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Invitations & Your Guest List

When compiling your wedding invitation guest list, decide whether you will include only the spouses of your guests, or whether you would like to invite fiancé and significant others as well.

If you address an invitation with the words “and guest,” you should assume that the invitee will bring one. Factor this into the number of guests your budget, location, and caterer can accommodate, and decide as a couple what you would like to do.

You can always leave out the words “and guest” initially, then call your single guests closer to the actual wedding, once you have a firmer idea of how many people will be attending, and offer them the option to bring a date if they would like.

Send out your wedding invitations six to eight weeks in advance. That way you’ll have plenty of time for slower RSVPs as well as time to move to your “B” list if your numbers are coming in lower than expected.

Any international guests or those traveling great distances to attend should receive their wedding invitations or, at minimum, information regarding the wedding, ten to twelve weeks in advance as a courtesy to assist them in travel planning.

Include a “reply by” date on your reply card to encourage guests to RSVP in a timely manner. Prestamp your reply card as a courtesy to invitees.

Check with your caterer as to the absolute final date you can let him or her know your total number of guests. As this date approaches, if you have not heard from certain guests, you and the groom should call them to find out if they are planning to attend.

After the wedding, frame, matte, or etch your invitation on a silver serving tray, glass plate, or Lucite block to serve as a beautiful reminder of your special day.

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Most popular wedding day this year/century - 07-07-07

If you noticed a lot of activity at any given church and or country club yesterday, there was a good reason for it. Las Vegas was especially busy as those in love wanted extra luck on their wedding day. Yesterday was the most popular wedding day of the year - in fact, it was the most popular wedding day for the past century.

We here at http://www.beautifulweddinginvitations.com saw this coming months ago as we started getting many wedding invitations with the wedding date of 7/7/07. It remains to be seen if this was the luckiest wedding day of the century, but it was certainly one of the busiest. There are no official numbers yet as to how many weddings took place yesterday, but www.TheKnot.com indicated that over 38,000 couples on their registry got married yesterday.

The date was popular for a number of reasons. Seven is considered to be an auspicious number in a number of different cultures. One groom stated that he’ll never forget his anniversary date. In the orthodox Jewish tradition, the bride circles the groom seven times when she arrives at the chuppah, which is a canopy used in weddings. Seven candles are lit during Kwanzaa. There are seven wonders of the world. The Big Dipper is formed from seven stars. Buddha is said to have walked seven steps upon his birth. The Islamic tradition involves seven levels of heaven. The ancient city of Rome was said to be built on seven hills. There are seven deadly sins, as well as virtues, in some Christian traditions. And gamblers hit the jackpot with the slot machine combination 7-7-7.

Wedding professionals are no hoping that another triplicate, 8/8/08, will be a popular date. (That is a Friday) as well as consecutive numbers like 6/7/8 (Saturday). Somehow, 6/6/06 didn’t arrive with the same fanfare. (For one reason, that was a Tuesday). I think that any date will be hard to compete with the lucky 7s.

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Announcement vs. Invitation

Wedding Etiquette: what’s the difference between a wedding announcement and wedding invite?

My cousin is getting married later this year, and my sister and I cannot wait to go.

We first heard about this forthcoming blessed event via a wedding announcement. Then, a couple of months later as I recall, we received our formal wedding invitation.

The flow of this correspondence, in the order it came in, produced a question that just so happens, our wedding etiquette expert Debby answers:

The purpose of the wedding announcement is to let family and friends who were not invited know that the wedding took place. They are traditionally sent out by the parents the day after the wedding. They can be sent out up to a year afterwards but the sooner of course, the better.

They follow the same format and are usually printed on the same stock as the invitations but do not include the time or physical address of the wedding, just the day, year and name of location (i.e.: First Baptist Church, Rockville, Maryland).

The announcement usually begins with the parents names “have the honour of announcing” or “have the honour to announce.”

The wedding announcements can also be issued by the bride and groom in which case their names will appear on the first three lines then continue with simply “announce their marriage.” It would be presumptuous for them to include “have the honour” so that is not included if the announcements are from them. Also the word “joyfully” is not properly included as it is assumed that they are happy.

Wedding announcements are usually sent with “At-Home Cards” which are small enclosure cards on which their new address is given. These at-home-cards are not expected. They are just a nice and easy way to let people know your address. Wedding gifts are not expected upon receipt of a wedding announcement as they are upon receiving a wedding invitation.

