Save the Date Cards

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Congratulations – you’re engaged!  This is the happiest time of your life,  Now it’s time to let everyone know about the big day!  Your first step is to send a wedding Save the Date card.  This pre-invitation officially announces your wedding date and lets guest know that they will be invited to share in your special day.

The Important of a Save the Date Card

Destination weddings and weddings that are three-day affairs are becoming more and more popular.  Your guests need plenty of time to plan, especially if you plan to marry during a holiday weekend or high season in a beach town.  The Save the Date card is just simple courtesy.  Of course if you are not having one of these weddings, then you don’t have to send one, but sending a Save the Date card does give your guests, who likely have busy schedules of their own, plenty of time to plan.  Therefore, they will be more likely to attend your wedding.

Timing

Generally, Save the Date cards should be sent approximately six to eight months prior to the ceremony.  You may consider sending them earlier if it is a destination wedding or it falls on a holiday weekend.  This gives guest plenty of time to book travels, plan for costs and days off of work.

Guest List

Send a Save the Date card to everyone you want to attend your wedding, even if you have already gotten a verbal commitment.  This includes parents, siblings, and bridesmaids.  But remember, only send them to those that you really want to attend.  While not a formal invitation, a Save the Date card is still a pre-invitation and it would not be good manners to rescind it later.

Information to Include

At this point, you may not have all the specifics, and that is just fine. The Save the Date card should include the couple’s names, wedding date (or dates, for a wedding weekend), location (a city is helpful, even if the venue isn’t booked yet) and a notice for a formal invitation to follow. Including a wedding website is ideal, but again, not necessary. At this point an RSVP shouldn’t be expected—after all, this is the correspondence that gives guests an opportunity to figure out what their RSVP will be when the formal invitation arrives.

A Guide to Wording Your Wedding Invitations

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A request to attend your celebration can be worded and arranged in countless ways to reflect the style of the occasion and the changing times. However, while it is important to insert your personality into your wedding invitation, it is also important to observe the rules of etiquette regarding invitations so that everyone is both comfortable and clear on the details.

1. Host Line

Host Line

Start with the names of those issuing the invitation, traditionally the bride’s parents. Evolving family structures and financial dynamics often make this the trickiest part of the process, so follow the format that best fits your situation.

2. Request Line

Request Line

Two phrases are the most traditional; one indicates the ceremony will be in a house of worship, the other that it will not. But informal wording is becoming very common. Just be sure that whatever phrasing you choose indicates that guests are being invited to a wedding ceremony or the reception only.

At a Place of Worship: Request the honor of your presence…

Informal Ceremony: Would be delighted by your presence
at the marriage of their children…

Informal Reception Only: Invite you to join them at the wedding reception of…

3. Bride and Groom Lines

Bride and Groom Lines

Because the bridal couple are the stars of the invitation, their names are set off, on separate lines. The preposition linking them goes on its own line: traditional American formatting uses the word “to”; some Jewish formats use the word “and.”

Traditional: If the bride’s last name is the same as her parents’ above, it is typically not repeated. No courtesy title (such as Miss or Ms.) is used.

Contemporary: If the couple or both sets of parents are to host, treat the names equally.

4. Date and Time

Date and Time

Don’t worry about using a.m. or p.m., or a phrase such as “in the evening,” unless the wedding will be held at 8, 9, or 10 o’clock. The year is traditionally omitted as well, but it is sometimes included for the invitation’s keepsake value.

Traditional: Spell out numbers and capitalize proper nouns only; you can begin the line with the preposition “on” if you’d like.

Contemporary: Though using numerals is a more modern practice, it is not necessarily more casual.

5. Location

Location

It’s traditional not to include street addresses of houses of worship or well-known locations, but this is less common lately. Commas are not used at the ends of lines, and the state is always spelled out.

Traditional and Religious: Saint Paul’s Lutheran Church, Walkersville, Maryland

Contemporary: If you are using a street address, numerals are acceptable but no ZIP code is needed; this is not for mailing.

