"Getting married, for me, was the best thing I ever did. I was suddenly beset with an immense sense of release, that we have something more important than our separate selves, and that is the marriage. There's immense happiness that can come from working towards that."
It is our belief that this day is about you and your partner's celebration of your love. Everything else is icing on the proverbial cake!
Nevertheless, we often receive questions about timing, and protocol for communicating details to guests. We're all about breaking rules, but also know that your friends and family need the who, what, when and how. The invitation suite communicates a lot about your wedding weekend, creating a sense of excitement, and ensuring guests that they'll be taken care of.
The following is a summary of standard etiquette, taking into consideration both traditional and contemporary wedding protocol.
When to Send: After Your Engagement
Invitation design can be a first glimpse into your event style, but need not match your main invitations.
SAVE THE DATE
When to Send: 4-6 Months Before the Wedding
Once you've selected a date and location, it is time to send out Save the Dates to your guest list. If you are hosting a destination wedding, it is important to give friends and family as much notice as possible to make travel arrangements. This piece can coordinate with your invitations, but it is not necessary.
When to Send: 6-8 Weeks Before the Wedding
Wedding invitations can be a single, flat card or an entire suite of pieces. Most of our clients include, in addition to the main Invitation, a details cards with information on weekend event times and locations, transportation, accommodations, wedding website/registry; a map; and even a small welcome booklet. Remember to consider how your guests will RSVP to the event; on paper or online. The more formal choice is to include an RSVP response card and self-addressed, stamped envelope in your wedding invitation suite.
Welcome booklets, single card itineraries and welcome basket notes greet your guests with a beautiful piece in the vein of your invitations. These pieces outline the schedule of events for the weekend, favorite local destinations, transportation details, etc.
This booklet is a great addition to your ceremony, especially if the wedding is a mix of religions and cultural backgrounds. Typical elements include the processional, service music, translations, order of the service, text for group prayers or readings, poems, and the names of soloists, the officiant, attendants and readers.
For weddings with assigned seating, escort cards can include each guests name and a table assignment. Often located at the entrance to the reception space, or passed on trays during cocktail hour, escort cards can be tented or flat and are lovely when enclosed in a tiny matching envelope.
Place cards can designate each guest's seat at a table. These cards typically contain just a guest's first name, but if you have friends and family with the same name, a last initial is a wise addition. Options: Escort envelopes (for individuals or couples) with corresponding insert cards denoting which table each guests is seated at. We often see this option paired with a Menu that doubles as a place card with the guest's name written at the top in script.
If you're commissioning escort cards, you'll need to mark each table with a table number or title so that guests can match up their escort card to where they will be sitting.
From sit-down dinners where your guests choose a meal to buffet style fare, it's always helpful to include a menu card that clearly denotes what each dish contains (for those with food allergies in mind). Option: Have guests’ names hand-calligraphed on the top of each menu for assigned seating, in lieu of place cards.
Our clients often commission signs to list available beverages or specialty cocktails at a bar; these help speed up waiting times in a long line, if you won't be offering passed beverages.
Stephanie's designs and collage work are often applied to much more than the invitation suite, often influencing the overall event design and look. Her work has adorned everything from a custom carpet in Versailles, to a hand-embroidered wedding gown in Cartagena, to plates, cocktail napkins, backdrops, matchbooks, and even an embroidered minaudiere.