A wedding invitation gives the first impression about the tone or theme of your wedding, and will also be the main way you have of letting your guests know all the details of what happening and when, so it is important that you think carefully about which style of invitation would be most suitable for your special day.
Invitations should strike a good balance between being attractive and informative, and they come in a vast range of styles from the more tradition white, gild-edged cards to some ultra modern and creative designs.
The first thing you need to do is think carefully about the tone or theme of your wedding. If you are having a very formal wedding, then the invitation needs to reflect this, to ensure guests are aware that they need to dress and behave appropriately. For some weddings the theme is a colour scheme, for example ivory and lilac, so you could incorporate this into the invitation. If you have an unusual theme in mind, like a beach wedding then you need to ensure your invitation reflects this so guest are warned of what to expect!
The next big task is to write your guest list. Be absolutely ruthless and try and stick to a maximum number of people to help prevent your wedding budget from escalating out of control. Be very specific about how many additional guests the invitees can be bring, and make sure you tell everybody to RSVP so that you have the correct numbers ready for catering and seating arrangements. Try and keep a good balance between both sides of the family if you can (and also friends), and remember smaller gatherings can be more intimate, and will give you more opportunity to talk to everyone and make them feel welcome. Be considerate and send your invitations out as soon as you can, to give everyone a chance to organise transport and accommodation, or book time off work.
There are lots of companies that offer specialist wedding invitation designers, who can talk you through your initial ideas and present you with a range of proofs that you can choose from. This will need to be organised well in advance though, and don’t forget to order a few extra invites in case you spoil some, or need to invite a few extra people. It is also important to note that some designers quote prices without the envelopes, so it is important to scrutinise each service carefully to ensure you are selecting within your budget. If you are creative and want something a bit more original then there are some companies who offer to print and produce your own custom designs for you. You might want to consider using the same service to order all of your wedding stationary to make things easier and continue your ongoing theme, and this could include place cards, seating plans, menus and thank you cards.
When you are designing your invitations you will need to think about what information you need to provide to your guests. Most importantly of course is who is actually getting married and the date, place and time of the wedding ceremony. It might be a good idea to ask guests to arrive at 15 mins before the ceremony is due to start. Also you will need to inform people if you are having a reception, and whether there will be food and music provided. It is a good idea to ask guests to inform you of any dietary issues, so that you can organise this with the caterers well in advance. You could also include some advice on what to wear for your guests, especially if the event is going to be very formal.
If some guests are travelling from far away, include a small, clear map and written instructions on how to get to the venue from all the main routes, and also some information on nearby hotels or bed and breakfasts so that they can book a room if they need to stay overnight. If you are having the reception in a hotel, it might be cheaper if you book all the rooms in advance and get a discount, and then allocate them to guests as and when needed.