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How To Complete Wedding Invitations

by Judith Rivers-Moore, The Wedding Coach

The Magic Invitation List

1. Give parents and yourself a deadline date to have the names, etc to you.  Instruct them on the exact number of guests they may invite.  If they want to add more than you originally choose to host, they should pay for their food and a larger site. 

2. Ask them to include the name, mr.mrs, ms, address, zip code,  phone number, e-mail and number of guests. 


price on invitations:  can range from .39 cents to $5. per invite.  Along with stamps, this can really add up. 

Services:  Some companies can print and mail out or do Clarigify Writing on the envelopes.


Our budget and size of the venue often dictate how many people can attend the wedding. Once you have determined the food budget and size of the wedding, it will be time to decide on how many will attend and stick to the list.  WHY?  Everyone you add to your list has a cost factor to feed them and the party rentals to keep them seated/comfortable. If you select a venue to that specific size, then you are stuck on adding more guests and may require a larger venue.  (These added guests can be very hard to afford and can become a management problem.) It means someone will need to be very firm on the guest list number. Whether you have forgotten them or your parents have, there must be a cut-off.)  Once those people have been chosen, by either you or the parents - stick with it.


Etiquette provides methods for dividing a formal invitation list among the families and couple. Yet in today's' world, our couples are much older as they marry, and often pay for more of their wedding. Plus the sequential marriages also falls under the newer formula of etiquette.  The list can comprise of 70% or more of the couple's desired guests. 15% of the names can be offered the parents to cover their desires.


Destination Weddings must be announced to the guests at least 9 months to a year in advance.  WHY, because people need to ask for vacation time, save up funds to travel to your destination, plus their hotels and food.  


We offer a form for invitations:  Yours should include:                                                                                      very important to gain caterer count later

Person's Name                            Address                               City                 Zip Code                      email  address      Phone Number   Replied Guest #


Who belongs on your personal List:

  • You and your Fiance
  • The groomsmen and the bridesmaids with each having 1 guest. (Sometimes, these people may have children and you will need to set a rule on children at the wedding here).
  • The wedding officiant and 1 guest
  • The wedding planner/coordinator & if they have a team of assistants
  • If there is a live band, you are responsible for a boxed lunch or a plated meal for each
  • You are responsible for a vendor break table

We still send invitations -- not emails or Facebook or phone call invitations. Etiquette offers many methods of sending the invitation, but no other precedent than the fact, social, business, bridal special events -- all require formal invitations. In selecting your invitation, you will want to consider the cost per entire set against the number of guests.


What Is Usually In The Invitations

  • The Envelope for the Invitation
  • The Reply Card and the Invitation
  • Possibly the Map to the Ceremony and another Map for the Reception Room + phone numbers of the sites.
  • It is important to weigh all this together for the correct postage to mail

CLUE: Saving Money: Weigh the combined items at the store prior to ordering. Check with postage cost for stamps. Often this jumps greatly with one or more ounces. It can bump you into a higher mailing cost. Reply cards normally can be stamped with the first class LOVE STAMPS.


ORDER INVITATIONS  SIX MONTHS AHEAD - Develop A Timeline on the exact week to address and the exact day to mail out the invitations.

If something is wrong, they can be re-done.......always order ten-twelve extra (errors are often made in addressing).

  • Define and make certain of the correct addresses and spellings of guests.
  •  A receiver of the invitation ... must have six weeks to a month prior to the event.
  • It takes five-seven days for the mail in U.S. and longer out of the country.
  • It may take two to three weeks to complete the addressing.
  • Really examine the invitations and envelopes for correct returns & info.
  • When you add up all of the time above, then look at your calendar - mark it according to what is next - and do it. This is not where you want to fall behind!!!!!


