You’re getting married! You’ve set a date and reserved the location for your big day. Now it’s time to select the invitations. So you head to the local stationary store (or go online to a virtual one) and spend hours poring through books of invitation samples. Finally, you find the perfect one. You are happy and relieved, but when you go to place your order you see a list of over a dozen components that you can include with the invitation. You have no idea which ones you need. You don’t even really know what half of them are. If you are at a small stationary store, the staff can probably help you figure it out. But if you are at a large chain store or on your computer you may not have any help decoding these invitation “extras”. What’s a bride to do? Don’t worry; I’m here to help! Here is a quick rundown of what these components are and why you may (or may not) need them.
Ceremony Invitation – This is the most important piece of the invitation puzzle. It invites the guests to come to the wedding ceremony and informs them who is hosting the wedding, the name of bride and groom, and the ceremony location, time and date.
Reception Invitation – A separate invitation to the reception may be included if it is at a different locations than the ceremony. It includes the reception location, time and date. Often times the ceremony and reception information are included on the same invitation, so don’t feel like you need to have both.
Response Card – This is a small card for guests to mail back to the bridal couple so they know how many people are attending. If there is a meal choice, it is usually listed on this card as well.
Self-address Envelope – This small envelope is to mail back the response card. It should always be pre-addressed and stamped.
Inner Envelope – This is an unsealed envelope that contains the invitation and all other enclosures. It is usually lined in the colored paper of your choice. The name of the guest(s) should be hand-written on the front.
Outer Envelope – The inner envelope is placed inside the outer envelope. The outer envelope has the name and address of the guest, as well as a return address.
Admission Cards – These may need to be included if the wedding takes place at a location that normally charges admission. It will allow the guest inside for free.
Map or Directions Card – This card provides a map and/or directions to the ceremony location. If the reception is at a different location, ushers should give out these directions at the ceremony or directions can be included in the wedding program.
“Within the ribbon” or Pew Card – This card lets immediate family members know they will be seated within the first few pews or rows at the wedding ceremony.
These are the most common components to wedding invitations. There are a few others that are used less often. These include “At-home Cards” that lets guests know the couple’s new address; “Name Cards” that lets the guests know if the bride will be keeping her maiden name, taking the groom’s name, or using a hyphenated name; and “Rain Cards” which let guest know about the contingency plan for an outdoor wedding.
Now get yourself back online or to that stationary store and order your invitations with confidence! And remember, from “I will” until “I do” I’m here for you.