Compiling a guest list is for many couples the most difficult part of their wedding plans. You should first determine the size of your wedding based upon budget.
Then, generally that number is divided into thirds between the couple’s friends and those of each of the two families before you ask your families for their lists. Whenever possible all guests should be
invited to both the wedding and the reception.
Your wedding invitation can help set the mood and style for your wedding. You will find selections from traditional designs with formal wording to contemporary designs which may incorporate your own specially created message. (You may want to coordinate the color and style of your invitations to complement the color and style of attire in the wedding party.)
Formal wedding invitations are usually thermographed or engraved and ordered well ahead to allow time for them to be addressed and mailed six weeks before the wedding. The most popular size is 4.5 X 5.25”, which fits into an envelope without folding. A larger 5.5 X 7.5” invitation is used for very formal weddings. When you confer with your printer, he will be able to show you various styles and appropriate wording. Remember, invitations are always written in the third person. Spell everything out . . .the wedding date, time, all numerals and names. Abbreviations, initials and nicknames are never used except for Mr. or Mrs., Jr., Dr. and Lt. Colonel.
Be sure to order enough invitations …you’ll need one for every married couple, each single adult guest, each attendant, and their parents (if invited), your attendants’ dates (if single), everyone in the groom’s family and, of course, your clergyman and guest.
Order extras for emergencies and keepsakes. Extra envelopes are a must…this will allow for any mistakes you may make when addressing.
For beautiful hand addressing a bride may turn to a calligrapher.
Be sure to order response cards (RSVP), if space is limited at the ceremony or you are planning to serve a meal.
There are several types of ‘enclosure’ cards you may wish to send. They may be used to alert guests to special arrangements. Ceremony Cards invite a limited number of guests to the ceremony in this instance, the invitation is to the reception and the enclosure is to the reception and the enclosure is to the wedding ceremony. Reception Cards limit the number of guests invited to the reception. Reception cards are sometimes used even when everyone is invited to both the ceremony and the reception, or you may say on the invitation “reception to follow at…” Pew Cards: special seating for friends and relatives. At Home Cards: a convenient way to provide others with your new name and address.
Announcements are sent to those friends, relatives and associates that you would like to share your joy with, but were unable to have at your wedding. They are similar to your invitations in size, paper, and style but may come from the couple or from either of their families.
Hand address all envelopes in blue or black ink. Remember, use full names…no initials. Your invitation is inserted into the inner envelope with enclosure cards and printed side facing the back flap. Insert this inner envelope into your addressed envelope.
Finally, be sure to order “Thank You” notes…and most important, be sure to send them as soon as possible. Dear Abby is deluged with complaints about brides who never quite get around to sending these most important expressions of gratitude.