Getting Started with Wedding Invitations

Published Wednesday, January 22, 2014

With email, text messaging and Facebook, some consider wedding invitations to be an old fashioned formality. Even so, if any day calls for beautiful stationery, your big day is it! Besides, who doesn’t love getting mail that aren’t bills?

Here’s a quick guide to getting started.

Vancouver Wedding Invitation

Photo provided by I'll Know It When I See It

What do I need?

Before shopping around, you’ll need to think about which pieces are needed. Typical pieces in a wedding invitation include:

  • save the date card
  • invitation card
  • RSVP card (with or without envelope)
  • additional insert cards for maps, directions, hotel information, etc.

Depending on your situation, you may need some or all of the above pieces. Many brides today opt out of save the date and RSVP cards, instead choosing to take care of it online. Wedding websites are an option for additional information instead of including it in the invite.

As you’re thinking about the invitation, it’s worthwhile to give some consideration to the “day of” pieces and thank you cards. If you want a unified look for all your stationery, now is the time to check out the options. “Day of” pieces include programs, menus, table numbers, place cards and seating charts.

Vancouver Wedding Invitation

Photo provided by I'll Know It When I See It

What are the timelines?

Timelines vary a lot depending on what you need. It’s always better to start earlier than later. Begin by gathering examples of styles and colours you like. Then, look into various vendors, both online and locally. If you’re ordering pre-designed invitations, the lead times can be much shorter. If you’re going the custom route, reach out as soon as possible as it can take weeks, even months to put it all together. Don’t forget, it takes time to visit vendors, get samples, come up with the wording, get everything printed, and finally, address and mail the invites.

If you choose to DIY, build in extra time to design, print, cut and assemble. It can be deceptively time consuming and with many other wedding details to attend to, don’t leave it until the last minute.

Brides often ask when invitations should be mailed out. Generally, it’s sufficient to send invitations out 8-10 weeks prior to the wedding date with the RSVP deadline 4-6 prior to the wedding date. For example, if your wedding date is July 1, the RSVP deadline can be June 1, and the invitation mailed out around May 1.

This is just a guideline and do make adjustments if you have out of town guests, a destination wedding or a venue that requires confirmation sooner. Keep in mind mailing times, both for the invitation and the RSVP return.

Working backwards from the mail out dates, you can get an idea of how much time you have to put everything together.

Vancouver Wedding Invitation

Photo provided by I'll Know It When I See It

How much will it cost?

Unfortunately, this is a difficult question to answer without the specifics. Wedding invitation pricing depends on several factors including:

  • quantity
  • format (size, shape, number of pieces)
  • materials (paper, envelopes, other embellishments)
  • printing method (digital, offset, letterpress)
  • design

The best way to determine pricing is to first decide what pieces you need and then go online or visit a local stationery shop to see your options. Be sure you’re comparing apples to apples when looking at prices. A digitally printed, pre-made design bought online will not be comparable to a custom letterpress design at a local shop. Once you get a ballpark of how much different kinds of invites are, you’ll be better able to firm up your budget.

Vancouver Wedding Invitations

Photo provided by I'll Know It When I See It

What are some invitation options?

With such a range, there really are options for everyone. Here are a few to consider:

  • DIY. Make them from scratch, purchase invitation kits or buy a template to print at home.
  • Pre-designed. Whether it’s online or at a local stationery shop, there are plenty of designs to choose from. All you need to do is tailor the wording to your needs. Samples are generally available so you can get an idea of what the finished product will look like.
  • Custom. This option has the most flexibility and is perfect if you can’t find what you’re looking for, or what something truly unique.

Armed with this inforation, you should be able to determine what’s right for you and to start the invitation process. Use your wedding stationery as a way to share what’s unique about the two of you and turn it into one of the most fun and creative parts of the wedding experience!

Ready to shop for invites?

Get 20% off any order from our Ready To Go, Print-it-yourself line. Just enter VCWTAKE20 when you check out. Offer is good until June 30, 2014.

About the Writer

I’ll Know It When I See It is a design studio based in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada specializing in wedding invitations and wedding stationery. Learn more about their services at www.illknowitwheniseeit.com