We get it, there is a lot of pressure when it comes to choosing your wedding invitations, it’s the first element of your big day your guests will see. It sets the tone for everything that follows. Get it wrong and you are heading for wedding disaster after wedding disaster. Joking! Relax! We get that the invitations are a massive part of your day, but with our guide on how to choose your wedding invitations, you’re heading for wedding invite elation.
First off, let’s explain a little about what we mean when we use the term “wedding invitation”. A wedding invite is a simple request sent out to your wedding guests. It notifies them of your intention to marry while providing details on your planned event. It also gives the opportunity for them to respond to your request.
While this article directly answers the wedding invite conundrum, the same advice can be followed when choosing all your wedding stationery.
After planning hundreds of weddings over the last few years, we are well versed in couples most commonly asked invite questions. “How long do they take to get printed?”, “We can’t choose our theme, can you help?”, “How much do we need to spend on our invites” etc. As a result, we have accumulated all that knowledge and experience into a sort of ‘step-by-step’ guide to help take you from a wedding invite novice to a fully fledged professional… Not quite.
5 steps to help you make you invitation choices:
- Step 1 – Look for inspiration
- Step 2 – Plan ahead
- Step 3 – Budget accordingly
- Step 4 – Make your decisions
- Step 5 – Send out with time to spare
Read on below for more information on how to choose your wedding invitations.
What should I do before I choose my wedding invitations?
You’re an eager beaver, but wait, before you shoot 500 emails out to your favorite invitation designers, or head over to Minted.com and order 250 gold pressed, premium quality, top of the range invites, it’s important to do a little bit of pre-work.
Just this little bit of preparation will help ensure you glide through the wedding invitation process limiting the opportunity for hiccups or mishaps.
Below are a few steps you should take to ensure you end up in a wedding invite dreamland.
Chances are that you already have 120 Pinterest saves or have bookmarked every invite that caught your eye on instagram. Well good! Looking at different inspiration sources will give you a good idea of what’s possible and what you like. It might also give you a rough indication on prices as both Instagram and Pinterest regularly include a price range below.
Seeing what’s trending and what other couples with similar weddings are choosing, will help inspire you for your selection. Being thorough will also reduce the chance of you ordering your invites, just to discover a design you much prefer shortly after. It happens!
The best places to find invitation inspiration are wedding blogs (such as ourselves), Instagram, Pinterest as well as other creative design portfolio websites.
Think About Your Budget
Sadly wedding budgets tend to have a big say on every aspect of your special day. Furthermore, there is such a variance in costs when it comes to wedding invites, it’s important to ensure you don’t go overboard and risk having to reduce budgets in other areas.
Premium invites for hundreds of guests is going to cost a lot more than a more basic range for a handful of guests. You will more than likely have to adjust your budget based on the number of people you are inviting to your big day.
According to The Knots 2022 Real Wedding Study, the average cost of wedding invitations was $510 . However, it is important to remember that invitations are just one part of your wedding stationery. You will likely spend upwards of $600 on your stationery.
Either do a little bit of online research, or reach out to your wedding planner to ask how much you should budget overall.
Timings & Dates
This ties into what we mentioned previously when discussing budgets. If you leave it too late, expect to be paying a premium fee for delivery and printing in order to meet your date. Plan in advance and order with plenty of time to ensure you don’t have to rush delivery and decisions.
You need to consider various aspects when scheduling all your stationery dates. Print time, location of your guests, whether you are sending save-the-dates etc. All needs to be contemplated in relation to your wedding date. Below we’ve put together a few important dates to put in your diary.
- Wedding Invitations – Six to eight weeks before your wedding date
- Save The Dates – Eight months before your wedding date
- Thank You Cards – Two to three months after your wedding day
- Accommodation Advice – Either sent with invitations or as a note with the save the dates
Hire a Wedding Invitation Designer
There are three options when choosing your wedding invites. Options 1 and 2 are to design and produce the invites yourself, or order a standard template pack. There is also option 3, hire a wedding invitation specialist for a custom design.
A specialist wedding invitation designer can help with all aspects of your invitation process. This includes:
- Help create a custom design to match your wedding theme and style
- Advise on delivery processes to ensure various delivery dates are met
- Provide professional advice and experience due to knowledge of the industry
- Save you time. Not just in the design, but by having experience to quickly solve any problems
Finally, hiring a professional will be able to give their opinion on the factors you need to consider during the actual design and print process. As a result, the entire process should be completed much more smoothly than without.
