A Strategy Guide to Selecting and Sending Wedding Invitations

It was the perfect proposal and you said “Yes!” Now the planning for your perfect day begins. Wedding invitations are like page one of your storybook wedding, the first glimpse of your big day. Beyond reflecting your personal style, and being a cherished keepsake, your invitations provide the details to get your guests to the church on time.

sea themed wedding invitation

The perfect invitation informs your guests whether they’ll need to dust off the tux and bowtie, pack the bikini for a destination wedding or perhaps bring along a light shawl for when the sun goes down on your romantic outdoor affair.

Your wedding invitations should include wedding reception details, directions and even parking instructions for the big event. If you’re guests are coming from out of town or you’re planning a destination wedding, accommodation information is also quite helpful to guests. And not to be forgotten, the response card.

Here’s a strategic guide to selecting and sending your wedding invitations:

When to Order, When to Send

First things first. Start searching for a stationer between nine and eleven months before your big day. Wedding invitations should be ordered three to five months in advance of your wedding and mailed six to eight weeks in advance. Give your guests an early heads up with save the date cards, which should go out six to eight months in advance. Your guests will appreciate the notice when they’re booking vacation time, etc. And ordering everything through the same stationer will simplify the process and save you money.

Determine Your Style

Your invitation hints to your wedding style. Before you sit down to pore over invitation samples, determine what style you’re aiming for–from rustic romance, to vintage, to southern charm or a themed wedding. Whether you dream of a formal wedding befitting royalty or perhaps your vision is casual and relaxed, your invitation should reflect your style. Browse websites to gather inspiration.

Chalkboard wedding invitation

Choose Your Color Scheme

Your wedding color scheme is part of your style and paints the backdrop for your breathtaking day. Whether you’re aiming for the lavender and emerald shades that scream vibrant bohemian or earthy and rustic greens, incorporate your colors into your invitations. Continue the color pattern throughout your wedding stationery, including the menus, programs, etc.

While classic cream, ivory and white card stock are among the most popular invitation choices, there are plenty of creative options. Consider jazzing your invites up with a metallic font and envelope liners. Keep in mind as you’re choosing colors and patterns that the text must be easy to read and make sure the text pops against the background color.

One Size Doesn’t Fit All

The traditional invitation size is 4.5 inches by 6.25 inches. But more modern couples are thinking outside the box, choosing round and even scalloped invitations, or square rather than rectangle. Keep postage costs in mind, as larger invitations might require additional postage.

Your Words Speak Volumes

Wedding invitations have their own word etiquette, and your stationer can guide you through this process. A traditional invitation opens with the host’s name, and then a “request the honor of your presence” line. Everything is customarily spelled out, including the date and time of the ceremony.

Keep your text to the key points such as time and place for the ceremony, the hosts and RSVP information. Too much type will make your invitation look busy and detract from its elegance. Parking information and other details can be included on a separate enclosure card.

The RSVP information should be in the bottom right corner of the invitation, or on a separate enclosure. Ask your caterer when they need a final head count, but three to four weeks from the receipt of an invitation is a decent deadline to RSVP. Tacky alert: Do not include your registry information–the focus of the invitation is the guest, not the gift.

What’s Your Budget?

NFL wide receiver Keyshawn Johnson and Jennifer Conrad spent into the millions on invitations, sending them in the form of iPads on which all the wedding details were listed.

There are so many variables that can factor into the price: the paper quality, ink, typeface and printing techniques such as engraving and letterpress. Decorative extras like creative inserts and multiple enclosures will add to the final bill. So, make a list of your priorities and do your research.

fancy pen writing

Leave Your Writing to the Pros

Calligraphy can add an element of elegance to not just your invitations, but menus, ceremony programs and even the wedding favor tags. Unless calligraphy is one of your hidden talents, consider hiring a professional. Because it’s time-consuming however, professional calligraphy can come with a steep price tag–anywhere from $2 to $5 per envelope.


Have fun with your invitations. With more options than ever before, they can truly reflect your personality and creativity. And don’t forget to order a few extra for keepsakes, and any last-minute invites.