Wedding Invitations: Tips and Ideas
Retro Floral Elements- illustrations for wedding invitations.

Getting your wedding invitations in the mail with plenty of time for family and friends to respond is key to having a good turnout at your wedding.

If you’re one of the many couples planning a summer wedding, you’re probably thinking about getting your wedding invitations and save-the-date cards out after the first of the year. The invitations set the stage for your wedding. It’s the first opportunity you have to share the style of your celebration. You’ll want to have an idea of what type of ceremony you’re having, classic or modern, elegant or casual. When you order your invitations, you’ll want to consider other wedding stationery, such as menu cards, ceremony programs and thank-you notes, that carry your motif and colors throughout the event.

Making Your Wedding Invitations

Here are some tips and ideas you’ll want to keep in mind when you make your invitations:

  • Choose your wording carefully. Learn the rules of how your invitation should be worded. Traditionally, it’s the host of the celebration who is listed first. If you are dealing with multiple sets of parents, you may choose something different to honor everyone. Don’t put too much information on the card. Print separate enclosure cards for directions to the venue and travel information.
  • Don’t include registry information in your invitations. Put it on your wedding website and tell your family for when guests ask.
  • Order invites and other stationery together and early. This saves you time, money and stress.
  • Double or even triple check everything that is printed. Have two or three different people look at the proofs to ensure nothing is missed, misspelled or incorrect.
  • Get creative with fonts and coloring, but make sure the invitation is readable.
  • When ordering invitations, count mailing addresses, not guests. But remember to add a few extra invites to avoid having to run a reprint later on.
  • Send an invite if you’ve sent a save-the-date card. Even if you know the guests cannot attend, send the invitation, because not doing so implies that the guest is no longer invited.


  • It’s recommended that you send invitations about six to eight weeks prior to the wedding, but 10 weeks is becoming the norm in these busy times. You have to remember not to send invites too early, because people forget to RSVP. Sending invites too late doesn’t give you enough time to get responses to tell your caterer an official head count.
  • When putting an RSVP deadline on the card, give yourself a few extra days between the real date and the date you tell people. For example, you have to give your caterer a head count on June 1. Make the RSVP deadline on May 24, a full week earlier. If you have to spend time calling people, you won’t be so stressed. Giving people a short time to respond makes them take care of it quicker. You might even choose to move the date up even more.
  • Help your guests respond to invites with all the information that you require. You might be surprised how many people forget to write their names on the reply cards or just forget to respond at all. Discreetly number the reply cards to correspond to the list of guest names, or consider pre-printing a label for the reply card.

Making Your Wedding Invitations: Outside the Envelope

  • Don’t use address labels on the envelope. Hand write them yourself or ask your bridal party to help. If you’re concerned about making mistakes, just get a few extra envelopes. The hand-written address makes the invite feel more personal.
  • Get a glue stick to seal the envelopes without damaging the invites.
  • Be careful about the outside of the envelope. Use a dark-color ink to address the envelopes to make sure it can be read.
  • Check the correct the postage before you mail. Take one envelope with the reply cards inside to the post office and have it weighed and examined. To be sure that the clerk got it correct, mail an invite to yourself before you send out the others.



Back to the Basics: Traditional Mail
Young woman at table writing traditional mail by a teapot and glass, smiling

Traditional Mail used to be the only means of communication before the internet was a thing.

When was the last time you received traditional mail like a handwritten letter in your mailbox? No, not a greeting card or thank-you note, but a real letter, written with a pen or pencil on paper. Remember the excitement you felt? If you’re like most people, you probably stopped everything and took a few minutes to open that envelope and read the words inside. There’s something about letter writing that demonstrates a special connection and communication.

Articles dating back to 2009 and maybe even earlier talk about how letter-writing is a dwindling art. According to “The Guardian,” about 20 percent of UK students have never even received a handwritten letter. Over half of the recipients had never sent one. One expert believes that letter-writing is instrumental to a child’s development. Receiving a letter is a statement of investment in a relationship. Putting your thoughts and ideas on paper is an effort in “civilized human thought.” Letter-writing is a practical application of spelling and grammar, without the ease of emoticons or shortcuts. 

