For many of us, creating and mailing invitations is a lost art. In fact, a wedding may be the only time in your life you will send out a physical invitation for an event! Between Facebook events and e-vites, only the most formal events still require an invitation by mail. While creating and mailing paper invitations may be out of your comfort zone, it is a crucial step in wedding planning! So I’ve created a list of the five most common errors I see on wedding invitations so you know what to look for!
5. Forgetting Important Information
At its core, a wedding invitation exists to let people know where to be, when, and why. These key components must be included on the invitation, even if you are also directing them to a wedding website. Your invitation should include the venue name and address, date and time of the wedding, and the names of the couple getting married.
The second most important part of an invitation? Telling your guests how to RSVP. Anyone who has planned a wedding knows how hectic the last few weeks before your wedding can be, and you don’t want to have to spend that time tracking down your guests so you can give your caterer a final headcount. Make sure that you let your guests know how to RSVP, and when they should RSVP by. If you’re looking to save on postage costs, you can even allow your guests to RSVP online - many wedding websites provide this feature. Just make sure you have a family member assigned to helping any elderly guests who may not quite understand how to navigate your website!
4. Not Appropriately Prepping RSVP Cards
If you are choosing to stick with a traditional mail-in RSVP card, there are a few things you should keep in mind before sending them out. An unfortunate reality of wedding invitations is that some guests believe they should have a plus-one even if you did not provide them with one. For this reason, traditional RSVP cards usually include the line, “We have reserved [blank] seats in your honor.” Make sure that you fill in this blank before you mail out your invitation! If you leave it blank, there’s no telling how many people will try to RSVP yes to your day. This number should also correspond with the names that the invitation was addressed to; whether it is one name “and guest," “Mr. and Mrs. Smith," or “Smith Family." For example, if the card was addressed to “Mr. and Mrs. Smith” and you clarified that you reserved two seats for them, Mrs. Smith should know that she cannot substitute her 5-year-old son for her husband, as her son’s name was not on the invitation. However, if the card was addressed to “Smith Family," it would suggest that any two family members would be welcome to take those seats.
Another important part of RSVP card preparation is stamping and addressing the return envelopes. If you are using mailed cards as your primary source of collecting RSVPs, it’s crucial that they make it back to you. The best way to guarantee that they do is by making it foolproof for your guests and addressing and stamping the envelopes yourself.
There is one traditional line on RSVP cards that stumps a lot of wedding guests. Before the line where your guests will choose whether they accept or decline the invitation is often a capital M with an underline next to it. This line is for guests to put their name and title, i.e., “Mr. and Mrs. Smith” or “Miss Jane Smith." Unfortunately, since many guests aren’t familiar with this format, some RSVPs are returned without any name. So you know that you have an acceptance, but who is it? A trick I’ve seen recently is numbering the back of RSVP cards in invisible ink and keeping a spreadsheet with the names corresponding to each number. If you receive a blank RSVP card, you check the back, and voila, no question about who the RSVP came from!
3. Mailing Too Late
Traditionally, wedding invitations should be mailed out no later than six to eight weeks before your wedding date. This allows time for the invitations to make it to your guests and the RSVPs to get back to you in time. However, since Covid hit we are seeing that mail service is taking longer than usual, and I would now recommend mailing them out eight to ten weeks before the big day. Any later than six weeks and you are putting your guests in a time crunch to RSVP and you will almost definitely be tracking down responses as your day approaches.
2. Incorrect Grammar and Abbreviations
If you are having a casual backyard wedding and want a casual invitation suite to go with it, you probably aren’t too worried about the formalities of the text as long as they make sense. However, if you are hosting a black-tie event, you probably want to make sure you’re using the correct traditional phrasing. Some frequent errors that I’ve seen on formal invitations include not writing out the time and date in text and not remembering to place a comma before titles such as “Jr.” or “Sr.”. Talk to your stationer about what your goal is for the feel of the invitation, and they should be able to guide you on the right path.
1. Not Using the Correct Postage
The number one most common error I come across in wedding invitations (and probably the most heartbreaking) is invitations that get returned due to incorrect postage. Unfortunately, a Forever Stamp is probably not going to be enough postage to mail out a full invitation suite, so it’s super important that you check with your post office before dropping them all off. I recommend taking a fully assembled wedding invitation to the post office and talking to a staff member. They can weigh the card and take measurements of the envelope to let you know what the cost will be. Even if your card isn’t overweight, something as simple as a square envelope can require extra postage! You should also ask them if your cards will need to be hand canceled. Some invitations cannot be processed through the machine, and there can be an extra fee for hand canceling. If you want to make sure that the hand canceling is done neatly, ask if you can do it yourself. I have seen too many brides receive a stack of invitations back in their mailbox with ugly red stamps across them stating “insufficient postage”, so please take the time to run down to your local post office and have a discussion with a postal worker!
Wedding invitations can seem incredibly overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be! At the end of the day, the goal is to make sure that your guests know where to be and how they can let you know they’ll be there, and everything else can be adjusted. Working with an experienced stationer or graphic designer can save you so much worry and allow you to create a beautiful collection of paper goods to get your guests excited for the upcoming celebration!
wedding invitation tips | common wedding mistakes | wedding stationery errors to avoid
When planning a wedding in Pennsylvania, there’s a reason the most popular dates for tying the knot are May through September. Many couples tend to gravitate to the warmer months of the year to take advantage of outdoor venues or longer daylight hours, but when you rule out a winter wedding, you’re actually missing out on a lot of amazing details that come with the season. Whether you’re planning an elaborate, large-scale gathering or an intimate, minimalist wedding, you do not want to overlook the possibility of having your celebration during the colder months. If you are on the fence about setting a date during December through March, there are several reasons to consider a winter Pennsylvania wedding.
