When do I send my invites out? And other wedding invitation questions � answered!
Wed's expert advice on...wedding stationery
From save the dates to RSVPs, the etiquette of invitations can be complicated. With the help of stationery experts, here's how to tackle the task
Words Lucy Higgins
Image (above) Laura Likes
Your invitation will be the first taster of your wedding for your guests, and can set the entire tone of your day. It can be an overwhelming task, as you choose the design, the lettering, the wording - not to mention those tricky decisions such as how to say children aren't invited, or you'd like money as a wedding gift. We've rounded up some of our favourite stationers from across the region to help you out with the big questions...
I have no idea where to start! Any tips?
Anon Design Studio: Start by creating a Pinterest mood board. There are so many themes and colour schemes, new ideas for quirky signs and displays, different paper and finishing options to choose from. You'll start to find a style emerge that you can run with!
Knots & Kisses: Write a list of who you are. No, seriously! Writing a list of your likes and dislikes, what colours you love, how you style your interiors and which brands you love should give you a really good idea for a starting point for your wedding style. Then research which stationers and suppliers out there suit your 'wedding brand'. Spend some time researching first and you'll find the whole process much easier.
ER Stationery: Think about the tone you would like to set for the day, whether it be a relaxed informal affair or a traditional white wedding. Think about the colours you wish to incorporate and, most importantly, the venue, as this will ultimately assist with the style. For example, you don't necessarily want to put a rustic boho style into a majestic castle!
Laura Likes: Think practically about what your invitation set needs to include, such as a separate RSVP card. If your ceremony and reception are in different places, could a hand-drawn map prove useful?
Polly Crossman: Take time to figure out how your wedding is going to take shape - perhaps the colours you're leaning towards or the flowers you love - and then you can work backwards.
Watercolour Woodshed: Collate images of everything you love, from flowers to cakes, themes to hairstyles! I ask couples to forward me their favourite images so I can get an idea of the style they want to achieve.
Should I send save the dates? When should I send these out?
ADS: Save the dates are best if you're getting married either quite far in the future or abroad and guests will need to save and secure time off. We recommend save the dates go out around a year ahead of the date. Closer than around seven months and you'd be best off just sending your invitation.
PC: Save the dates are a lovely thing to send if you have the time and the budget. If you're set for a long engagement, or are planning on getting married at a busy time, they're a really good idea, ideally around nine months to a year before the date. If you're tight on time, an email save the date can be a great idea!
LL: Save the dates really take the pressure off having to organise your invitations. Send them any time from two years before, and if you haven't done save the dates by six months prior then I would advise skipping these to focus on invitations.
What do you think should be included on the invitation? When do you recommend these are sent out?
ER: The more details you can include, the less likely you are to receive phone calls and messages from guests trying to clarify arrangements. Aside from the main wording, we recommend including an RSVP card, gift list, accommodation details and a menu tick box if you are giving your guests a choice of food. You should also include information on parking, directions if your location is hard to find, any rules there may be regarding confetti or stiletto heels and transport arrangements.
LL: Determine who the invitation will be from: bride and groom, bride's parents, both sets of parents or all of the above. Invitations should include your full names, the wedding time and date together with the ceremony and reception venue addresses.
You will also need to include a date by which you need a response and an indication of how to do this.
PC: There are lots of options for wording, depending on who is doing the inviting, how traditional you want to be, or what sort of vibe you're going for. Try to keep the invitation itself fairly light on information, and consider including an illustrated 'particulars' card with taxi numbers, postcodes, phone contacts, gift list instructions and parking. And if the directions are complicated, consider a map. Traditionally invitations are sent six weeks before a wedding but anything up to six months ahead can work.
WW: The most important details to include are obviously your names, the date, time, venue and when/how to RSVP. Many caterers need to know dinner choices and dietary requirements so a menu could be included, as well as travel arrangements, directions and accommodation. I design 'additional information' pages to slip into your invitation, which can include hand-painted maps. I recommend on sending out the invitations around two to three months in advance and set the RSVP deadline around four weeks before the wedding.
Anon Design Studio
How do you word any tricky parts (such as if children are not invited to the wedding)?
ADS: Just be honest. Guests will always understand, it's your day and they just want to celebrate with you. We work with each couple to ensure the wording works for their approach, and can advise on what may suit.
ER: This is a common scenario, with many people also struggling with how to word an invitation if they have divorced or remarried parents, or parents who are no longer around. We can guide you through these areas and we have also collated more than 40 poems that are a subtle yet perfect way of asking your guests for a donation to a charity or a gift of your choosing.
KK: Be open and honest (or blame venue restrictions or numbers for the no-children one!). It's not something that needs to be front and centre on your invitations.
