With days full of email, Facebook posts and Tweets, there’s something divine about receiving a beautifully custom-crafted wedding invitation in your mailbox. Invitations set the tone of your wedding, let your guests know what to expect, and introduce your wedding colors and theme. Invitations created by Hitch Design Studio are unique for each bride, capturing the reflections of the couples who inspire them. (Bring in your samples, swatches, Pinterest Boards…everything! We’ll use them for inspiration, but never to copy.) Your stationery will become a treasured keepsake that will make the announcement of your special soiree that much more memorable to you, family and friends.
Let Hitch answer some common wedding invitation questions for you! Here’s a quick primer on how to put your party in the mailbox:
Q: What pieces go into a wedding invitation? Do I have to include them all?
ANSWER: Four traditional pieces to into a typical invitation order:
1. Invitation — This masterpieces shows off your great style while telling people the who, what, where, when.
2. Response Cards (Envelope optional) — Postcard-style RSVP cards are very common, which means you can skip the envelope and higher postage that comes with it! Fun things to include on your RSVP cards include “Circle your dinner choice” and “If you play this song ___________, you’ll find us on the dance floor.”
3. Reception Cards — The celebration continues! This card can be two-sided and also include accommodations, dinner, dancing, cocktails, map and wedding website information.
4. Outer Envelope (Inner Envelope optional) — Use your envelope to add a pop of color coming through the mail! Or add a pattern to the envelope liner for that accent color as a fun surprise. Inner envelopes hold your invitation and enclosure cards together and are addressed with the names of each individual guest invited. Oftentimes, the inner envelope is skipped to save money and names are written formally on the outer envelope.
Extras you can order (so all the printed material at your wedding coordinates):
5. Thank you Notes
6. Rehearsal Dinner Invitations
7. Local Maps and Attractions Card
8. Transportation and Hotel Information Card
9. Ceremony Programs
10. Menu Cards
11. Escort Cards
12. Table Numbers
13. Favor Tags
14. Signage (directional or other) or Banners
15. Printed Napkins
16. Bridal Shower Invitations
17. Bachelorette Party Invites
Q: What does your paper choice, font choice, color choice and theme say about you and your wedding?
ANSWER: Find out what your invitation says about your wedding’s personality in these top 10 listings (see all of them in order in the gallery below):
1. Romantic and whimsical (Styling and romantic fonts and colors)
2. Conservative and sweet (Meet your conservative parents halfway by making the invitation a bold color, yet still sweet.
3. Theatrical and themed (They loved film and movies!)
4. Say Cheese and be personal (Using your engagement photos on your invitation)
5. Sweet and reverent (They even used their favorite quotes and Bible versus on their invitation)
6. Country Chic (Love the lace and twine with kraft paper envelopes)
7. Fresh and Stylish (What a great way to keep all the pieces of their wedding invitation together)
8. Monochromatic (They used a plastic vellum to print on!)
9. Color-Blocking (A fun and energetic way to introduce your wedding)
10. Classic and contemporary (Probably our most popular wedding stationery set of all time)
Q: What are some paper and ink choices in various price ranges so I know what to expect?
ANSWER: There are several paper and ink choices and are listed here in order of price:
1. Digital offset printing — Also known as flat printing, which means the ink gets printed right on the paper and can bleed off the edges, creating a seamless effect. This is the fastest and least expensive method.
Hitch offers these digital-friendly papers (each comes in white or off-white/natural color):
- Matte Silk Paper
- Shimmery Pearlized Paper
- Feltweave Paper, which is textured like burlap
- Cotton Paper, which is thick, fibrous paper with a truly matte look
2. Thermography printing — This is a heat-based process that prints ink at a raised level. (You can actually feel the letters raised.) It’s not easy to achieve with pastel ink, so it’s best used for dark colors instead.
3. Engraving printing — This effect is created using an etched metal plate (rather expensive) and presses lettering onto the paper and then tops it off with ink. )This is the original reason invitations needed a layer of tissue paper between sheets.)
4. Embossing printing — Just like engraving, this process uses a plate, but it doesn’t use ink. It’s most often used to create dramatic monograms or borders.
5. Letterpress printing– Can we just say that we LOVE letterpress?! It’s a really old-fashioned technique that is dominating the modern wedding invitation world. The design and the ink are literally pressed into the paper, creating a design that you can actually feel, most often used on a cotton, fibrous paper. This method is pricey, but worth it!!
6. Foil stamping — You would use foil stamping to print white “ink” on black paper, for example. The opaque foil is stamped onto the paper, making metallic gold or silver foils so lovely!