Florals by Gilly's Lilies in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania
1. Vendor Availability
As summer winds down, vendor availability often increases during what vendors refer to as “off-season.” Increased booking availability makes the winter a great time for couples who are not tied to getting married on a specific date or are focused on scheduling around a preferred vendor’s schedule. For example, if working with a specific wedding photographer is your top priority, let their availability guide the wedding date you choose and the other vendors you select.
2. Cost of a Winter Wedding
Increased vendor availability can also mean the possibility for reduced cost. Vendors tend to have more availability on their calendar after wrapping a wedding season filled with weekend after weekend of celebrations. When vendors are looking to fill open availability, they will sometimes offer lower cost packages or short term promotional rates.
Having a minimalist wedding is also helpful to lower the budget of your wedding. Let the natural beauty of winter, like fresh cut evergreen trimmings or holiday lights, save you money on decor. Serve seasonal cocktails, like hot toddies or spiked apple cider, in place of a full open bar.
To optimize costs and save even more, consider hiring a wedding planner. While it may seem like a large investment, you're more likely to stay on budget and save money overall.
"We always advise our couples to set aside a small amount of budget for things that may pop up in the final weeks before a wedding. But the truth is, surprises are less likely to occur when you work with a wedding planner," says Jilian Becker of We Do Events.
" We account for every possible scenario upfront, that way there are no surprises when it comes to your budget. In fact, you're even likely to come in under budget when working with a planner."
3. Seasonal offerings
Too often, couples are focused on what they think they might be missing by having a winter wedding - outdoor ceremonies, longer daylight hours, etc. - and don’t stop to think about all of the details specific to a winter wedding that they wouldn’t have in other seasons.
While the colder months may mean no flowers are blooming outdoors in Pennsylvania, there are still a variety of seasonal flowers available to decorate your reception or design your bouquet. Flowers like amaryllis, roses, carnations, or poinsettias are all popular choices during the winter. Work with a local florist, like Gilly's Lilies in Lewisburg, to advise you on what floral offerings can be sourced for you on your winter wedding date.
Don’t let the chilly temperatures of a winter wedding in Pennsylvania deter you. Choose a venue with a built-in fireplace to set the mood for a warm winter wedding indoors. It may sound crazy, but having a winter wedding does not mean that you can’t have space for guests to spend time outdoors. Ask a venue, like Pump House B&B in Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania, about the outdoor heating options they have available.
4. Winter color palettes
Colors play a huge role in setting the mood for your wedding day. Color palettes vary by season and the hues you choose can create any kind of theme from festive to celestial to romantic. Winter colors tend to be darker, moodier, and create a stark contrast against the bright, white snow.
For a bold wintery palette, choose deep colors such as emerald green, navy blue, or merlot. Opt for gold, silver or other shimmering metallics to mimic the glistening Pennsylvania snowfall. Design your wedding invitations with these winter colors to give guests a sneak peak of your wedding design.
5. Beautiful snowy wedding photos
While no one can guarantee any weather, it’s important to embrace the fact that it could heavily snow before, or during, your wedding day. A snow day will create a magical setting for your wedding photos, like a snowy scene straight out of a Hallmark movie.
Not only will the snow create a picturesque scene for photos, so will the dark winter night. Getting darker earlier during the Pennsylvania winter months also means you can have your sparkler exit earlier in the evening before the photographer leaves or take photos outside under twinkling lights or by a glowing bonfire.
Looking for the perfect winter wedding invitations? Click the button below to get started with a free stationery consultation to discuss all your paper details and get an estimate!
Photo: Hannah Bjorndal Photography // Stationery: Freebird Paperie
Are you staring at a blinking cursor, struggling to find the perfect sentiment to use on your wedding invitations? I get the feeling. I felt the same way when my husband, Zach and I were designing the invitations for our Pennsylvania wedding! That’s why I created this wedding invitation wording guide, to help couples like you walk through the invitation wording essentials.
Below, I will answer the following questions in my wedding invitation wording guide!
Do you need some additional help with your invitation wording? I'm happy to help - just send me a message or better yet, more details about what you're looking for, and I can put together a quick estimate for you! I'm happy to sit down with you for a free wedding stationery consultation if you'd like as well. This will give us a chance to really dive into all the juicy details: your wedding Pinterest board, the paper choices and printing methods I offer (hello letterpress and foil printing!), all of the envelope colors you can choose from, what items you need (or maybe didn't know you needed!), and more.
I also have a collection of wording examples as a starting point available on my website, if you'd like to check those out now! Here are some more wedding etiquette do's and don'ts as well.
Ultimately, it's best to remain true to yourself and who you are as a couple when you put together the verbiage for your wedding stationery. No one is just like you, and you're the only one who can really tell your guests what to expect at your wedding ceremony and reception. Set the tone using language that reflects your personalities, interests, and gives your guests all the most important details. And have fun with it!
Comment below with any questions you might have about wedding invitation wording. I love chatting with you!