Many online print specialists such as Minted.com offer free stationery and invite samples. While everything free is always good, these samples can help you make a decision on various options including invitation type, styles, paper quality and so on. You can also ask your friends and family for their opinion on the samples. It’s always good to get a second opinion however at the end of the day, it’s your special day.
What do I need to consider when choosing my wedding invites?
So, you’ve scoured the internet looking for inspiration. You’ve collected more invitation samples than you care to admit. You’ve put in the prep work required to make an informed and exciting decision. But what factors do you actually need to consider when choosing your invitations?
Below we have outlined the major choices that you will need to make before ordering your invitations. While there are other further options, these are the most common.
When it comes to printing, there are quite a few options you need to think about. Many printers offer foiling stamping, letterpress, or just simple digital printing. Most of the additions come at a premium cost as foil/letterpress will both take further time to complete, and require more resources.
It’s important to ask your designer/printer about any additional costs to ensure you aren’t left with budget concerns at the end of the process. Most printers will provide samples before you confirm. This should also include a cost breakdown.
A little Story Amour style tip… While letterpress and foil embossing may cost a little extra, it really does go a long way to adding that premium, high quality, stylish feel to your invites.
Wedding Theme & Colors
You often begin designing and sending your wedding stationery long before you’ve finalized your actual wedding theme. However, it’s important to look ahead to how you imagine your overall wedding decor will look. You can then ask for your wedding invites to match that style. Being consistent in your themes can be tricky, but trust us, it will be worth it in the end. Seeing fonts and color schemes aligning perfectly in your wedding photos can be a real joy for the more creative couples.
Generally speaking, the sky’s the limit when it comes to colors. Most printers will offer a wide variety of choices meaning you can pick and choose the ones you want to incorporate into your design. A good invitation designer will then use that color palette across all your wedding stationery.
You will also need to choose the fonts you want to include in your wedding invitations. Fonts are arguably the most dominant element of the invite, and, as a result, will transform the overall style and feel of your wedding theme.
While script fonts have dominated the wedding industry for the last 20 years, designers have more recently started switching to a much more modern look and feel. It’s likely that your chosen supplier will provide a list of options, or, if you have provided some samples that you really like, they will be able to design something similar for your invites.
If you are designing your own invites, make sure to choose fonts that pair well together, and most importantly are clearly visible and easy to read. The last thing you want is to spend your budget on invites that your guests struggle to read.
Below we have put together a list of the more popular font styles used in wedding invitations.
Classic script and calligraphy fonts
Historically, script and calligraphy fonts are commonly used in wedding design. They portray a feel of elegance and class. If you are looking for a more formal or traditional style, the calligraphy fonts are the perfect choice for your big day.
Modern, clean, sans-serif fonts
In the last 4-5 years, modern, clean and bold fonts have become a staple of both the wedding industry and wider world. While they are obviously very easy to read, they also give an element of cool, minimalist design. Ideal for the more creative of couples.
Fully custom design
You may wish to go all out and not strictly choose one specific font style, maybe edging towards a more custom design that can’t be too easily categorized. This is a great way to showcase your own personal style and put your preferences into the design.
If you decide to hire a designer, we would recommend sending them a few font styles that you like in order for them to get a general picture of your likes and dislikes. With the flexibility of custom designs, it’s important to ensure you are all in the same ballpark.
It’s not just how your invites look that’s important. It’s what they say. Furthermore, it’s not just what they say, it’s how they say it. Sounds confusing? Don’t worry, it’s not.
Below we have put a few rules you need to follow to ensure your wording game is on point.
Details & Information
It’s important to include all the important information on your invites. This way you won’t leave guests guessing. They will have no excuse for turning up to the ceremony 2 days early. Trust us, it’s happened before!
Information you will need to include in your invites:
- Full Names of the couple to be married
- Old school, but the host of the event. Usually parents of the couple
- Wedding Date & Time
- Venue locations and addresses
- RSVP Information
- Additional information such as dress codes, special requests, directions etc
Tone & Feel
The tone and feel of your invite wording is very much a personal preference, however it’s important to make sure that you are still clear and concise in the information you are trying to get across.
