with the liner. 

Hydrangea wedding suite

Photo by Scarlet Roots

If you have a few pieces included, you may want to pull it together and tie it with a sweet, simple ribbon.  Or you may choose a burlap sash or a belly band.  A custom stamp is also a great way to add some personality to your invitation.  Below, you see how the couple's dogs stole the show on the envelope!

Sailboat wedding invitation with custom map

Photo by Snap! Weddings

Then there is the custom map option! This is a super special and custom addition that will really make a big impression on your guests.  If you want to order a map, be sure to reach out early. This is a custom item and takes a good amount of time to create.  Sometimes these fun maps can double as an envelope liner as you see in the invitation shown above.

Of course, I love all paper products and especially wedding invitations!  When you are selecting your invitations, above all, be sure you choose a style that speaks to you both as a couple. 

Email El at ellen@elscards.com to set up a meeting or schedule a call to discuss your wedding invitations.

Cover photo by Kelli Dillon Photo