Today I will answer all the main questions about wedding invitation etiquette that have been asked of me in recent years.
Whether you’ve been planning for several months or a few months, you know that wedding invitations go beyond simply choosing a template.
(Although choosing your favorite invitation is a tall order!)
You also need to consider the wording of the text, the number of invitations to order, and other activities that might, rightly, confuse you. This is also the time, when you could get your guest list hand too, especially if you skipped sending the “save the date”.
It’s not as easy as tasting all those cake flavors, is it?
The wedding stationery, coordinated for weddings can be overwhelming!
As a designer, I have handled somewhat complicated situations and I am happy to say that I have been able to carefully accompany all my brides through every dilemma to bring them ever closer to the perfect invitation.
Before I get started with these tips, I have a free resource in the secret area of my site. I really think you will like it!
Fill out the form below to unlock access to the guide. Did I mention it’s free?
1. How many invitations do I have to order?
Simply put, you will need an invitation for each household.
But there are exceptions to this rule. For example, if two single roommates live together, you should send an invitation to each person. So yes, your college friends who are still in the room together get their invite, even if they live in the same family.
You also need a few extras (just in case!) And at least one extra copy to pass to your photographer to photograph the big day.
Don’t have the guest list yet? No problem! If you haven’t finalized your guest list yet, here’s how to get a lightning-fast estimate of how many wedding invitations to order. (Scroll to the bottom to get the full guest list guide!)
2. How much do wedding invitations cost?
The price of the invitations varies based on a number of factors, but on average, brides spend € 300 on wedding invitations (source: TheKnot).
Keep in mind that if you have a long list of guests or dream of more elaborate invitations, the price will be higher. For special printing processes, such as letterpress or embossing, expect to pay around € 100/200 more. The same goes for adding custom envelope liners, zip ties, hand dyed ribbons, printed envelopes, or calligraphy services, which can add up to the total.
A good rule of thumb is to allocate 2% -3% of the budget to the coordinated (source: TheKnot). This includes things like mass booklets, thank you cards, etc. And unexpected costs like postage.
To determine your investment, make a list of all the products you want. Invitations are a must, but are placeholders also needed? Mass booklets? Panels? Once you know what you need, you can have better management of how much you can invest in wedding invitations, which is probably where you want to spend. Then you can determine other items you may need and any others along the way.
3. When should the invitations be ordered?
Order wedding invitations six to twelve months before the wedding date. This gives you plenty of time for design, testing and assembly. Chances are you will still have time to waste even on special printing processes, such as letterpress or gilding.
Most orders ship within 5 business days after approval, often newlyweds order four to five months before their wedding. This is great for those who prefer a digitally printed semi-personalized invitation suite with no special decorations (such as custom lined envelopes). But it doesn’t leave much time for modification, shipping delays, or assembly.
Here’s a helpful infographic on when to order wedding invitations.
4. When do I have to deliver the wedding invitations?
True story: “I sent out my wedding invitations four weeks before the big day”. (panic mode!) I’m sure you’d like to avoid this scene, right?
Try to send out your wedding invitations at least six to eight weeks before the big day. I think six weeks is that but it’s okay if you mailed the “save the date”.
If you are planning a destination wedding, send out your invitations at least 12 weeks in advance or more. This gives your guests plenty of time to plan their trip.
5. How long does it take for guests to confirm their presence?
I am always amazed when I see wedding professionals recommending that the rsvp date be two to three weeks before the wedding. Partly because this is what drives brides crazy after sending out the invitations so late. But also because it doesn’t give you a lot of time to define the set or finalize the details with your catering. (NB: work on that ever-changing table of tables!)
I recommend that guests confirm at least four weeks before the big day. This will give you a month to make arrangements with your catering and / or location, complete your set and create your tableau du marriage. This also gives you more time to respond via phone call or text message to guests who have not responded.
6. How do I let guests know that this is an “ adults only ” wedding?
The best way to let guests know you’re planning an adults-only wedding is to address your envelope. Address envelopes to parents only and do not include children’s names or list them as “Red Family”. Instead, the envelope should read “Mr. and Mrs. Rossi”.
Do not include “adults only” in the wording of your invitation. It might offend some guests. If you feel you need to include it somewhere on the wedding stationery, I personally think it is acceptable on the reception / detail postcard.
Also, you can note “adults only” on your wedding website.
A note about adult-only weddings: Typically, if the entire event is adults-only, it also means there are no pagettas and bridesmaids. Your Aunt Rosa might take offense if you have a two-year-old bridesmaid, but her wild four-year-old can’t attend the big day.
7. We have limited places! How can I report it to the guests?
“My husband and I had the exact same problem on our wedding day, and here’s what I wanted to know I could do” – said one bride:
On your RSVP cards, say “We have reserved _ seat (s) in your honor.” You will write the appropriate number of guests for each family. This lets invitees know immediately that seating is limited and that you only have “x” seats for them. I also think, this can help indicate an adult-only event, where you only reserve enough seats for the parents.
Wedding stationery may not be as easy (or fun!) As tasting cake flavors, but I have a super helpful (and uncomplicated!) Guide.
Inside the guide, I break down the anatomy of a wedding invitation, dos and don’ts, common paper sizes and decorating options, how many invitations you need, and so much more.
Join the secret area below to access the guide. Did I mention it’s free?