Chances are you or someone you know is planning a wedding. A big part of the wedding day is being surrounded by those who matter most to the two of you.
In this post I am going to walk you through the steps of putting together a wedding invitation. And of course answer the question; “What to print (and not to print) on wedding invitations.” After all, the last thing you want is your guests arriving at the wrong wedding or not receiving any wedding gifts from those who could not attend.
It’s All in the Theme!
Your wedding invitation does more than provide a time and location. It allows your guests to experience a preview of what to expect at your wedding and what the theme will be.
For example, let’s say your wedding is a summer time, mid afternoon ocean front location on the beach. You wouldn’t want an invitation that has a couple in formal attire on it and expect your guest to know what “casual” or “semi casual” attire means when they read your invitation. The conflict between the couple shown in formal attire and the invitation wording will send confusing messages. You will have unhappy guests when they arrive to your wedding in the wrong attire.
It is fine if you didn’t know your wedding theme when you sent out the “Save the Dates.” However, by the time you send out your invitations, 1-3 months before the ceremony, you will have a theme. Just make sure the theme of your invitation matches the theme or flow for your wedding.
If you are wondering about “Save the Dates” you can read more about them on my post here.
Font or Font
I personally LOVE the pretty cursive and decorative fonts that people use on invitations. However, I chose not to use any of them on my wedding invitations. Here are a few things to keep in mind when choosing wedding invitation fonts.
- Know the average age group of your guests.
- The majority of couples getting married are in their 20’s or 60’s. Many schools stoped teaching cursive about 15 years ago. When your guests are in the first age bracket you may want to stay away from cursive fonts. On the other hand, using a cursive font may be fine if the majority of your guests are in the second age bracket. Just make sure the font is large enough for all of your guests to read. A safe font size is 12-14 pt.
- Make sure the color of your font does not blend in with your invitation theme or background. Here is where you want to pay close attention to where your words are on the invitation. If your background is a picture or has different colors in it, you will not be able to use the same color of font throughout the invitation.
- Try to choose 1-2 font colors that are neutral for your text. Black, Grey and White are common font color options.
- If you really want to use that fancy font, go for it! But use it with your names and choose a classic font for the details.
By now your guests have a good idea of what your wedding theme is and have been captivated by the font. It’s time to let them know where they are going and when. Your “Save the Dates” are meant to provide basic information so now you get to provide the specifics.
You will want to include the ceremony and reception locations. Most of the time it will be the same place so you only need to list it once. However, when there are two locations make sure you list the ceremony TIME and LOCATION first. Ideally, you want to keep the font size the same for both locations.
If you decide to changing the font size make sure the ceremony information is larger than the reception. This will ensure that your guests will get to your wedding ceremony. If they have questions, which they ALWAYS will, about the second location that can be answered at the ceremony by other guests, wedding party, DJ or Officiant at the end of the ceremony.
As a wedding officiant, I always inform the guests of the next location or place to go immediately following the ceremony. This server two purposes, it prevents all the guests from overwhelming the newly-weds with congratulatory gestures and confirms the guests next course of action.
After you list the time and locations for the ceremony and reception you want to confirm the attire and number of guests that are allowed to accompany the invited guest.
Finally, you will want to include information for those who are traveling to the wedding. Another general rule of thumb is to block off a set of hotel rooms or provide hotel options for your traveling guests.
When there are 5 or more families or couples traveling for your wedding it is courteous to block off a set of rooms at one hotel. Many times when you get a block of rooms your guests can receive a discount on their stay or you can receive a discount on renting the hotel’s ball room.
Since the accommodation portion is the last thing on the invitations it is normally listed on the reverse side or at the bottom of the invitation. When listing any information on the reverse side you need to let your guest know that it is there by adding an arrow or telling them to flip the invitation over.
Do I need Invitation Inserts?
Your guest now have everything they need to know to show up on time, in the proper attire and at the right place. There’s still a few more things you need from them and they need from you.
Inserts provide answers to three general questions.
- What are your guests going to eat?
- This insert is normally for formal wedding receptions and provides 2-3 entree options to choose from.
- How many guests are attending?
- A fill in the blank sentence asking for the number of guests that will attend the wedding from that household will be listed on the same insert as the food options.
- Where can your guests find your wedding registry?
- Guests don’t like to come empty-handed. And some guests will not be able to attend your wedding but would still like to send a congratulatory gift. This is your chance to go all out and add everything to your registry. Just make sure your guests know where to find the registry and that you have options for all price ranges.
Thank’s to the internet, many couples forgo the invitation inserts and still get the information they need. Wedding sites like TheKnot.com and WeddingWire.com offer couples free websites to set up their wedding information for their guest. While this does not replace the wedding invitation, it can replace the invitation inserts.
Ask your guests to RSVP on your wedding website and provide the details on the invitation. Once they get to your wedding website they will be able to select their meal and will be provided a link to your wedding registry.
So now you know what to print on your wedding invitation and how to best prepare your guest for your wedding day. As I mentioned before, make sure you send your invitations out 1-3 months before your ceremony day.
Guests that are traveling for your wedding can get better rates on their rooms and flights if they book 3 months in advance. Local guests won’t need as much time to prepare for tour wedding. However, you want to make sure they are available on your wedding day so you want to give them at least a month’s notice.
In the end, never assume that you guests “know” any of the details or expectations for YOUR wedding. The invitations are the time and place to provide that information in a short and simple way.
If you liked this post and are interested in some suggestions on the best places to purchase wedding invitations or how to DIY your invitations head on over to my DIY Wedding Invitation post.
As always, I love feedback so if you have questions or comments please leave them below.