There is so much to choose from, Full-Page-letter-type, Color, Embossed, Engraved, & Themes. We suggest looking at local Invitation Stores found in our WeddingLinks.co menus.  some web sites for this subject before you go to a store or order from the web. The stores who specialize in this have trained person to guide you through the process and will know the correct questions to ask you. Go with correct spellings of names, accurate dates and times, the address of the occasion. You will seek a variety of key ingredients for your invitations: 

  • The workmanship in the displayed styles
  •  Ability to convey a visual message for your style event space for your wording - when you have messages to print
  • Choose an invitation with adequate room to place your information
  • The font choice. (letter formation).  Choosing a font also includes the numbers (these are part of the dates and times, and sometimes not recognized in print very well on invites.  This can make people late or on the wrong date.)
  • CLUE: There are wonderful invitation services with calligraphy and unique software systems which track your replies.
  • CLUE: It is sad to say, many people do forget to reply and you may have to call them at the very end to find out if they are planning to come. As rude as they are in this, you do not need any last minute surprises with the caterer and seating.

POSTAGE AND MAILING ISSUES

Get those invitations out properly (and on time) with these hassle-free postage pointers.

What Gets The Postage In The Invitation?

  • The Outside Envelope
  • The Inside Reply Envelope

Go to the post office with the exact weight or ask them to weigh the entire single invitation you are planning to send.  Ask if there's a single stamp for the exact amount. If not, round up the amount to save yourself some time.


CLUE: Set up a work area to complete this task.....the kitchen table may be dirty -- this includes putting the invitation stamps on -- you want clean surfaces for this job also.  (Do not leave these around children, dogs and cats that chew or have a discipline problem.)

We found a great way to get your stamps, zips and great information for mailings: If you know the weight: "http://www.stamps.com" .  This is a software program that allows you to print postage either directly onto the envelopes or onto labels that you peel and apply.  ZIP CODES


Verify all addresses. Both the "http://new.usps.com/cgi- bin/uspsbv/scripts/front.jsp" US Postal Service, and Stamps.com have tools to help you get ZIP+4 codes just right. You simply enter an address as you have it, and up pops the proper ZIP code.


There are some very good addressing and mailing services found today.  If you are very short on time, these may be very welcome.

VistaPrint.com offers this service when you complete your invitations with them.


Special TIPS...

MAIL THEM FROM A POST OFFICE -- NOT A POST BOX ON THE STREET CORNER

LEAVING IT UP TO THE POST OFFICE TO PLACE YOUR POSTAGE Is not a good idea, they will run them through a machine.......ugh. You want hand placed stamps on invitations.

EXTRA POSTAGE - Is required for any out of the country mailings. Check with the post office on these details.

STAMPS ARE BEAUTIFUL - Sometimes, by reviewing what the post office offers in stamps, you may find your special interest, or love stamps and/or holiday themes


Wedding Invitation Tips

Couples often want to send out "Save The Date Cards". These are sent as soon as you have your date set with the event location.

Who receives An Invitation: The entire wedding party, parents, children in families eighteen and over should receive their own invite.

Depending on the style, you will want: invites & envelopes (extra twenty)

reply cards & envelopes (extra twenty)

love stamps for both types of envelope

The Free Wedding Planning Book has a great invitation management form. In today's world you will want to accumulate names, addresses with zips, phone numbers with area codes and e-mail addresses.

The Invitation Preparation Tips have a great deal to do with your timeline on the wedding:

  • 1. Select the invitation according to the style of your wedding and your personalities.
  • 2. Go over the invitation message several times for spelling, dates, times and locations.
  • 3. With a Hand Design or Calligraphy Invite: Place your order six months prior.
  • With Embossed and Printers - Place your order three months prior
  • With an Online Store - Gain a turn around time from their website and plan 3 months ahead.
  • 4. Begin ADDRESSING the envelopes and prepare for mailing by four weeks prior to the wedding day.
  • Track all replies for food count. Do not wait to e-mail or call past TWO weeks prior to the wedding - as the caterer will need a head count by the last week.