There are many components involved in wedding invitation packages. Proper wedding etiquette dictates that some are necessary while others are optional.
Though not part of the traditional wedding invitation process, save the date cards are very popular these days. They can serve a dual purpose. They can be de facto engagement announcements as well as a way for you to notify out of town guests far enough in advance for them to make adequate travel plans. Save the date cards are also necessary for destination weddings because guests need more than the usual lead time to make travel plans, save money, and arrange for time out of work.
Traditionally, there were two envelopes involved in the wedding invitation package. The outer envelope acted as a container or package for all the materials. The full names and addresses of the recipients were and still are hand written (preferably in calligraphy) on the outer envelope. The inside envelope actually holds the invitation itself as well as what you might term "supporting documents," all of which will be discussed in this article. Modern wedding invitation packages often no longer include the separate inner envelope as a cost-cutting measure and a desire to be save paper for environmental reasons.
One invitation is sent per household to a couple or a family. The names and titles of each person should be included when practical. Children love to receive their own personal invitations, but this is an extravagance only to be indulged if your budget allows For a large family, it is acceptable to list the parent's names and add "and family" if there isn't enough room on the envelope for all the names.
The actual invitation contains the required information about who is doing the inviting, who is getting married, where the event is taking place, and when it is taking place. Separate information must be included for the reception and ceremony if they are at two distinct locations. If the reception is not immediately following the ceremony for some reason, special effort should be made to call attention to the fact and clarify what time the reception begins. A separate reception card can be used if desired.
Although, most people tend to find their way around these days with the help of a navigational device or directions printed out from an online map site, it is still polite and useful to include a map card, especially for visiting guests who won't be familiar with your local area.
Wedding invitation response cards (with an RSVP deadline) will be sent back to the bride indicating how many people will attend the nuptials. One area in which some experts disagree is whether brides should contact non-responders. Practicality should be the guiding principal here. If only two or three guests don’t return the RSVP card, this won't really have any effect on the pricing. However, since caterers charge by the headcount, any more than a handful of uncertainties need to be addressed.
Two optional inclusions are a quote card and a program card. The quote card is exactly as it name implies – a quotation about love, weddings, or romance, etc. The quote can be from a famous love poem, a line from the wedding vows, or something original written by the bride and groom stating their love for each other. A program card (also called an event card) is a schedule of the wedding day events which guides guests through the day. Some people prefer to hand these out at the ceremony while others skip them completely.
Though obviously not part of the initial invitation mailing before the wedding, thank you cards are mentioned here because they are part of the wedding stationery ensemble and are usually ordered at the same time as the invitations as a matching set. Since some people send gifts prior to the wedding, it is necessary to be ready to fill out thank you cards as soon as the gifts come in. For presents received at the wedding, thank you cards should be sent no later than a month after the couple returns from the honeymoon. A good tip for taking care of thank you cards is to write them as soon as the gift is opened and the excitement of the wedding is still fresh in the mind.
The physical assembly of the invitations is only fun for the first few and then becomes a chore when the bride realizes there are a hundred more to go. A good way to alleviate this problem is to hold a wedding invitation assembly get-together for bridesmaids and friends. Turning the process into a social event will create fond memories for the future.