Once your guest list is determined, start thinking about your invitations. Order your invitations no later than four months before your wedding date—and six months ahead is not too soon. This will comfortably allow at least four weeks for the printer to process the order, and a month for you to assemble and address them. (If you're hiring a calligrapher to address your envelopes, you'll want to make arrangements as soon as the invitations are ordered.)
How many invitations will you need? Count one per couple, one each for single guest, and one for children over 18 in a family (they should receive their own invitation). Then add at least a dozen extra as mementoes and to cover any last-minute additions to the guest list. And be sure to order another 25 to 50 extra envelopes for addressing mistakes.
Assembly & Addressing
Invitations should be in the mail at least six weeks before the wedding; eight weeks or more for out-of-town guests who will need to make travel arrangements. If you are working with "A" and "B" lists, mail the "A" list invitations at least six weeks in advance. One regrets from the "A" list start coming in, you can continue inviting people from your "B" list until three weeks before your wedding.
When your invitations are delivered from the printer, you'll have to assemble the many components. (If possible, enlist your bridesmaids or fiance to help.) With all the text facing up, layer the insertions in this order:
- The main invitation
- The tissue paper (if you want—it's not necessary)
- The reception card (if you're using them)
- All other cards in order of size (smallest on top)
Slip the entire package into the ungummed inner envelope (if you're using them) so that the text is facing the flap. Finally, insert the inner envelope, with the guest's name facing the flap, into the outer, gummed envelope, which gets sealed.
It's unnecessary to include children's names on the outer envelope, but do list them on the inner envelope with their parents (Mr. and Mrs. John Smith and Bobby). The absence of a child's name implies that he or she is not invited.
When addressing your wedding invitations, follow these rules:
- Spell out special titles (Rabbi Jack Singer), including for guests who are medical doctors or have academic degrees by which they are commonly referred to (Doctor Betty Jones).
- For couples who are married, without special titles: Mr. and Mrs. Frank Jones.
- For couples who are unmarried, living together: Put names on separate lines in alphabetical order.
- For couples who are unmarried, living separately: Send a separate invitation to each at their respective addresses.
Before posting your invitations, be sure to take a fully assembled sample to the post office and have it weighed one last time to confirm how much postage each one requires.
Be sure to buy pretty stamps for both the outer envelope and the reply card envelope, and apply them neatly.
No Regrets: Stress-Free Wedding Invitations
- Make sure to get a physical sample of an invitation before you commit--you may love the look of something in a catalog, but dislike the weight or texture in real life.
- Proofread your text carefully, and ask a friend to examine carefully before your entire order is printed.
- Considering making your own invitation? It can be a great way to add a creative touch to your wedding, but given the cost of material and the time involved, it won't necessarily save you any money over having them professionally printed.
- Once your invitations are finally, sent, don't lose that list of guest addresses. You'll need them all again to send Thank You Notes.