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Along with the bride and groom, and the venue your invitations are one of the most important parts of your wedding planning.  Your invitation will set the tone and style of your wedding.  The invitation should reflect the degree of formality of your wedding.

Your invitation should be chosen with great care and consideration.  Family members and guests may your use your invitation as a keepsake.  It can be a beautiful reminder of your special day.

Choosing your invitations, working with printers, addressing and mailing your invitations can be a daunting task.  A major faux pas is mailing your invitations too late.   Your invitation should be mailed six to eight weeks before the wedding.  Out of town guests, and military personnel should be advised of the date prior to mailing your invitations.  Save the date cards, are not invitations.  They do not commit guests to attendance at your wedding.   Invitations should still be sent out in a timely manner.  Plan ahead.  Give yourself plenty of time to complete this very important step.  Don’t underestimate the length of time it may take you to choose and mail your invitations.  The prudent bride will start the invitation process six to eight months before the wedding.

Many wedding stationery companies, offer catalogs featuring styles of invitations.  Sample books and printers may also be found locally.  Wedding stationery catalogues may be found in the pages of bridal magazines and on the internet.

Wedding invitations generally are composed of three groups.  Third-person formal invitations, semi-formal invitations or handwritten invitations for small weddings.  For the couple who have chosen a traditional formal wedding, conventional wording and spelling will govern their invitation choices.  There are specific rules for formal wedding invitations.  Though they may seem outdated and nonsensical, formal weddings dictate a different set of rules for all components of the wedding.

There are several elements to consider when choosing invitations.  Paper shades, paper weight, type face, size and wording all have to be considered.  Some stationers may take several weeks to return your invitations.  Comparing prices and printers will aid in your invitation choice.

Your next task will be deciding how you want your invitations printed.  There are several options.  Engraving is the most popular choice for formal wedding invitations.  It results in raised print that can be felt on the back of the paper.  Engraving is also the most expensive.

Thermography is less expensive than engraving.  It is raised print, however it cannot be felt through the back of the paper.

Lithography imprints letter with ink, but it is neither raised nor pressed through lettering.  It is less expensive than engraving or thermography.

Laser printing is also an option.  It is the least expensive and can be done at home or at a professional print shop such as Kinko’s.  Handwritten wedding invitations are usually used for a very small wedding or when the couple really want to personalize their invitations no matter how formal the ceremony.

The bride and groom must decide how much tradition they wish to follow.

Wedding invitations should be addressed and stuffed in a certain matter.  Response cards, reception cards, maps may all be part of the wedding invitation.  Despite their popularity, bridal registry cards should not be part of your invitation.  There should be no mention of gifts on your invitation.  The couple, parents and members of the bridal party should help spread the word about where the couple is registered and what type of gift they may appreciate.  Remember, ultimately it is up to the guest to gift you with whatever they choose.  Your only obligation is to write a thank you note.

Choosing your wedding invitations should be a fun prelude to your wedding day.  Your invitation will be your guests’ first glimpse of the special time that awaits them.

Five tar School of Etiquette will coach you in the intricacies of invitations.  Call or email today to schedule a wedding etiquette session.  Need help stuffing and addressing your invitations correctly?  Five Star will help you present an invitation, that will follow the guidelines of wedding etiquette.

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Etiquette is the fine tuning of education. - Nadine Daher