Traditional wedding invitations, at least in America and most of Europe, have always been white or ivory paper printed with black ink, and always engraved or embossed. (You should see expensive Indian wedding invitations, though – they’re delivered in wooden boxes and usually include some remarkable things!)
Brides often still want the elegance and formality of the traditional invitation, but many others want something a little different.
Remember, the invitation is the first thing the guest sees for the wedding. It sets the tone of your big day, and gives the guest a clue as to whether the wedding is formal, semi-formal, or casual.
The Anatomy Of A Wedding Invitation
Wedding invitations traditionally include:
1. The outer envelope or mailing envelope
3. Reception card
4. RSVP card for invitation and reception
5. An inner envelope to mail back the RSVP card
6. Map, driving directions, important phone numbers and also where to stay while in town
Some more elaborate invitations also include an engraved card and a second inner envelope to hold the invitation – bringing the envelope total to three. Do you need all this? It’s up to you really.
In a very casual small wedding, just an email can be sufficient; in the aforementioned Indian invitation, a wooden box contained all the above material in brilliant red in a cloth-lined pocket, along with photos of the bride and groom under rice paper, stationery, and even a pen! To cap it off, when you opened the box by untying a red ribbon, it played Indian wedding music 🙂
Types Of Wedding Invitation
There are several types or styles of wedding invitation you can send to your guests:
Engraved or Embossed Wedding Invitations
The creation of engraved or embossed wedding invitations involves stamping the card in a mold to leave an indentation or imprint. Engraved wedding invitations take the longest to prepare too; six or seven weeks should be allowed after you approve the design and content. These are required for most formal weddings and your guests will probably expect to receive them if your wedding is set to be a grand affair.
Thermographed Wedding Invitations
Thermographed wedding invitations are printed with the same process used to create raised lettering on business cards. These are somewhat less formal than engraved, yet still elegant. Thermography wedding invitations can give you that sleek, expensive, engraved look in a much quicker time frame without the expense of real engraving. For the budget-conscious bride and groom, thermography could be a great solution.
Calligraphed Wedding Invitations
Handwritten, calligraphed, wedding invitations look old fashioned and elegant, but also take quite a while. You should never try to do this if you’ve never done calligraphy; it takes a special flair to get it right, and the ink can smear easily. However, when your guests receive a lovely hand-addressed wedding invitation from you they’ll certainly appreciate the time and effort you’ve taken to make the event very special.
Hand Colored or Personalized Wedding Invitations
Making your own wedding invitations is a new trend, adding a personal touch to your special day. For my brother’s wedding, I helped him make rose-based invitations that opened like double doors in the middle; the doors were tied with a ribbon matching his wedding colors and the whole card was delicately edged with shimmering gold paint, like old-fashioned books. Creativity mixed with personality can work well!
Boxed Set Wedding Invitations
These pre-prepared invitations can have personalized messages printed on them by inkjet or laser printer; with the proper equipment, you can even print in metallic leaf with a laser printer. These sets are fast, easy to use, and can be the perfect choice for almost any wedding occasion, because they look classy and will almost certainly impress your guests. I’ve used them many times and they’re always well received.
How To Address Your Wedding Invitations
It’s not considered proper to use labels on your envelopes, but you do have a choice between the cramping of hand-lettering envelopes yourself, the expense of hiring a professional calligrapher to do it for you, or using calligraphic fonts on your computer to print all the addresses for you.
The most critical thing, though, is having all the correct information on your wedding invitations, because the most beautiful wedding invitation in the world is worthless if it goes astray 🙂
As always, happy planning!