Choosing Unique Wedding Invitations

Unique wedding invitations do more than tell your guests who, what, when, where and why. They should set the tone and give them an idea of what to expect during your ceremony. If you've decided to get married, and you're already daydreaming about how the actual day will go, you can start your wedding off right by planning your wedding invitations well in advance. 

Before You Buy

Before you start designing your dream invitations, make a guest list. Not only is this important for you and your future spouse to decide who will come, but it also affects the number of wedding invitations you will need.

Think about what you want your guests to know. They need to know the location, date and time. For their convenience, you should include directions and information about hotel accommodations, if necessary.

Other information is less obvious, but equally important. For example, are children allowed at the wedding? Do you have any style suggestions you want to make? For example, if you are having a beach wedding, your guests should know to bring flip flops and sunscreen. Some couples like to include poems or verses in the invitations.

Consider your budget: How much are you willing to spend on your desired wedding invitation? Do you care more about having a fancy font or thick, quality paper? Once you decide on a design, make a deposit, but do not pay in full until the invitations are finished and to your liking.

Where to Look

You can make your own wedding invitations, or you can buy them. Shop around to find the best deal and best fit for your event. You can find information in stationery shops, bridal magazines, the Web and department stores. Printing shops also generally have experience creating formal invitations for business and other formal events. Craft fairs are a great way to find people who make their own invitations and even their own paper.

Attending bridal shows and fairs and looking at the work of local vendors can help you to generate ideas. If you have the money for a wedding planner or bridal consultant, confer with them about the look of your wedding invitations.

Wedding Invitation Style

Just like any other part of your wedding, your invitations should evoke the theme or feel of your event. When deciding, consider the color, paper, font and overall look. Think about whether or not you want elegant wedding invitations or casual ones. Remember that your invitations give your guests their first impression of your wedding. You want your invitations to allude not only to the theme or tone of your wedding but also to you and your partner's personalities.

When it comes to paper, the most popular formal invitations are on an ivory or white cardstock paper so they match the bride's dress. However, since many brides have foregone traditional white or ivory gowns, you can choose any color.

You can also choose from textured paper, recycled paper, foil paper, treated paper (to evoke an old-timey feel) and paper embossed or even embroidered with images and script. If you plan on folding your invitations, do not choose paper that is too thick; this will make folding difficult. Options include accordion-style, tri-fold, bi-fold or single page. Nowadays, there are even pop-up wedding invitations.

Engraved lettering, in which the letters on the invitation are textured and raised, is the most traditional and expensive option. Thermography is also an alternative to engraving because it appears similar in look to engraving but is less expensive.

Another option is the age-old art of calligraphy. Many computer programs can produce calligraphy-like work, but many prefer it done by hand because it can seem more authentic.

Make sure to choose an easy-to-read and aesthetically pleasing font. You want to catch your guests' eyes but also be clear. After all, you do not want people to misread the time and date of your wedding.

Ordering Wedding Invitations

Don't put off preparing your invitations. It will take time to decide on a style, time for the invitations to be made and shipped, and time for you to address and mail the invites. Give your guests at least six weeks' notice. This is an important day in your life; you want to give the important people in your life time to make travel arrangements.

Remember that wedding invitations mean more than just the card or invite. It also includes wedding invitation envelopes, gift registry cards and a means for your guests to RSVP (and a SASE to make this process as easy as possible).

Once you have decided on a style, look at your guest list. If you plan on inviting 60 people, you do not automatically need 60 invitations. Instead, think about the number of couples on your list and families. A good rule is to use one invitation per household.

Also, you may need more envelopes than actual invitations because you will be addressing envelopes and want to allow for mistakes. Tradition dictates that you need to write these addresses out by hand, but more and more people use computers or typewriters, or they hire calligraphers to do this work for them.

Make sure to proofread your wedding invitations and the addressed envelopes before mailing. Last, but not least, make sure you have proper postage because invitations may be heavier than other mail you send.

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