Wedding invitations: the basics explained

Wedding invitationThere is lots to think about when designing your wedding invitations, often much more than most couple realise – until they sit down to start creating their own, that is.

From the style and stock to colour and font, many elements go into creating the perfect wedding (and engagement) invitation, one that perfectly reflects you and your fiance – and your wedding’s overall look and feel.

“Sitting down to choose their wedding or engagement stationery is, often, the first time a bride and groom will start thinking seriously about the theme of their wedding,” says Julie Dennison, who runs Archives wedding invitations, which specialises in high-end (and rather stunning) wedding invitations, usually adorned in ribbons, lace, jewels and other embellishments that would not look out of place in a couture bridal gown shop.

“They’ll, generally, have a rough idea of what they want, but come the time to choose their invitations, they’ll need to decide on the final look. Remember, also, for your guests, the wedding invitation is, often, the first peek they’ll get at the upcoming wedding and its overall look and feel, so it’s important to put some serious thought into what you want your invitations to convey.”

By the time they sit down with their wedding invitation designer, most couples will already have decided on the date and time; they’ll also have booked their wedding and reception venue/venues, and (almost) finalised their guest lists.

“Though you can still choose your wedding invitations, without settling on the ‘big’ details such as a wedding date and location for the reception and ceremony,” says Julie, “remember that you won’t be able to start printing them.”

Wedding thank you

Julie, who has run Archives since 2000 – and has created the invitations for more than 4000 weddings and other events – says wedding invitations are, traditionally, sent out about eight weeks before the wedding, to ensure guests have time to plan their attendance. If you’re having a destination wedding that may require guests to travel or take annual leave to attend, you may want to send them out 12 weeks before your big day.

The RSVP date is usually four weeks before the occasion.

However, a Save the Date card is recommended for those getting married at peak times, and these simple cards – which do not need details of the venue or time – can be sent six months in advance.

Many couples choose to use a colour scheme and theme on their invitations that will carry through all the way through to their wedding day.

They may also choose to have matching RSVP cards, wishing well requests, order of service booklets for the wedding, place cards for the reception, and thank-you cards.

For couples requiring languages other than English – which includes many couples in multicultural Australia – will need to find a wedding invitation supplier that can print in the required language, or languages.

It is for this reason that designing their invitations can seem more important than simply informing their guests of the date, time and venue of the wedding.

“I recommend people start thinking about the invitations as soon as possible, because it gives them time to see samples of a variety of different designs,” says Julie, who started Archives in 2000.

She adds that when ordering invitations, there are some factors that most couple overlooked.

“For example, a lot of companies will charge more for individually printing the guests’ names onto the invitations. It’s important to know what is included when you see a price quoted.”

“Also, different sizes of invitations will require a different price of postage stamp. Some of our invitations require a 70c stamp, others $1.40, which can surprise some couples.”

Archives’ bespoke invitations are in demand for a variety of reasons, but particularly because the company specializes in printing in languages other than English.

“It is a service we have always offered. We’ve printed in Chinese, Hebrew and Arabic, as well as a lot of other languages that use the same alphabet that we do,” Julie said.

“Sometimes people will want two text cards inside the invitation, one in one language and one in the other.”

“On other occasions, people will request half the invitations be in one language and half in the other.”

Archives stunning invitations are hand-made in Australia, using handmade and recycled paper. The standard price includes individual printing of guest names, a matching envelope and an RSVP card.

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