Monday, May 2, 2011

Step 61 - Send your Invitations out to Wedding Guests

(3 Months to 4 Months before the Wedding)
Bills, advertising postcards, coupons, company newsletters, and What's This! A Wedding Invitation!
Nothing is exciting and perks somebody up like being on the receiving end of a wedding invitation. It's a day of excitement to look forward to and seeing old family and friends and making new ones. It's important to give this precious piece of paper your all. Wedding invitations (besides who, what, when, and where) offers a sneak peak of what's to come and announces a special event to look forward to.

Think of a wedding invitation as a planning tool. The wedding invitation announces to the recipient, they have been important people in the couple's lives and are bestowed the honor of being announced as wedding guests. The wedding invitation includes the wedding hosts sponsors (usually the bride's parents or both bride and groom's parents), name of bride and groom, day of the week of the wedding, wedding day and time, address of the ceremony and/or reception and date the RSVP needs to returned, and sometimes additional information is provided such as maps and directions, details regarding transportation (if there are any), reception card menu choices, hotel information including block information of rooms reserved and timeline for response for a room discount. (Should include a few choices of hotel rooms, with upscale rooms as well as less expensive hotel possibilities).

If a calligrapher is preparing your wedding invitations, give him/her a little leeway when you are working with them. Their work is often tedious and they are more than likely working on multiple clients at a time, often they might not divulge the other clients they are doing work for because they want your business too. Usually, calligraphers are good at prioritizing their work load and will let you know of their turn around timetable. The rule of thumb is, for every 100 invitation cards to prepare, expect a one week turnaround. Expect 200 cards to take two weeks and 300 cards to take three weeks.

Whenever you order wedding invitations and envelopes, always order 20 additional cards per every 100 invitations and envelopes you think you will need. Oops smudges may occur on some invitations plus mistakes in addressing, plus possibly a few incorrect address returns, and there always a few late additions of invitations to account for. Double check all the addresses, the names and addresses are spelled correctly and are current. It's a good idea to have two sets of eyes review the addresses. Review all the papers that will go along with the wedding invitations including the RSVP.

RSVP, by the way comes from the French expression "respondez s'il vous plait", which translates into English as "Please Respond". This means the host would like a response as to whether you will be attending or not. This is important for the planning parties of the wedding to arrange seating and food for the correct number of guests. Review maps, and all documents, for mapping mistakes, spelling, address mistakes, smudges or change of tonal coloring, maybe a color of ink ran out while printing and the color tint on some paper has changed.

If you should decide to do the wedding invitations diy (do it yourself), leave plenty of time to ready the invitations. To design, assemble, print, and address your invitations, it can take two months to work on a wedding invitation project. The process can be tedious, do it in increments so you don't get overwhelmed. If you want special stamps for the invitations, you can visit the U.S. Post Office online and browse their inventory of stamps and decide which ones would look best on your invitations. You should create a sample invitation pack and take it directly to the post office and get the packet weighed so you know exactly how much posting is needed for each one.

If you have many wedding invitations, recruit family and friends to help check your invitations, stuff, and stamp. Remember, nobody says the project has to be done in one day, don't tucker yourself out but if you leave papers out, make sure paper products protected from the elements, they aren't exposed to heat or sunlight, the envelope flaps can become sticky, or papers shriveled some or color may fade.

When you take the wedding invitations to the post office, make sure the envelopes are dropped off directly to the post office clerks. You don't want delicately crafted wedding invitations to be machine handled by a stamping machine. You want to inform the post office clerk that you are sending wedding invitations out and request the invitations to be stamped delicately by a person.

Be sure to check out the wedding invitation materials beforehand and make sure their is wiggle room in the envelopes. You don't want to spend hours of time stuffing and stamping envelopes only to find when you seal the envelopes the material looks bulky or the envelopes don't close properly. Create a checklist process for your envelope stuffing and stamping, don't forget to update your wedding organizer/planner with updates to your guest list, with who was sent wedding invitations and who was not.

What follows are some brief guidelines to help you construct a traditional wedding invitation mailing ensemble. These are merely generally accepted methods — feel free to deviate from them if you want.

Some tip suggestions before you actually begin. It can be helpful to clear out a space, such as a large table, to work in and and to set up all your materials (inner and outer envelopes, invitations, tissue, maps and directions, response cards, response envelopes, hotel instructions, stamps, wedding business cards, etc.) beforehand to reduce confusion. Make sure you have the correct and same amounts of invitations and envelopes. Pre-stamp your Response Envelopes. You may want to invest in a small bottle of envelope sealer or glue to save your tongue some troubles. Alternately, you can use a moist sponge.