Writing a Traditional Letter

It’s common to start a letter with the phrase, “Dear –,“ but that can feel very stilted and formal in today’s society. You should include some kind of salutation, but it doesn’t have to be traditional. Hi or hello will work just as well when you’re writing an informal letter to a friend. Pretend you’re talking to the person. If you don’t know what to talk about in the body of a letter, here are some ideas:

  • What made you decide to write the letter
  • Something about today that reminds you of the person
  • A memory of the individual
  • A piece of information or wisdom you’ve always wanted to share
  • Something you find difficult to say in person
  • A memory of your childhood that you want your son, granddaughter or mentee to know
  • Stories of college or the military

If you’ve never written letters before, it may seem weird to have a one-sided conversation. Don’t worry, as you get more accustomed to writing on paper instead of the computer, the words will flow. You don’t have to overthink letter-writing. Spend 15 minutes or so writing the letter, and send it off.

Don’t forget to close the letter. You don’t have to use the very formal “sincerely yours.” Choose a casual sign-off, maybe “toodles,” or “see you later.” Again, just pretend the person is there, and you’re saying good-bye. Sign your name. Be creative and use the name the person knows you as. This isn’t a business letter. If you have a lot of space at the bottom of a page, draw a picture or include your favorite quote. Not many people keep linen stationery around. It’s okay if you just have plain white copy paper. Find stickers or stencils and jazz up the page to make it look special.

Why Traditional Mail?

Teaching our children to write casual letters is the introduction to more formal kinds of communication. It’s very difficult to sit down and write a business letter unless you’ve experienced casual letter-writing. Email and letter-writing might be similar, but they have their differences.

A letter isn’t for bad news or to start a fight. Be positive and creative. Many people have forgotten how to communicate in writing, but getting a letter is fun. Make a resolution to write one letter a month to someone you love. You might choose a shut-in who can’t use technology. Your letter isn’t just for the recipient. Your words tell the story of your life. Sharing this story is a way to bring you closer to your family and friends. It also helps you become more articulate about what has shaped you. Let’s bring back the lost art of letter-writing in 2017.

FAQs About Wedding Gift-Giving
Some parties or weddings will have a table set aside for you to drop your wedding gift off at.

Make sure that you place your wedding gift with the others.

The traditional summer wedding might be over, but ceremonies happen all year long. Many guests don’t know what’s expected from them when giving a wedding gift. Here are some etiquette tips to help you make good decisions about giving a present to the couple when you’re invited to the party.

What Should I Buy?

The wedding registry is the best resource for choosing a gift. The couple may have a wedding website with some special notes about wanting to save up for a larger purchase. You should consult the registry to make sure you match the couple’s style and personality. If you’re making a handmade gift, you can find color ideas and patterns on the registry to know what the bride prefers. 

How Much Should I Spend?

There are a number of thoughts about how much to spend on gifts. As a general rule of thumb, you don’t need to spend the same amount on a coworker or distant relative as you would on a close relative or friend. According to, the average wedding gift costs $106. That figure will vary depending on your budget, the relationship you have with the couple and how much you’re spending to get to the wedding. Traditionally, you don’t need to spend as much on the gift when it’s a destination wedding or if you’re coming from a long distance.

When Should I Send the Wedding Gift?

Although many people still bring gifts to the wedding, this is often very difficult for the bride and groom to manage. These gifts may have to be transported to different places, and if the couple is leaving directly from the reception for the airport, it will be complicated for the family. Plus, there are more opportunities for money and small gifts to be stolen at a reception. It’s best to send it to the home of either the bride or the groom before the ceremony or up to three months following the wedding.

If I’m Bringing a Gift to the Wedding, Do I Have to Buy One for the Shower, Too?

A shower is a party to bless the bride (or couple) with gifts. It is the one party that is all about the gift-giving. Set your gift budget when you get the wedding invitation. If you get an invitation to a shower, use the 20 percent rule. Dedicate 20 percent of your budget to the shower gift. If you get invited to more than one shower, take another 20 percent out of the original budget for the gift. Whatever is left, use it to buy the wedding gift. For example, you set a budget of $200. You’re invited to a bridal shower and an engagement party. Twenty (20) percent of 200 is $40. Spend $40 on a gift for the engagement party, then another $40 for the shower. This leaves $120 for the wedding gift. But feel free to use those limits as you choose.

One final thought: You should not stretch your budget too far to give what might be expected. The wedding is not about gifts and money; it’s about celebrating the union of two people. If your finances won’t let you give a large gift, do what you can. A gift certificate to a local restaurant would be a nice treat for the couple when they get back from the honeymoon. Picture frames are always welcome and can be expensive when you want to buy a lot. Treat the bride to a couple of special ones. Maybe on the couple’s first anniversary, your budget will allow you to do something more. The wedding should be a celebration, not a gift-grabbing event. If the couple knows and loves you, they will understand your limitations.