Your invitations are the first part of Your official wedding stationery; they serve both a practical and a decorative purpose. It is worth putting quite a lot of thought into your invitations and how they relate to any other stationery you will be using; the invitations should be a pleasure to send as well as to receive. In fact when we (the owners of Milestone Publicatioons & Walesnet) got married last year we designed our own invitations and in made individual place settings for each guest with a small graphic relevent to each guest on it, this may sound complicated but is in fact quite simple if you have a PC and some clip art. One of our most enjoyable memories of planning our wedding was the few hours we spent together planning what piece of artwork each guest would have, when you have done this you can take it to a printer or copy shop who will then produce the finished goods for you, and you can be sure as we were that no one would have had wedding stationery like us or our guests in fact all of the guests were laughing and commenting on the settings and scrolls that it really set the theme for the day.
Your invitations will need to make it clear who is hosting the celebrations, who is getting married, where it will take place (church or registry office and town), the exact date and time, precisely who is invited, whether an RSVP is required, and to whom the reply should be addressed. Many invitations will also include details of the reception. It is not generally necessary to include the year in the date. If you are happy to receive RSVPs by phone then just put a telephone number instead of an address; a phone number can often be useful anyway in case the guest has to cancel or alter arrangements at the last minute.
Making them special
There are many ways in which you can make your wedding invitations personal and unique. Most large stationers’ have formula wedding stationery where your names and details are just slipped into a pre-set style, but you may well want to do something more special. You may want to go to a small printer rather than a chain store so that you can get a personal service. You will then have more freedom to choose the colour of the card and ink, to include motifs, borders, monograms, pictures, special typefaces, etc. Some firms will draw a picture of your church, write each invitation out calligraphically, or even embroider your invitations.
Remember that each couple, and each family with children, needs only one invitation. If the children are over 18 they should be sent their own invitation, even if they live at home. Print some extras though for albums, to allow for mistakes, and in case there are last minute additions to the guest list.
While you are enquiring about invitations, take the opportunity to decide what other matching stationery you will require, such as orders of service, books of matches, thank you notes, etc. If you are using a printer then it is possible to have practically anything printed for your wedding, if you have any ideas no matter how strange you may feel it is ask your printer he will be more than happy to help you. Many couples now choose to have personal momentos made up as keepsakes for their guests, the ides are limitless.
Styles of invitations
Choose your invitations to fit in with the style of wedding you are planning as a whole. The design and layout can be formal, traditional, modern, hand written etc. the invitations can include a photograph, monogram, or even a hand drawing of the couple or relevant symbols for instance notes if you are a musician, hospitals if you are doctors etc. or even a drawing of the church.
There are rules for the wording of very formal invitations, but do remember that these can always be varied if the wedding is anything other than the most formal high society affair. The most important point to clarify on the invitations is the relationship between the bride and whoever is hosting the celebrations.
If the bride’s parents are hosts:
Mr and Mrs Alan Brown request the pleasure of you r company at the wedding
of their daughter Ann to John Smith . . .
If the bride’s parents are divorced, but hosting the wedding together:
Mr Alan Brown and Mrs Jane Brown . . . of their daughter Ann . . .
If the bride is marrying for the second time but the parents are still the hosts:
Mr and Mrs Alan Brown . . . of their daughter Ann Jones . . .
If the mother is widowed and is the sole host:
Mrs Alan Brown. . . of her daughter Ann . . .
If the mother is divorced and not remarried:
Mrs Jane Brown . . . of her daughter Ann . . .
If the mother is divorced or widowed and remarried:
Mrs Jane Fletcher . . . of her daughter Ann Brown . . .
If the mother has remarried and she and the stepfather are joint hosts:
Mr and Mrs Robert Fletcher . . . of her daughter Ann Brown . . .
If the mother has remarried but she and the bride’s father are joint hosts:
Mrs Robert Fletcher and Mr Alan Brown (or Mr Alan Brown and Mrs Robert
Fletcher) . . . of their daughter Ann Brown . . .
If the bride’s father is sole host:
Mr Alan Brown . . . of his daughter Ann . . .
If the bride’s stepfather is sole host:
Mr Robert Fletcher . . . of his stepdaughter Ann Brown . . .
If the bride’s foster-parents are hosts:
Mr and Mrs Andrew Lawrence . . . of their foster-daughter Ann Brown . . .
If the bride’s godmother is host:
Mrs Peter Mitchell . . . of her goddaughter Ann Brown . . .
If the bride’s godmother and her husband are hosts:
Mr and Mrs Peter Mitchell . . . of her goddaughter Ann Brown . . .
If the bride’s uncle and aunt are hosts:
Mr and Mrs Christopher Roberts . . . of their niece Ann Brown . . .
If a friend is host:
Miss Jennifer Williams . , . of Ann Brown .. .
Mr Johnathan Potter . . . of Ann Brown. . .
There are, of course, numerous variations even on these possibilities!
If two daughters of the same couple are getting married the elder one is mentioned first on the invitation. If the same couple are acting as hosts for the wedding of a daughter and a niece or goddaughter, the daughter is mentioned first. If two couples are acting as joint hosts for a double wedding, the older couple is mentioned first.
Some couples decide to have an evening party for a wider group of friends and relatives; in this case you may wish to have special invitations printed with just the evening details. Registry offices are often quite small and it may not be possible to invite everyone to the service; in this case you can send an invitation just to the reception, including a note of explanation if you wish. It used not to be correct to invite people to the service only, but this is no longer the case; friends from work, church, sports clubs, etc., will often appreciate the chance to witness the service. If there are only a few in this category you could invite them by word of mouth; if there are more than a few you could have invitations printed, just giving details of the service and omitting the reception details.