One guideline states, start with an open envelope facing up off the table, wedding invitation is placed into the envelope first, followed by protective wedding tissue directly over the printed words and the remaining papers should be inserted largest to smallest with all front of the cards facing up.

A new trend is starting to emerge in wedding invitation packets, couples are starting to include color schemed business cards. These cards show a photo of the couple on the left side on the front of the card with the couple's names, date and time of the wedding, along with the couple's website or blog and a contact medium such as Facebook or an email address. The backside of the card again is titled with the couple's names and has an address to where to send wedding gifts along with contact information including phone number for the bride's parents, groom's parents, maid-of-honor, best man and information on bridal registries on the bottom of the card. The wedding couple's business card can be put up as a reminder of the big day on a refrigerator or kept in one's wallet in the event of a need to contact the bridal party or arranging to send a gift.

If you are not using the services of a calligrapher, there are some wedding websites that provide nice diy wedding invitation software. Some recommended company websites follow:

DIY Wedding Invitation Software

As you are creating wedding invitations, sometimes you want to fancy up the cards with clip art or pictures. Some recommended companies to investigate include:

Clip Art or Pictures

You can even create maps for your wedding from online sources, they can be real maps or designer maps using various clip art. Many sites on the web sell full blown city illustrator maps for very expensive prices of $300 - $600. Some sites have less expensive editable blank maps which can be customized and thinned down to show just the streets and wedding location with your directions and street text. These maps can be cropped, copied and pasted, or cropped in a page layout program to get the size and insets you want on the final map. A important thing to remember is simple drawn maps with less streets and just a few symbols and text on them are a lot cleaner looking than a map with every street on it. If you draw a wedding map keep it simple. It does not have to be to scale and have every street and landmark on it. The cleaner the wedding map, the better.

Online Map Creation

Create Free Google Wedding & Event Maps

You can easily create a free wedding map or any custom Google Maps in minutes using the free Google Maps. The advantages to this are you have full control over creating the map that is clickable with your links and photos. Also, it is associated with your Google account and not some commercial third party host that will mine and sell any information you give them.

To create a Google Maps Wedding or Locator Map you need to do the following:

1. Log into your Google account and go to Google Maps ( If you don't have a Google account you can easily create a Google email account for free.
2. Next, click the "My Maps" link in the upper left of the window of
3. Next, click the "Create new map" link in the upper left. You can make your map using their symbols and your text, or link to any pictures, symbols, and movies. Google Maps has way more freedom in making the kind of map you want. You can add wedding map locations like hotels, reception locations, points of interest, houses, good restaurants, good shopping locations, ATMs, and any thing else that needs to be on the map for the wedding.
4. Next save it as a private map in the upper left. Click the link button and copy the link path information in the upper right. Next, open a browser window and paste and test the link. It is a good idea to mail the link to yourself so you have it on hand for copying and mailing to wedding guests.
5. The nice thing about having this on your Google account is it won't be shared with the public if you don't want it to be. On other wedding map creation sites people can look up your personal map by accident using last name searches. Why have a company help you make a Goggle Map, when you can cut them out of the picture and use Google Maps just like they do! DON’T give out personal information that you don’t have to. Once they have your personal email address you will be bombard with they’re wedding ads and flyers for their services. Read the fine print.
6. You can easily add and change information on the map as the wedding gets closer. Also, using your Google account keeps your name from being added to a wedding mailing list. With the map on your Google account, you can totally control your personal family information and the site permissions(public, private).
7. Your free Google wedding map can be embedded/linked on the wedding site if you have one, or emailed to the guests, or posted on a Myspace or Facebook account.
8. The best part is when you are done with the Google wedding map, you can easily delete it. Your personal information on the map is gone and you have not given out personal information while making the wedding map. Unlike third party sites that may backup and keep your map on the site as reference or as an example.

Whether you create a wedding invitation yourself or have a calligrapher create it for you, the important thing it's a keepsake because it's an official invite to the biggest day of your life. It's your first introduction and impression to some of your beau's family! The wedding invitation should be created professionally, accurately and in a style that represents you and inform your wedding guests what's yet to come! See you on the other side!

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