When planning your wedding invitations, it's easy to see why so many can be overwhelmed by all the different options for enclosure cards, extras, embellishments, and add ons. At first you might be thinking "Hollis, I want it ALL!" but that's not always feasible. With my Ultimate Guide to Creating Your Wedding Invitation Suite, I will help clear the air for what's necessary, what little extras make the biggest impact, and what's just fun to add on if you've got room in your budget for some fine art stationery.
THE BARE BONE ESSENTIALS
Obviously the most important piece of your wedding suite would be the invitation card itself. This will include the betrothed-to-be's names as well as the parents' names if you're looking to go the more traditional route. This is the card that will also house the big date and time as well as venue name and address. That's usually all I'll recommend go on the invite because after that the card can start looking cluttered. It's an invitation, not a newsletter, after all!
Any other pertinent information can go on the Reception or Details Card. This would be an additional enclosure card that compliments the invitation but ideally doesn't mirror the invitation design exactly. Here you can put what kind of attire you recommend your guests wear, whether or not you've decided to include children on your special day, or maybe you've even created a wedding website to explain even more. Whatever the case, the necessity for an additional card like this is crucial to keeping your main invite clear of all the details, and plus your wording choices are endless!
Last but of course not least is the card your guests will fill out to respond with their attendance. This card can sometimes include meal selections if a seated dinner will be served or you can simply put a line for guests to write in their names and check a box stating whether or not they'll be attending.
It's also recommended that you address and stamp the return envelopes for your guests to make it easy to send back. Let's face it, if your guests have to track down your address and run to the post office for stamps, it's less likely you'll hear from them. Take that extra step and I promise you'll have a more accurate headcount for your wedding vendors.
BIG IMPRESSIONS WITH LITTLE DETAILS
Now that you know what your wedding invitation suite needs, allow me to indulge in what it wants. Before you're like "Hold up, Hollis, my paper budget is slim!" Let me tell you, you don't have to break the bank and add all the bells and whistles to your suite. In this section, I'll break down my personal fave choices for adding little details for big results.
The first and probably most important detail would be the envelope liner. It seems so simple, right? But it's a detail that is often overlooked. When planning your wedding suite, remember that any detail from your invitation card can be added to your envelope liner. Have a monogram? Put it on the liner! And if your suite calls for it, think outside just plain old white for your outer envelope. A colorful envelope with a coordinating liner lets your guests know right away that you've thought of every detail when planning this special day.
Another detail to consider would be to have your envelopes professionally addressed by a calligrapher. While digital address printing is more economical, calligraphy adds a special touch your invitation suite that can't be beat. And with so many different styles of calligraphy to choose from, it's easy to find the right one to compliment your invitation design.
While I don't offer calligraphy myself, I've worked with several extremely talented calligraphers, such as Carousel Atelier Calligraphy, that I'd be happy to introduce you to. Below is just a sampling of her gorgeous calligraphy on my Bohemian Gemstone suite, available in my shop.
The last little detail I'll clue you in on is the belly band! This seemingly insignificant addition makes ALL the difference, I tell you what. Not only can it show off a monogram or be made from specialty or even handmade paper, but it also holds all the pieces of your suite together, ensuring your wedding invitations arrive in the same state that they left in. The band can be paper, twine, ribbon, or even thin acrylic or metal. Heck, I've even used the metal twine you use to hang picture frames on your wall! There's no end to the choices of materials that can be used and when it's both stylish and functional? Well, then it's a great bang for your buck, and the perfect way to spruce up a basic wedding suite.
THE REALLY FUN SPLURGY STUFF
I'm talking about extra enclosure cards, invitations mats, glitter paper stock, specialty papers, wax seals, folders, folios, and all the fun things you see on Pinterest! Maybe picking all of them doesn't quite fit into your budget, so maybe just go with one or two. Here are my fave picks for the extravagant wedding suites that your guests will remember forever.
When you have a lot of out of town guests or your wedding is a destination wedding, it's nice to give your guests an idea of where they can stay while vacationing to attend your wedding. Often, brides will acquire a special rate for groups for weddings. If that's the case, an additional Accommodations card might be best to fill your guests in on the best place to stay. Maybe the hotel offers a shuttle to your venue? Maybe they have other amenities you'd like to alert your attendees to? Let them know here! And if you've reserved a block of rooms, be sure to indicate what name your guests will find that rate under.
Another special treat for you guests might be a map of the area in which you're getting married. It can be as simple as mapping out wedding destinations or you can even include fave restaurants or hotspots that you think your guests might enjoy when not at the wedding festivities. Check out this beautiful map from Lyndsay Bullock of Cordial Punch Press. It's both functional and beautifully coordinated with its matching wedding suite. People might have maps on their phones, but this is a very special artistic touch to accompany your wedding suite.
Lastly and probably my absolute favorite new trend in wedding suites is the Top Ten! Getting married in your fave city and want to clue your guests in on all the best eating, drinking, and tourist-y type spots in town? Then have your stationer create a Top Ten enclosure card! It can include restaurants, coffee shops, museums, sports venues, hiking trails, or really any attraction local to your wedding destination that might pique your guests' interests.
So now you see how easy it is to get carried away with all the different options available for your wedding invitations. However your invitations don't have to be one of the biggest expenses for your wedding - rarely is that the case. My advice is stick with the essentials mentioned above, and if your budget allows, use this guide to pick a couple stand-out pieces to really make your wedding invitation suite shine. Your big day deserves the best first impression to your guests, and all that is made possible with the right wedding suite.