LL: I recently included the following wording: 'We are trying to have an adults-only day; however, if circumstances are proving difficult then please feel free to contact us.' And if you are feeling a little uncomfortable asking for gifts: 'We would much rather your presence than your presents so please do not feel under any obligation to buy us a gift. We do, however, understand that some people will want to give one, and therefore have set up a small list at... / would really appreciate a contribution to our honeymoon.'
PC: It's totally dependent on each couple. 'This is an adults-only day' can be a good way around the children question - and adding something like '...and we're so looking forward to celebrating with you' makes it positive. Try not to over-think it.
What about RSVP cards?
ADS: Some couples will include an email address for guests to respond via. However, a separate RSVP card gives the opportunity to ask other questions around menu and accommodation needs, and it's a nice keepsake for you.
PC: RSVP cards make it so easy for people to RSVP, especially older people. I definitely recommend these and always include them within my design fee for an invitation. Plus it's fun to get post, and a nice thing to keep too!
WW: A simple sentence can be included in your invitation to ask for your guests to respond via an email or phone number, but an RSVP card offers more of your design and works well if you want to create a small package for your guests to open up.
What are the new trends in wedding stationery?
ADS: There will be darker and richer tones in contrast to the lighter blush trend of late, as well as tropical/botanical and neon pinks! Foiling will remain popular as it can be incorporated into modern geometric designs as well as retaining a classic elegant feel.
ER: The Pantone Colour of the Year 2018, Ultra Violet, is a rich, velvety purple that will fit beautifully with any season. Mix it with plenty of greenery for a fresh summery feel or perhaps metallic, which is bang on-trend at the moment, for an opulent, elegant look.
KK: I think lots of bolder, richer colours are going to be really big. Lots of mustard, green, burgundy and navy mixed in with metallics. We're still going to see lots of botanical themes but with bolder prints, and there's a huge trend for anything vellum so look out for vellum wraps and envelopes and luxury finishes such as velvet and foil.
LL: Green and white designs look set to continue, as well as rose gold, modern calligraphy and luxe, rich, coloured florals. Increasingly popular is customising a design to include the type of flowers and foliage that will be featuring on the wedding day itself.
PC: Handwritten and modern calligraphed invitations are definitely on the up! I'm seeing more requests for envelope liners, and the trend for flora and fauna - lots of greenery - will continue. Botanicals and plants never get old.
WW: We have started to see a lot of metallic colours and marble effects. The overall style for 2018 is minimalistic, whimsical styles and soft tones with the use of green foliage. I will be using some of these trends within my own style of contour drawing, which is when I study and draw an object without looking at the paper, creating modern and abstract designs.
Can you help me with a personalised design for my invitation?
ADS: We are always happy to provide a bespoke design service, we love to work with each couple to create truly unique designs. A few of the added finishes on offer are calligraphy, deckling, foiling, wax seals, envelope lining, luxury silk ribbon...
ER: We specialise in immersive stationery that creates the wow factor and gives all recipients a gift experience. All our designs are created in silk, personalised to your requirements and can be customised. You can have a bespoke designed logo or
monogram, a hand-drawn image of your venue and a gift of your choice on the inside. This can be anything from personalised chocolates or a perfume you have designed, to a fresh flower arrangement or mini cake. We also offer simple silk folio invitations.
KK: As well as my standard stationery collections, I offer a tailoring service where I can make colour changes to one of my existing ranges, or a completely bespoke service. All of my stationery can come with matching envelope liners and I also offer monogrammed stickers or, for a super special feel, plain or bespoke wax seals for your envelopes. Plus I can address the envelopes so all you have to do is add the stamps and post them!
LL: The majority of my work is either designed for my customer from scratch or involves tweaking a design to reflect their wedding flowers or colour scheme. For me, it is the little extras that can really add the wow factor - the envelope liner, the belly band to hold the cards together, the matching initialled label to seal the back of the envelope, and I also offer envelopes printed with addresses.
PC: All my invitations are designed especially for each couple. I'm a firm believer that stationery should be just as personal and unique as a wedding itself - and also that it shouldn't blow the budget! Everything is hand-drawn and made from scratch. For added extras, my illustrated particulars cards are always a good talking point, and I offer an envelope addressing service in my modern calligraphy style to set the tone from the moment an invitation drops through the letterbox.
WW: I absolutely love designing bespoke invitations. Venue paintings and maps offer a great wow factor, which I hand-paint in watercolour. Your design can also be incorporated into 'on the day' stationery, such as table plans, name cards and table numbers.
Anon Design Studio anondesigner.co.uk