6. Reception Line or Card

Reception Line or Card

If the ceremony and reception are in the same space, they can be on a single invitation. If the reception is held elsewhere, a separate card might be helpful. It is no longer considered acceptable to invite some people only to the ceremony.

7. R.S.V.P. Line or Reply Card

RSVP Line or Reply Card

Brides today generally include paper, envelope, and stamp to encourage guests to respond to their invitation in a timely manner, even though traditional etiquette doesn’t actually call for them. It’s not rude to omit these, but it might be risky.

R.S.V.P. Line on the Invitation: It goes in the lower left corner; you can also include mailing address, phone number, email address, or website.

On a Separate Card: A traditional fill-in-the-blank version provides the first letter of Mr. or Mrs.; or try a single line, such as “Please let us know whether you will join us,” with space for writing.

8. Special Details on the Wedding Invitation

Special Details on the Wedding Invitation

If your event won’t include a full meal, it’s courteous to inform your guests. Use phrasing such as “and afterward for cocktails” instead of the classic “at the reception.”

If you want to stress the importance of the style of dress—black tie, for instance, or casual attire—place that information in the lower right corner, or on the reception card. The only thing that should not be included anywhere on your invitation—not even as an insert—is your registry information.

For More Wedding Inspiration, Check Out My Pinterest Boards: Wedding Inspiration and Wedding Tips

How to Get Wedding RSVPs More Quickly

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RSVP Responses

There’s nothing more frustrating than realizing that a good portion of your guest list didn’t bother to mail back their response cards—especially when you provided a pre-addressed and stamped envelope! While your outrage is understandable, you also have to realize your wedding might not be the most important thing to everyone on your guest list, so you may have to (gently) ask them for an answer. To help you handle this potentially awkward situation, listed below is the perfect wording to delicately ask late responders if they’ll be there to celebrate on the wedding day. And for couples who haven’t sent their invitations just yet, these suggestions are some ways to bolster your response rate, so you’ll have fewer people to chase down later.

Make it easy for guests to RSVP.

The traditional method is to send a mail-in response card with the invitation, plus a stamped envelope pre-addressed to whomever is keeping track (you, Mom, your wedding planner). This is still a popular option but there are others you that might boost your response rate, like email (set up a new address specifically to handle responses), texting, your wedding website, or Facebook Events, if you choose to create an invitation there.

Be clear in your request.

Older guests will get what RSVP means. Younger guests? Not so much. So make your wording super clear: A blank line for the guest’s name, followed by “Will attend” or “Will not attend” to be checked off. Skip using “RSVP” and say instead, “Please reply by [date].”

Be prepared to nudge.

Some people are serial procrastinators, and there’s nothing you can do to change them. Others will have simply forgotten to RSVP or are waiting for a better offer to come along. So keep these things in mind from the start and assume there will be a healthy number of invitees who don’t meet your deadline. The day after the RSVP date is past, start contacting the non-responders. They’ll be embarrassed, annoyed, surprised—so many emotions!—but if you’ve made contact with them, that’s a good start. Some will give you their answer immediately, while others will stall for more time. Give them a day or two but no more.

Use a polite but firm tone.

Whether you call, text, or email, your message should be clear and direct. Say something like, “I hope you received my wedding invitation a few weeks ago, because I haven’t heard whether or not you’ll be attending. I need to get a final head count by Friday, so please let me know by tomorrow at the latest.”

Don’t give them a tight deadline.

When you pick an RSVP date, take into account that you’ll have to follow up on many people. You’ll want to give yourself plenty of time to do this. So if you mail your invitations six to eight weeks before the wedding, your RSVP date should be three to four weeks before. (Your caterer will request a final guest count a week or two before the wedding.) Making the date any closer will only stress you out, and that’s not what you need a few weeks before getting married!

For More Inspiration, Check Out My Pinterest Board “Invitation