Tuesday, 24 September 2013

The Etiquette of Invitations

Many people become overwhelmed when beginning to plan their Wedding Day. There are a lot of things to consider; the invitations and associated paper goods being a very small part of it. But that does not mean to say that the invitations are unimportant.

Yes, your Venue is a high priority; the Date is one you will be celebrating for years to come; and the Wedding Dress... well, I've never met a Bride who considered the Dress to be irrelevant! But Invitations play a very big part in mentally preparing you, and it is important to understand that.

The process of sending your Invitations:
1. Commits your Date and Venue
2. Consolidates your Guest List
3. Gives your Guests the first taster of what to expect from your wedding.

Traditional wording and Calligraphy fonts are a popular choice for Elegant Weddings
Committing Date and Venue...
Settling on a Venue and Wedding Date are perhaps the most important decisions you will need to make (besides choosing who to marry, of course). Once you have found the perfect Venue and have confirmed your date and paid your first deposits, you may start to wonder what the next stage in the process is. Many betrothed couples begin looking into their Invitations 12-18 months before the Big Day, or shortly after they have confirmed their Venue if the date is less than 12 months away. For those having summer nuptials during the popular vacation seasons look to send out "Save the Date" cards in ample time so their guest list is not affected by those unable to attend due to conflicting holiday commitments.

Consolidating your Guest List...
Which brings us onto the next stage in the process. It may seem strange to think about your guest list so far ahead of your Wedding. But it is important from very early on to be certain that your Venue and your Budget can accommodate everyone you would like to attend.

A Taster of your Wedding Style...
When the other elements have been decided, you're left with the Invitations. This is the first time you really get to stamp your identity on your Big Day - the first taste you will be giving your guests as to what to expect from your day.

Will your day be laid back and quirky - retro or alternative in theme with colour and fun?
An Outdoor Woodland Venue may lead you to choose simple, rustic styled invitations

Once the general aesthetics of your day have been determined, the finer details start taking centre stage. The phrasing of your invitations - who the invitation is sent from for example - is often decided by the number of guests and the formality of your day.

Intimate Weddings, up to 50 Ceremony Guests
For those having intimate weddings, it is often the case that the Invitation is quite informal. The following introductions are very popular:

(Bride) & (Groom) wish to invite you to join them in Celebrating their Wedding Day!...
(Bride) & (Groom) would love for you to come and witness their Marriage...
Please join us in Celebrating the Wedding of (Bride) & (Groom)...

Larger Sized Weddings, up to 250 Ceremony Guests
For larger celebrations, where up to 100 guests may be invited to witness the Marriage ceremony and many more to the Reception, etiquette traditionally states that the Invitation is not extended from the Bride and Groom directly. This can be from an undisclosed third party, the Parents and Couple, or from the Parents only:

Formal Invite from Parents:
You are Invited to join Mr & Mrs X and Mr & Mrs Y
in celebrating the Marriage of their Children,
(Bride) and (Groom)
Formal Invite from Couple:
You are cordially invited to
 the Wedding Celebration of
(Bride) & (Groom)
Formal Invite from Couple and Parents:
Together with their Families,
(Bride) & (Groom)
wish to invite you...

One thing which used to determine who the invitation was extended from, was who was paying for the Lion's share of the Wedding (typically, the Bride's Parents) but many modern couples fund their own Wedding, and often the Groom's Parents will also contribute. So this has lead to much confusion and many arguments as to who should be included in the introduction. In this instance, the latter introduction is often the best approach, without losing the formality of the day.