You Are Cordially Invited– Rules Of Engagement When Sending Out Invitations

So my daughter decided to tie the knot and thus began the tug of war between us–mother and daughter challenge of who does what and I often heard– whose wedding is it anyway?  And several times I was reminded it was not mine.

Never mind this is my profession and I have planned countless of weddings in my 30 plus years in the industries and forget the fact I am surrounded with none other than the industries top tier wedding professionals, events producers, and industry gurus.  That meant very little in the grand scheme of things.  So I humbly withdrew and picked my battles wisely and advised when requested and stood my ground when absolutely necessary.

Thank goodness for me I have notable friends in all areas of the industry and they were able to make this occasion as stress-free and enjoyable as possible.

One of our biggest challenges was the invitations.  She wanted none- and I wanted the whole shebang.   We compromised in the middle and it all worked out.   But for you brides that are about to embark on the same challenges here is some advice from the experts– brought to you with love.

We are going to start with the invites because your guests need time to plan.  Whether it is a local wedding or a destination wedding be thoughtful people have to plan their budgets.


We caught up with WBM Friend Claudia Hanlin–founder of the Wedding Library and asked her to give you guys some much-needed tips to get you started on the topic of invitations.

When should Save The Date’s be mailed out and is it necessary?

I think it’s necessary under a few circumstances.  1. When it’s a destination wedding and hotels and flights need to be booked. 2. When hotels are scarce or become expensive when booked during high season. 3. When many guests are traveling long distances 4. When you want to get a firm handle on your guest list because of venue capacity, budget, “B” list, etc. 5. When you’re holding a weekend wedding with activities on more than just the wedding day.  6. When you’re getting married on a popular “wedding” or vacation day/time.  Also, if all of your friends are getting married, best to give an earlier “heads up” to friends who may be invited to multiple events that day.

It’s not necessary, but if you don’t, try to at least send an email to most guests sending them to a well-developed wedding web site (with information about hotels, travel and weekend events.)  Both sets of parents can also notify their friends and family this way.

With today’s society being so digitally inclined is it still necessary to send out paper invites?

A wedding is a special occasion and every couple will spend many, many hours planning it.  A paper invitation is an indication that this a special, important event and I believe it is a representation of how significant it is to you to have it printed.

Is it important to include RSVP return cards?

It is imperative that guests have a way to respond.  Whether that’s an email address or an rsvp card is up to you.  However, I personally do not like the way an email address looks on the actual wedding invitation, so I would prefer a separate card (with the rsvp email) or a traditional rsvp card.  Alternatively, if you direct guests to a wedding URL, it is possible to accept RSVPs on a web site — this is particularly useful if you have a very large list and a LOT of events to respond to.  It’s also good if guests have to choose their mail and provide other information to you — like transportation needs, dietary restrictions, where they are staying (for gift bags), arrival times/dates and other information.

How does one go about selecting a design, based on a color scheme, the theme of the wedding or other?

I always start with understanding the wedding vibe (hipster, chic, traditional), knowing the venue (hotel, chateau, barn), the season, and the couple (and their family).  Then I educate them on print methods — letterpress, engraving, flat printing, etc.  Once I understand what they like, and that could also start with an inspiration board, I begin to show them books of ideas that are relevant to their event.  Sometimes it will be entirely custom so it’s more about looking at artists, colors, paper stock, and fonts.  I always consider the budget and steer them to solutions that can accommodate that.  


Please give us tips on shopping for invites?

First, get ideas on the Internet of invites you like.  Next, be educated on print methods and their respective costs (if you’re budget conscious).  Understand how customization can escalate the costs of your invites.  I try to look at a client’s stationery holistically — I look at their ENTIRE stationery budget, allocate an appropriate amount to the invitation suite first, then allocate budget to all the other pieces they need (save the date, menu card, program, calligraphy, postage, place cards, escort cards, custom cocktail napkins, etc.)  I think the biggest mistake couples make is to spend too much on their save the date card and invitation suite, without considering everything that follows.  Printed materials are costly, and add up.  Other than flowers they are part of your wedding that can make the experience very personal, stylish and editorial and Instagram-worthy!  Also, try to use fewer vendors — every company will have different paper stocks, proprietary fonts, and artwork.  Sticking with one vendor will be cost-effective, will create greater consistency, provide fewer headaches and simply look better.


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