It is invitation time! This time of year, stationers are busy working on invitation suites for Cape Cod weddings. Designing invites is fun and can really set the look, feel and mood for your wedding. Whether print or digital, one of the key components of your invitation is your RSVP card and today we pull out this important part of your suite to make sure you cover all of your bases with this small, yet very important detail.
Who is Coming?
One of the biggest reasons you send an RSVP card is to see who is coming. Some of your guests may have horrible handwriting so we recommend that you discretely number the back of the rsvp card and match it with your guest name so you can easily figure out who sent it if you can't read it! Make sure this part is clear for your guests and that the date to RSVP is clear as well. Typically you will have your RSVP by date 1 month before the wedding.
If you are having a plated meal with a choice, be sure to include a place for your guests to select their meal - beef, chicken, fish, vegetarian. You do not need to include the sides. If you are not having a choice, or even if you are, your caterer or venue will most likely want to know any allergies or dietary restrictions of your guests, so add a location for guests to note that.
Now you will soon find out that not everyone is great at RSVPing, even with a self addressed stamped envelope, but you need to make it as easy as possible and be sure to include this important piece for your guests to get it back in the mail ASAP!
Looking to save on the return envelope, include a small card to have your guests RSVP online. Your wedding website may allow for it or there are sites like eventbrite.com that allow for you to set-up a place for your guests to RSVP. Check out their free event planning tools that may come in handy!
Your RSVP card can be used for other activities that weekend as well. Having a welcome reception? Have your guests also note that they are coming on one RSVP card to save on paper and stamps!
Get your guests excited for the wedding and have some fun with them on the RSVP card! Ask them for a song that would get them on the dance floor, ask them for a date night idea or what their favorite candy is for a candy station.
Like we mentioned earlier, not everyone RSVPs right away. You will most likely have to follow up with some guests after the RSVP by date to confirm if they are coming or not, so be prepared and be patient!
When it comes to your wedding, there can be a lot of different types of paper products you may need to get your guests the details they need and make sure everything goes smoothly. From the save the dates and invitations to the escort cards and thank you notes, the options are endless. If you are a paper and design person like myself, it can be even harder to make your selections and pick your favorites. Below we have come up with a list of the paper products you may, or may not, need for your wedding, but it is good to review the list and see if you want to add anything!
Save the Dates
For a destination wedding, save the dates are usually sent out anywhere from a year to 6 months before the wedding date. I believe that it is better to get them out on the earlier side so that your guests have time to find hotels and decide on their plans. Save the dates can be anything from a postcard to magnets. The basic information your guests need would be the date, location and a link to your wedding website.
Invitations - RSVP cards, Maps, Information
The most important part of your wedding paper is most likely going to be your invitation suites. There are so many options when it comes to your invites! I highly recommend meeting with a stationer to go over options so that you can get a good idea on pricing and what fits your budget. Don’t forget to include an RSVP card and envelope, a map of the area if needed and an information card that may include things like other festivities taking place, lodging suggestions or your wedding website.
Welcome letters are what you would provide to your guests upon arrival to their hotel. Sometimes this letter comes along with a welcome bag of some sort, but if you want to skip the bag, you should atleast provide a letter. This can include things like a “thank you for coming” note, things to do in the area, reminder of event times (welcome party, ceremony, brunch), parking information, etc. If you are not sure where all of your guests are staying, you could also send this in an email the week leading up to your wedding.
If you are having a church ceremony, you are most likely going to want to have a ceremony program. If you are having an outdoor ceremony, a program of the service is not required (especially if is rather basic), but it can be nice for your guests to have something to look at while they wait. You will want to include things like the bridal party and family names, order of service and maybe a thank you to your friends and family.
Escort Cards & Place Cards
What is the difference you ask? Escort cards are what the guests pick up and “escort” them to their seat. Place cards are what assign your “place” at the table. Most brides will do escort cards and not place cards, as it can be tedious to assign each seat at the table for your guests. There are many options for escort cards ranging from tented, seating charts, starfish, etc.
If you are having a plated meal with or without a choice, it is always a good idea to include a menu card on the table. You can either do one per table or you can do one per place setting. If you are doing stations or buffet, a menu is not needed, but you may need catering cards to identify what each food is. Check with your caterer first to see if they provide them or not.
There are always places throughout your wedding where you will want to include some signage. Some examples of this would be for your signature drinks, directing guests to the ceremony, cocktail hour and reception, guest book details, bride and groom signs, and more.
Thank You Notes
Don’t forget your thank you notes! You can talk to your stationer about having them match your invitation suite, or you can also talk with your photographer about doing a “Thank You” photo to use on your cards.
Learn from the expert!
Jen from Dulce Press in Mashpee says, “When choosing wedding invitations, be sure to go with something that sets the tone for the wedding. Whether it's casual, formal, backyard BBQ, your wedding invitation style will show your guests what you're planning. It doesn't mean that if it's a casual wedding, the invitations have to be flimsy! Just go with a fun, fresh design over a traditional format.”
Plan. Relax. Enjoy.
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