Perfect wedding invitations

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There are various options for wedding invitations – essentially you can have them custom printed in a traditional design, or choose a pre-made invitation and complete the details yourself.

For custom invitations, you will want to order your invitations at least four months in advance and mail them out at least six to eight weeks before the wedding. If you’re ordering engraved invitations, allow an extra month. For out of town guests, make sure to notify them further in advance with an informal note or an e-mail so they can make travel and hotel arrangements.

Guest List

An easily overlooked mistake is to not have the complete list of everybody’s name and address with verified spellings. You will want to assemble this early as it will invariably be hard to get all this information together at the last minute. In terms of etiquette, couples living together and their children under 18 receive a single invitation. Children living away from home or children living at home over the age of 18 receive their own invitation. Note, some claim that children over 16 should receive their own invitation, so it’s up to your personal preference.


The traditional invitation is a white, cream, or ivory card with the printing on the front side. The paper is a heavy stock or a more expensive cotton/linen blend. The standard sizes are 5½” x 7½” or 4½” x 6¼”. You will want to stick to the standard sizes so that you can use the standard envelopes.


Engraving is the most traditional form of printing, but it’s also the most expensive and takes the most lead time. A custom metal plate is created for the invitation and the invitation is pressed onto the plate. This produces raised lettering on the front and an indentation on the back. An alternative technique that is cheaper but still very nice is thermography. It uses a heat process to produce raised lettering. The most informal and least expensive printing technique is offset printing. This is the type of printing that is used to produce brochures and anything else that you typically will get from a professional printer.


A traditional invitation includes an outer and an inner envelope. The outer envelope is the “postal” envelope that is glued close. The inner envelope is left unglued and inserted into the outer envelope. You have several options for addressing the envelopes. The most traditional and not surprisingly most expensive option is to pay for a calligrapher to hand write. Or if you’re particularly artistic, you can buy calligraphy pens and try it yourself. A less expensive option is to have the printer print the envelopes. For the return address, you can have the printer print the return address on the envelope.

Assembling the Contents

Place a piece of tissue paper over the invitation. Then stack the remaining pieces such as the response card, the response envelope, maps, etc., on top of the invitation. Insert the stack into the smaller envelope and then insert the smaller envelope inside the larger envelope. Make sure to self-address and stamp the response envelope to ensure you get notified.

Guest Responses

Many guests unwittingly return response cards without writing their names on the response card! To avoid the problems that this causes, before you send the invitations, write (in pencil) a unique number on the back of the response card in a corner. Then, record which number is assigned to which guest. That way, when you get a response back with no name on it, you can just check the back of the card to see which guest forgot to sign their name!

Budget Options

If you’re running your wedding on a budget, consider some of these beautiful low-cost options for invitations:

Wedding invitations - 2

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Wedding invitation 3

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Add a beautiful elegant touch to your invitation envelopes using a wax seal.

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