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Wedding Invitations – The Basics

Choosing Your Wedding Suite:

A very easy way to determine just how formal or informal you’d like your event to be is to choose your invitation just after you’ve selected your date, and ceremony and reception venues. You can then use your invitation to determine the feel of your entire wedding, including the  choice and purchases of your wedding gown, the bridesmaids’ gowns, the groomsmen’s attire and wedding  reception venue. If you choose to purchase your bridal gown before the invitations, make sure that the invitation suite continues the same level of formality and design.

The formality level of your wedding invitation suite is determined by several factors:


You can use the most traditional wedding wording as follows: “Mr. and Mrs. Edward Anthony Jones request the honor (or honour, if you prefer the British spelling) of your presence at the marriage of their daughter, Samantha Anne to Mr. Matthew James Smith.” For a more casual or outdoor affair, you may wish to modify this wording to match the feel of the wedding venue; something similar to “Please join Samantha Jones and Matthew Smith as they celebrate the beginning of their lives together”.  If your wedding is casual, but you still want to retain the traditional, formal wedding  wording style, make sure that the rest of your invitation remains fun and breezy, which can easily be accomplished by choosing a wedding theme, unique colors, or a quirky design.


Using the formal example above, full names and titles would be used throughout the invitation. The only exception to this rule is when the bride’s name is mentioned; traditionally, only her first and middle name are used since it is implied that her last name is the same as her parents. Casual invites give the bride and groom options on whether or not to use the titles. Just remember, whichever you choose — titles or just names — be consistent throughout your invitation suite.


The later in the day the wedding is held, typically, the more formal it will be. Black and White Tie events Should always be held at night, usually after 6 p.m. Due to tradition, your guests will assume that an 11 a.m. wedding will be more casual than one held in the early evening, so if your vision for a perfect wedding involves guests in long gowns and tuxedos, plan to have the event no earlier than 6 p.m. If there are other choices in venue, you can always  include  a Wedding Attire verse on your reception or wedding card –  such as  “beach attire” … “vintage attire” – etc.


Although, some locations will always be more formal or more casual , this is your day and if you would like to have your Very formal wedding take place in the woods – do it by all means! But typically  and if you want to follow tradition,  it would be difficult to imagine guests in black-tie standing on the beach or in a woodland setting as they watch the bride and groom exchange their vows. Churches, synagogues and other places of worship do imply a level of respect and formality and that can range from wearing  business attire to white-tie. For some venues, where  there is no definitive or implied formality level, you will need to be clear through your wording, invitation style, and event time as to how casual or formal you’d like your guests to be.

Colors and Style

Traditional (and thus, more formal) invitations tend towards the monochromatic:  white, ivory or ecru paper with a standard black  script. For a black- or white-tie event, this type of invitation is classic, elegant and foolproof. But in this day and age, even your formal events can play a little  with the invitation  suite to include unique design and fonts. If you are planning a more casual event or particular themed wedding, you have many more options to include color, design, and more casual text styles.

Flat Printing vs Letterpress Printing:


A letterpressed invitation is created in a manner similar to an engraved one: paper is pressed against raised type. Unlike engraving, the type is pressed from above, so that the indentation is on the top of the paper. This process can be very expensive and the designs are limited.  Also, since each run through the machine is limited to one color, letterpressed invitations are often monochromatic; though additional colors can be added by additional runs,  extra colors can make the cost of a letterpress invite exorbitant.

Flat Printed

Flat printed invitations are visually very clean looking, which allows for the fonts, colors, and motifs to be the true stars of the invitations. This is a great printing process option if you want to use the same color as your bridesmaids’ dresses or favorite flower. This more modern choice is  typically the least expensive, allowing for your wedding  budget to be utilized on other aspects of your wedding.

Purchasing Your Invitations:

In recent years, purchasing invitations on the internet has become an option for brides. There are many reasons why a bride may turn to the internet to search for her perfect invitations: pricing is competitive, and the number of style options greatly outpace what you could find in a traditional stationery store.

Look before you Leap

If you have no clue about what types of stationery you like, it is now time to figure out how your wedding theme and colors can be used within your stationery suite. Before you visit your stationery store or begin your purchase online, look through bridal magazines, pinterest, blogs and online invitation stores to get a feel of what’s trendy at the moment.


No matter if you order online or in a store, remember that you must send out your wedding invitations no later than six weeks before your wedding  (ideally, you’ll want to mail them out six to eight weeks before your event, especially if your event is around a holiday). Give your invitations plenty of time to come from the stationery store or online vendor.

Check and Double Check

Make sure you  check and RE-check every word on your invitation before your purchase. Have a secondary person also check for misspellings,  forgotten details,  incorrect dates or addresses. Nothing would be worse then getting your entire wedding suite order only to find you have made one tiny mistake.