Sending Out the Announcements
You don't have to be content with the one or two books of samples offered by a bored teenaged clerk at the local stationery store. It's easy to find save-the-dates and invitations with a personal touch.
Now that you've decided on a time, date, and location for your wedding, finally seeing the details in print can give you an exciting feeling that it's really going to happen.
Save that Date!
Formerly reserved exclusively for guests who needed to travel long distances or for weddings scheduled on holiday weekends, save-the-dates are an increasingly popular way of getting the word out about your wedding, no matter when it is or who is invited.
Save-the-date cards don't necessarily have to be actual cards. Creative couples order save-the-date magnets so their guests can remember the upcoming event every time they get milk out of the refrigerator. They can cost as little as twenty cents per magnet.
Save-the-dates are usually sent six months before the wedding. A piece of paper mailed with your names, your wedding date, and your wedding location might seem like a frivolous waste of money, but it can help your guests start planning all of their travel arrangements.
You can also use this as an opportunity to pass along information about local hotels, discount rates, and wedding attire.
When you add up save-the-date notices, invitations, and response cards, postage will be a significant expense. Be sure it's included in your budget. If you don't figure it in, you will think you're on target with your budget, but when you sit down to add everything up — ouch!
One inexpensive option is to send digital save-the-dates to your guests' e-mail addresses. Wedding Web sites such as The Knot offer free electronic save-the-dates.
If you prefer physical save-the-date cards, consider designing them yourself and printing them on your home computer. The only expenses will be paper, ink, and postage. Some stationery retailers offer discounts for couples who buy both their save-the-dates and invitations at the same place.
Traditional invitations include outer and inner envelopes, the invitation itself, a reception card, a response card, and maps or directions to the ceremony and reception sites. Order them four months before the wedding and send them out six to eight weeks before the big day.
Let your wedding style and budget guide you as you pick out your wedding invitations. Your invitations let your guests catch a glimpse of your wedding's style and degree of formality. However, remember that options that make your invitations fancier, such as special trims like lace or appliques or specialty papers, add to the expense and may require additional postage.
Be mindful of your budget when ordering the number of invitations, too. It's best to order an additional two dozen invitations in case you suddenly remember guests you should have invited. You may also want to give an extra invitation to your parents or members of your wedding party to include in photo or memory books. A nice touch after the wedding is to give a small album to the parents of the bride and groom. Paste the invitation on the cover, hot-glue decorations around it, and fill the inside with photos of the wedding.
What can we do with extra invitations?
Use your extra invitations to create gifts for your wedding party. Cut out pictures of you with your friends in the wedding party, paste them around the invitations, frame the collages, and present them to your bridesmaids and groomsmen.
Extra invitations and envelopes are helpful if there's a mistake in addressing them or some are returned for an incorrect address and you need to resend them. No one wants to have to go back to the printer with a small order and pay for express service or express mail.
Be careful with those extra invitations. Don't fall into the trap of saying, “Oh, let's invite so-and-so,” and little by little expand your guest list. Your wedding and reception should be reserved for people who are really important to you. No matter what the size of your budget, don't invite people for any other reason.
Start by finding stationery suppliers. Set aside time to sit and look through samples. You can visit local stationery suppliers or opt for virtual shopping.
Web sites offer a multiplicity of invitation styles, prices, and creative touches to suit any budget. Just type “wedding invitations” into your favorite search engine and links to hundreds of sites will appear, many of which offer the same name brands carried by the best stationery stores. Prices can be anywhere from 15 to 30 percent lower than those from a local store, though be sure to consider shipping costs in dealing with an online stationery service.
If you're unsure of what you want, certain wedding Web sites and bridal-magazine sites show galleries of wedding invitations. Free catalogs and samples are available, and many companies offer to send you a proof of your invitation to make sure you're totally happy before you complete your order.