Wedding Invitation Guide

Save The Dates, Wedding Day Invitations, Evening Reception Invitations, RSVP cards, inserts etc. etc…!

I agree, it’s enough to make anyone’s head explode. But rest assured that this guide will hopefully help you get to where you need to be with choosing your wedding invitations.

Initial thoughts:

– Your wedding invitations are, for most of your guests, the first thing they see that is related to your wedding. It is literally their first impression of your day.

– This means you might want to think about how you want your wedding to be perceived: this depends on whether you worry what other people are thinking as they open your invitation. Most of us, of course will care to a certain extent, but remember, the invitation is only one small element of your day and not the actual day itself. I would argue that your energies and funds should go into other details of the day over the invitations, but of course it is something to consider.

– You might also want the invitation to represent your wedding to a degree. If your wedding is going to be a very formal affair, then the invitation should also be quite a formal one, with formal wording, fonts and the relevant inserts and RSVP cards. If your wedding is not quite that formal, then you get a lot more flexibility with the invitations.

– What type of wedding is your wedding? Is it taking place in the Spring, or is it an Autumn wedding? Is it taking place in a big country estate, or is it a simpler outdoor affair? Do you have a particular theme or colour scheme? These can all influence your invitation choice and will in fact most likely make a difference to your choice, even if you don’t think about it too much.

– A good way to look at it is: as soon as you have a good idea of your venue, your wedding style/theme, any colour schemes and your personal preference, then you can start looking for wedding invitations. Obviously you can’t actually order them until you have actually secured and confirmed your wedding venue(s) and the date!


How Wedding Invitations work:

There are four main aspects to wedding invitations and although they may seem daunting at first, once you have grasped these four aspects, you will be in a much better position to make your choice.

1. Paper Type:

Cotton Fibre Paper is the most popular choice for wedding invitations mainly for its thick and soft texture and its rich look. It can come in a variety of shades of white/ivory. It can also come in a variety of different thicknesses:

Cotton Fiber Paper in 3 shades and varying thicknesses

Cotton Fibre Paper in 3 shades and varying thicknesses


Wood Fibre Paper is essentially paper you use/see everyday. This allows for more flexible use as it comes in a variety of different colours and weights.

Finally, you can get specialist paper, which, depending on what you’re after, can really affect your budget as these usually require some individual handy work. In the example below, the whole invitation is made from burlap, which although looks beautiful and very original, can get quite costly.

Burlap wedding invitation

Burlap wedding invitation

2. Format:

There are two main formats when it comes to wedding invitations:

Single panelled flat card, where it’s a single sheet with the printing on the front.

A folded over card, which resembles a greeting card, and then the printing can be either on the front or on the inside of the card.

Nowadays there are, of course, a huge combination of the two main formats, which are too many to list. You can have almost anything you like!

A mixture of a flat card and fold overs with spaces for inserts

A mixture of a flat card and fold overs with spaces for inserts

A folded over invitation that uses all its sides cleverly

A folded over invitation that uses all its sides cleverly

3. Printing:

Here, we only cover three main methods of printing on wedding invitations, though there are several more.

Engraving -> This is the most formal (and pricey option)! The letters are raised at the front and indented at the back. This is extremely elegant and goes through quite a process, before ink is applied to the letters, so is the most expensive option.

Thermography -> Another formal look, thermography, looks very similar to engraving but isn’t as expensive because rather than indenting the invitation at the back, this method just raises the front (special ink creates the raised letters).

Offset printing-> Offset printing is higher quality printing not completely unlike printing with a laser printer. This is a very versatile method of printing, which gives you flat letters, but can be extremely helpful in less formal/more colourful designs. This method of printing is also very friendly on the pocket, making it great for the budget brides and grooms out there!

 4. The Inserts:

Wedding invitation inserts are essentially extras that serve a purpose of some sort. Far from being an exhaustive list, the most common inserts are:

– RSVP cards, which allow the guests to indicate whether they will be attending the wedding or not.
– Information inserts, which provide your guests with information about the area where your wedding is taking place. This would normally include information about their hotel choices, travel information and directions/maps.
Reception invitations, which invite guests and provide details of the evening wedding reception.

This is a controversial area when it comes to the wedding invitation domain. Some people believe that wedding invitation etiquette dictates that a wedding invitation is incomplete without various inserts, particularly the RSVP card. Personally, I sit with the group of brides who believe that inserts are not really necessary, but then my wedding was rather casual. Instead of having RSVP cards that guests would need to post back to us, we directed people to a wedding website which we set up for free and which, among many things, has a brilliant RSVP management tool. It just depends on you and what is important to you. For some of my friends, sending a wedding invitation out without an RSVP insert is unthinkable.

As with everything wedding-related, in reality, what you send out and how you let people know that you would like them to come to your wedding is entirely up to you. Don’t let anyone bully you into thinking you need anything at all.

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