Q: What are some general tips to keep in mind for wedding invitations?
ANSWER: A professional wedding stationer or a wedding planner can walk you through all these details or answer more questions. In no particular order, here come some general wedding invitation tips:
1. Make a list of guests’ names, assign each a number (maybe from your Excel spreadsheet row numbers), then write the corresponding number on the back of each reply card. Guests often forget to put their names on their RSVP cards.
2. Meet with your stationer about 4-6 months before the wedding and order custom invitations 4-6 weeks in advance. If you’re short on time for printing, definitely choose digital offset! Hiring an expert will help with etiquette issues, wording and common mistakes to avoid. It’s worth it to hire a wedding stationer for this rather than an online site.
3. Guests over age 18 should receive their own invite, even if they live with their parents. Couples living together who aren’t married can share one invite. Remember, couples and families only receive one invitation, so your guest count number will be much higher than your invitation count number. Here are some tips on how to narrow down your guest list without offending people!
4. Order extra envelopes in case there are spelling errors, changes or mistakes.
5. Instead of using “A.M. or P.M.” on your formal invites, be sure to write “in the morning” or “in the evening”. (Remember, any time before 6:00 p.m. is considered the afternoon, so technically, you’d write: “Half after five o’clock in the afternoon”. Use “half past five” or “half after five” when talking about a time like 5:30. Also spell out numbers and words like “five”, “Sixth Street,” “South Dakota,” and “Avenue.”
6. Proofread the entire invitation (front, back, enclosure cards, envelope flaps for return addresses, etc.). Ask someone who’s detail-oriented to proof read it too.
7. It’s not proper etiquette to list your gift registry anywhere on your invitations (but we down-home brides have our own opinion on that).
8. Ask the post office to hand-cancel your wedding invitations, so they don’t get damaged running through the machines. Mail invites out 6-8 weeks before your big day (unless it’s a destination wedding). Weigh a fully assembled invitation so you pay the right amount of postage on each piece. Square envelopes cost more to mail than regular envelopes, so be sure to include extra postage.
9. If you want to use a wax seal on your envelopes, stationers recommend the plastic variety. Real wax shatters in USPS machinery and turns into dust.
10. If you want to use vintage stamps, dig deep at your post office, or visit championstamp.com or search “unused vintage postage” on Etsy. We recommend Etsy over ebay because you’ll probably overpay for them there. Consider stamps that don’t match perfectly for that truly shabby chic look.
11. When wording your invitation, put married parents on the same line, but divorced parents on separate lines. Remember, remarried or not, mom always gets listed first.
12. For more incredibly useful wedding etiquette tips, visit our Facebook page, where we post a new etiquette tips.
Q: Are there any ways to save money on my wedding invitations, but not look tacky?
ANSWER: Of course there are ways, and we’re happy to share them! We like to save money too.
1. Order at least 20 extra invitations so you’re covered. Everybody wants to save money, but when you’re short on invitations, it ends up costing so much for a small re-order. (Extra guests always seem to pop up along the way, don’t they?)
2. Because you spent a pretty penny on your wedding invitations, make those small works of art last by framing at least one for your desk at home — or better yet, get the wording engraved on a silver tray or glass plate as thoughtful gifts for your parents or in-laws. You can also reuse any unsent invitations or programs by cutting off the monogram or motif and using them for mini gift tags. Use leftover place cards at dinner parties in your new home! Or use your table number holders for showcasing photographs and holiday cards on your mantle.
3. You could save money by learning to do faux calligraphy yourself instead of hiring a calligrapher.
4. To save you time, you can print your return address on the outer envelope back flap, but to save money, you could order a stamp with your return address, and then use that for your invitations, thank you notes, etc.!
5. Choose digital offset printing as your print method to save some money — and try a textured paper to jazz it up a bit.
6. Skip the decorative layer of tissue that used to be used for engraving ink methods. It’s obsolete now.
7. Consider printing your invitation 2-sided, which the reception information on the opposite side. It saves you the money for the extra paper and insert card!
8. If you’re really looking to pinch your pennies, list your out-of-towner FAQs and map on your wedding website instead of a separate insert card.
9. It’s hotly contested, but you can leave out the inner envelopes if your wedding isn’t super formal.
10. We love using RSVP postcards instead of mailers in an envelope! It saves you postage and the cost of envelopes.
Okay, well that got a little lengthy, but we want your wedding invitations to be perfect!
By Renee Halgerson, Owner/Designer, Hitch Design Studio