Q: I have begun my search for invitations, but I really don’t know what I am looking for. It is like I am looking at quantum physics. ( I have no idea what I am looking at) I don't know what inserts I need, what the difference in the types of invitations are, what is the appropriate wording, I could go on and on…my head is about to explode looking at all the options. I have no start or end point. Please help! –The phony chemist!
A: Back away from the computer and give your head a rest a minute while I explain.
Step 1: Chose the type of invitation you want
Option 1: Offset Printing (Lithography) $$
How it looks-Ink sits on the surface of the paper. Nearly all modern printing is offset. Most short-run jobs are now being done digitally instead of offset as personal and trade machines become better and cheaper.Option 2: Letterpress $$$ (Invitation from Smock Paper)
How it looks-Your type or image will be indented into the paper. Using a raised surface printing plate or type, the depth of the resulting "bite" will vary depending upon the type of paper. Thicker, softer papers will carry a deeper impression than hard or thin papers.
Option 3: Engraving $$$$
How it looks-Your image is raised above the surface of the paper. Yields the sharpest image of all the traditional printing methods.
Option 4: Thermography $$$ (Invitation from Wedding Paper Divas)
How it looks-Ink is raised above the surface of the paper. It is an affordable imitation of engraving. Thermography can vary in price and quality greatly. The best thermography can be hard to tell apart from engraving, but even the best cannot reproduce the finest lines that can be achieved through engraving.
Option 5: Hand Painted $$$$ (Invitation from Momental Designs)
How it looks-AMAZING! Each invitation is hand painted. A piece of art to say the least. It is hard for me to describe these accurately or try and give them the justice they deserve…so check them out yourself at Momental Designs.
Step 2- Decide how many inserts you need.
Most importantly you need your RSVP card. This should have the date you need your guests to respond by. TIP: Leave yourself enough time to contact those guests that haven't yet responded. I suggest setting your RSVP date to at least 3-4 weeks prior to your wedding. If you are having a sit down dinner, your guests dinner choices should be listed with a blank beside each so you know which guest wants what dish. Nothing is worse than getting an RSVP card back with 1 beef, 2 chicken and not knowing if it was Mr. or Mrs. Jones that wanted the beef. This creates more work for you now. If you are having a buffet, there should be a line for the names of the guests and a line for the number attending.
Now decide on if you need an additional card for information. This could include hotels you have blocked off for guests at a group rate, weekend activities, directions or your wedding website. This is a great option to allow you to avoid more inserts. Your guests can use it to check out information on registries, wedding activities, and any other important information you feel they need to see. DO NOT PUT YOUR REGISTRY INFORMATION IN YOUR INVITIATIONS. This is tacky. If your guests want to know what to get you, all the need to is ask someone that is close to you or look on your website.
You will need an envelope for the RSVP to come back to you in. It should be pre-stamped and pre-addressed to you.
You will need an envelope for your invitation to be mailed. TIP: keep in mind you might have a heavy or oversized invitation that requires additional postage than normal. take one to your post office and have them weight it prior to sending them out.
You might want an additional/inner envelope. Etiquette says you should have this to specify who exactly you are inviting. For instance, the outside envelope will say Mr. and Mrs. Robby Smith and Family, the inner envelope will be more personal and have their first names Robby, Michelle, Mike and Tara (kids). This is also a great way to limit the number of guests your invited guests bring.
Step 4-Addressing of the envelopes
My personal favorite and most personal touch is having a calligrapher address your invitations. This can sometimes be more pricey than having the printer do it, but it is also much more personal and adds such an elegant touch. There are so many fun ways to use calligraphy! The other option is to hand address them yourselves. Nothing says you have to have someone else do them. Guests will honor the fact that you took the time yourself to address their invitations. Please NOTE: if you have handwriting like mine..please leave it to the professionals! It has to be legible. TIP:You need to give your guests enough time to respond as well, so I suggest you mail them out 1 month prior to your RSVP date.
And that is about it….I know I know… but really, it isn’t that bad. Besides, that is why you have a wedding coordinator…right!