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Wedding Invitation Etiquette: And The Unaccompanied Guest

Wedding Etiquette as an unaccompanied wedding guest has its own implications.

I have some direct experience with this issue. Not all that long ago, I was invited to my cousin’s son’s wedding.

The wedding ceremony was great, but I was one of the few guests who came alone.

I could have brought a guest, but I didn’t know if that was encouraged or not.

Not being crass enough to call my cousin and ask if that would have been OK, I attended all by myself (not a problem, especially since I danced off about five extra pounds at the post-wedding reception).

But that got me to thinking- what is the Wedding Etiquette way of determining if it is OK to bring a guest to the wedding?

I put the matter out of my mind until I recently read a Q-A from TheKnot.com on this very issue.

The question was: “I’ve been invited to a friend’s wedding, but I don’t want to go alone. Is it okay to bring a date?”

Some wise advice was provided by Lisa Carse, who supplied the answer from The Knot to the website of WABC-TV, New York.

“Check your invitation envelope. Does it just say your name or does it say your name “plus guest”? If yours is the only name on the envelope, then you’re the only one who’s been officially invited. Resist the urge to ask the couple if you can bring a guest anyway.

“Instead, figure out who else might be attending the wedding solo and plan your transportation (and accommodations) with them, if possible. If it’s still too uncomfortable to attend alone, then you can politely decline the invitation.”

(The Knot, via WABC-TV, New York)

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Wedding Invitation Etiquette: When Are Reception Cards Necessary?

Wedding Etiquette considerations sometimes involve whether or not to send reception cards.

Reception cards are not always necessary. Here is some information about when you should use them, and when you should not.

Reception cards are not necessary if the ceremony and the reception are being held at the same place there is room at the bottom of your invitation to put the pertinent information.

If they are being held in different locations, however, you will need a separate invitation to that separate event and that is your reception card.

If you are having a morning wedding and your reception is before one o’clock, the first line should read, “Breakfast” otherwise it should read, “Reception.” If the reception is to follow the ceremony, the next line should read, “Immediately following the ceremony.”

If the reception is not to occur two or more hours after the ceremony, then the actual time should be indicated. If you are concerned about your guests knowing that a meal is being served you can always preface the word, “Reception” with “Luncheon” or “Dinner.”

The third line is the name of the location and the fourth line is the actual address. The fourth line can be omitted if it is a facility that is very well know and the address is not necessary or if direction cards are being included that would already have the address.

If the reception is being held in the same city, the city and state can be omitted. If it is a different city, that should be included. If it is in a different state, of course that needs to be included as well. It never is wrong to include the city and state anyway if you like, but the zip code is never included.

If your reception is to take place at your parent’s house and their names are on the invitation, just enter their home address. Your guests will be able to figure it out. If you are having your reception hosted at a friend’s house, their name and address would be listed on the reception card.

If your ceremony is scheduled after six p.m. it is considered formal. Some guests will be aware of that, but not all, so if you want your reception to be “Black tie” you can indicate it on your reception card in the lower right hand corner. It will appear in smaller type.

(Reception card via weddingpaperdivas.com)

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Wedding Invitation Etiquette: And Keeping Children Away

Concerned about Wedding Etiquette, a reader asks how a couple can indicate that children are not to attend their wedding, without being obstinate about it.

“There are a lot of children in our extended families and as much as we love them, we really want our wedding to be a formal event and having children there, we feel would spoil the mood,” they write. “How can we indicate that children are not invited?”

Here’s the answer.

If the children’s names are not included on the envelope of the wedding invitations, the recipients should know that the children are not invited. It seems a bit cruel to include “No children please” as corner copy. The best thing you can do is to simply talk to those family members and just tell them that you would love to include the children but because of expenses (or whatever reason) has prevented you from doing to.

What some couples have done is title their reception card, “Adult Reception.” It is not totally proper but should get the job done.

If the children are not invited to the reception, logistically it would be difficult to get them somewhere else after the ceremony and get back to the reception, so in most cases your guests with children would make other arrangements for childcare.

If you don’t mind having the children at the ceremony but want an adult reception, you could arrange for the use of a room and hire a babysitter to care for the children during the reception. You of course would have to provide meals for them as well, so you would incur more expense trying to please everybody. You really are better off just talking with the families involved.

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Postage increase affects the cost of sending you Wedding Invitations

It has been in effect for a week now so you probably have moved into the mindset that it is going to cost you more to send out your wedding invitations than it would have a week ago. Hopefully you didn’t already buy your stamps way ahead of time not knowing or forgetting about the postal increase. The rate is now $0.41 for the first ounce and $0.17 for the second.

