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What’s in an invitation? That which we call an invite, by any other name would do the trick… or something like that... Like Shakespeare, I could wax lyrical about the things you can, should and shouldn't include in a wedding invitation, but there are much more important things for you to be spending your time worrying about. As long as your guests know where they're going, when they're to arrive, and what it's all in aid of, then you've cracked it. You can stop reading now!
If you're interested in a deeper dive, please feel free to carry on...
There are two sides to this- of course, who you (the couple) are is an important aspect. You have the choice between using just your first names, going all out and including your middle names, or anywhere in between. All you need to consider is if your guests will recognise you on paper. For close family and friends, this is most likely a non-issue. However, if you are inviting more distant family members you may need to use your full names to make sure the penny drops.
The other side is who exactly is doing the inviting? Are you hosting the wedding yourselves or is it being hosted by one or both of your sets of parents? This could alter the wording of your invitation and is something you'll need to think about.
First of all, you'll be letting your guests know what day the celebrations are to take place. As midweek weddings are becoming more popular I would personally recommend spelling out what day your wedding is to take place so that your guests know, at a glance, if they will have to alter any plans or book any time off work.
Secondly, the time. Many couples worry that putting the start time of their ceremony will mean that their guests will arrive 'fashionably late', missing (and even worse, interrupting) the most important part of the whole day. On some level, this is a case of knowing your crowd. However, in all of the weddings I have attended I have not once encountered a late arrival. Generally speaking, wedding guests are very punctual, even arriving early to be directed to their seats.
The issue in choosing to note an earlier start time is that guests who would normally arrive early have an even longer wait.
If you are still concerned about habitually tardy guests, I would perhaps recommend a note below the ceremony time that suggests 'please arrive by XX:XX to be seated' and set that time to be 15-30 minutes earlier.
In a day and age of satnavs and Google Maps, a map or lengthy written directions are not strictly necessary. Giving your guests the name, address and postcode of the venue(s) should be more than enough!
The only real difference here is if your venue is in a particularly remote area or if there are any restrictions, such as parking. In these instances, it may be worth thinking about including a note on an additional details card or on your wedding website to mention this.
Your guests need to know why they're getting this lovely bit of stationery! Invitations are sent for all kinds of reasons- birthdays, christenings, baby showers, anniversary celebrations, the list goes on.
Weddings are a momentous occasion and your guests will no doubt be very excited, letting them know what exactly to be excited about is a key part of the cards you are sending.
A DETAILS CARD
Once you've got the invitation wording boxed off, you should consider any extras you need. As mentioned earlier, it might be handy to have an extra details card to give your guests more information. If you have reserved hotel rooms, given a choice of meals for the wedding breakfast or booked any transport to and from your wedding, this would be the ideal place to let your guests know.
Traditional etiquette does advise that any information on gift lists should not be included within the invitation but I think this is nonsense. Weddings are an occasion for which people like to give gifts. To not specify what you would like means that you are likely to end up with a lot of what you don't want or need. Surely you would prefer your guests not waste their money over obeying old and stuffy rules about etiquette? Again, this is where a details card could come in handy. A small section with reference to a gift registry, a note about charitable donations made in the name of the couple or a cute poem about cash towards a honeymoon all fit perfectly on a card like this.
AN RSVP CARD
There are a number of ways to ask your guests to let you know if they are able to attend, an RSVP card is just one of those options. You could ask your guests to text, email or fill in a form on your wedding website- no doubt any option you chose will have you chasing up one or two late responders... However, in my view, nothing could be more straightforward than asking your guests to write their name, tick a couple of boxes and send back a card in an already stamped and addressed envelope. Plus, it's really exciting to watch those little cards gradually drop through the letterbox!
BELLY BANDS AND ENVELOPE LINERS
So you've trawled the web and finally found the wedding stationery set that matches everything you want and need. Something about that design has clearly caught your eye and captured your imagination, why not let your imagination run away with you? Simple extras like a belly band to hold your cards together or an envelope liner for another pop of colour or pattern only serve to show off your theme and the whole design even more. Who ever said that more of what you love is a bad thing?