This brings a good opportunity to bring up something you may need to consider and that is, “Will you need to pay for the extra ounce?” If you are only sending an invitation, probably not. Most invitations are under an ounce. If you are added pieces like a reception and/or response card with envelope, you probably have crossed over the line into the two-ounce category.

Also, if your wedding invitations are square - large or small, they will require extra postage - for different reasons. The large squares are considered over sized and the small ones don’t fit through the postal meter so have to be hand canceled, resulting in a higher fee. It is less than the $0.17 for the second ounce, but more than the standard $0.41 nonetheless. To play is safe, I would recommend taking your wedding invitations to you local post office, have them weighed and ask an agent what denomination of stamps you should buy to mail them out.

Also, don’t forget that if you are sending response cards, you are expected to put a stamp on the small envelope that is used to send back your guest’s response. You will want to purchase those stamps when you purchase the ones for your wedding invitations.

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Wedding Etiquette Tips for RSVPs

Today’s column has to do with both Wedding Etiquette and Wedding Invitations. Sometimes the two overlap.

Specifically, I am talking about what to do with how to handle RSVPs- what types of information and choices you should indicate on them.

First of all, what’s an RSVP?

I think most readers know, but for those who may not, the free online encyclopedia Wikipedia defines an RSVP as:

Répondez s’il-vous-plaît” or “Réservez s’il-vous-plaît”, a French phrase that translates to “Please respond” or “Please book your place”

At the upper right corner of this post, you’ll notice an actual RSVP for a wedding that took place in 1989. I know that’s awhile ago, but when it comes to etiquette- wedding or not- things change slowly. Plus, I am happy to report the couple that sent these RSVPs are still married.

In terms of what’s on the RSVP, there are six text-type elements:

  • The name of the couple who are getting married;
  • A check-box for indicating whether the guest(s) will attend and require accomodations;
  • A check-box for indicating whether the guest(s) will attend the pre-wedding dinner;
  • A check-box for indicating whether the guest(s) will attend and do not require accomodations;
  • A check-box for indicating whether the invited guest(s) will not be able to attend, and
  • A deadline date for responding to the RSVP.

Tomorrow, I will cover one of these key topics: what to do about wedding guest accomodations.

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Thank You Notes vs. Informals

What is the difference between thank you notes and informals?
Thank you notes can be pre-printed with a generic “Thank You” message although it is always preferable to hand write a personal message. A pre-printed “Thank You” note can save you a lot of time and at least gives you a quick way to get something in the mail to let your guests know that you received their gift and to show a token appreciation for it. If you do go the pre-printed route, you really should follow up with a hand written “Informal note later on.

A “Thank You” should be sent at least within tow months of your wedding. The main difference between the “thank you” notes and “informals” is that the “Thank You” notes just say, “Thank You” on them and the “Informals” have your name or monogram imprinted on the front. It is personalized stationery which can display either just the bride’s married name or both the bride and grooms names, such as, Mr. and Mrs. …

You can be more informal if you prefer and have just the first names and then the last, such as “John and Mary Jones.” Technically the bride and groom should have their own personalized stationery, but most couples put their names together on the informals.

The important thing is that your guests have taken the time and expense of purchasing you a nice wedding gift and they deserve a hand written note thanking them for their thoughtfulness. Informals and thank yous can always be used for anytime you need to acknowledge receipt of a gift or service from anyone.

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Wedding Invitations Trending Toward Variety in Colors, Themes

new wedding invitation colors and designs

Remember when wedding invitations only offered the basics (bride, groom, date, time and place)- and the design considerations were secondary at best?

Well those days are over.

That’s according to Frani Fisher, a customer care supervisor for a wedding invitation service in suburban Philadelphia.

“I think what the brides are really looking for these days is to personalize (invitations),” she says.

Wedding initations specialist and graphic designer Kira Hands tells why.

A theme for the wedding follows through, even with the favors,” she says. “(Couples) usually try to set the tone with an invitation.”

Among the trends she and others have noted are seasonal elements, beach and water themes, cultural motifs that may be appropriate to either or both families’ ethnic heritage, as well as themes from fairy tales where enduring love is a “happily ever after” benefit.

A far wider variety of color palettes are more often seen then before. Hands and Fisher both said chocolate brown, coral, shades of yellow, aqua, turquoise, orange and kiwi are among the most popular colors. (Burlington County Times)

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