You can choose the style of your wording based on the style of your wedding. If you are planning to hold a rustic barn wedding with DIY vibes, don’t be afraid to be much more relaxed in your style and approach. Getting married at Buckingham Palace (you wish), then maybe you need to be a little more traditional and formal. Use long words that people will have to Google to understand. Again, just kidding. Clear and concise remember.
Check, check, check and check again
Story Amour quick tip… Ask at least 2 people outside your immediate family to check over your invite wording. Ask for their feedback on style as well as whether they think you need to include any further information. In addition, ask them to check spelling and grammar. The last thing you want to happen is noticing a grammatical error when your looking through your freshly printed invites. Sorry, “you’re”.
Paper & Materials
Paper, paper, paper. GSM’s, bleeds and chemical resistance. Yes no idea either. But don’t worry, provide samples to your stationery designer and they can take care of the rest.
As with every part of your wedding, it’s a good rule to try and incorporate the same styles and feels across your decor. If you are still planning your rustic barn wedding from before, then maybe an eco-friendly paper style is important to you? While the design will have a bigger impact on the overall theme feel, the weight and choice of your paper can still leave a big impression. The heavier the paper, the more sophisticated and premium your invite will feel. Wedding invites are commonly printed onto cards with a weight of between 200 and 350 GSM.
Popular paper and materials include:
- Vellum paper – commonly seen as a translucent paper used in wedding invites
- Wood veneer – the eco friendly option
- Cotton paper – commonly used due to the soft, textured nature
- Rustic paper – often made from recycled material. Provides a more rough, DIY feel
- Laminated paper – usually a traditional cardstock coated in a soft plastic to give a shiny feel to the invite
Do I need envelopes or other add-ons?
One aspect that is often overlooked in the wedding invitation choosing process, is envelopes and other addons. As a bare minimum you will require envelopes and postage for any wedding invitations you plan to send out.
For the purpose of this discussion, we’ve broken down any addons you may need to consider into two sections. Must have addons and luxury addons.
Must have addons are essentially any addons you will 100% require for your wedding invites. Each invite will need a minimum of two envelopes, one to send out the invite, the other to RSVP. Many couples now opt for digital RSVP’s however the more formal physical RSVP is still more popular. Most couples also opt to send the invite via post, as a result you will also need to consider postage fees on top of any outlay on the actual invites.
Many wedding invitation designers will offer a fully bespoke quote to create the invitations, and send out to the desired parties.
Remember to consider any postage fees within your budget, as this will likely impact how you choose your wedding invitations. Especially if you have a strict budget you are trying to follow.
Luxury addons are any addons that you don’t necessarily require, but go a long way to implementing your own style and theme into your invites. While they are called luxury, that’s more of a reference to them not being required rather than having to be particularly affluent in nature.
Some of the most common luxury add ons include:
- Envelope liners
- Personalized or retro stamps
- Wax seals and ribbons
- Additional cards – accommodation, food choices, directions etc
With any luxury addons, remember that the costs can increase quite quickly, especially when dealing with large numbers of wedding guests all requiring an invitation.
What other stationery do I need?
Hopefully we haven’t got you too worried about the mounting expenses associated with wedding invites. Furthermore, we hope you are getting closer to learning how to choose your wedding invitations. At least you should be better informed about invites as a whole. But what about other wedding stationery?
While the items listed below are not wedding invitations, they are an important consideration when choosing your wedding invites. You’ve probably heard the term ‘wedding invitation suite’ which essentially stands for all the paper goods you send out alongside your wedding invites. All are equally important, and a crucial aspect of your decor and design process, will be ensuring that all items in your suite follow the same theme and style. Popular wedding stationery items include:
Save-the-dates are technically the first element of the wedding invitation suite, however many couples opt to send these out before any decisions on styles or themes have been made. They are simply a notification to your guests, letting them know when you plan to tie-the-knot.
They are usually sent 6-8 months before the big day, quite soon after confirming your dates with your venues.
If you are planning to invite guests that have to travel a long way in order to attend your wedding, be considerate and try to notify them as soon as possible. This gives them the opportunity to arrange accommodation and make any necessary arrangements.
These come in many shapes and sizes. If you have a church wedding, they will likely quote for a ceremony program. This will include order of the service, hymns, readings and notes on you as a couple.
Many couples will also opt for a larger wedding schedule element as part of their wedding decor. Usually includes the major parts of the day, usually with the time listed as well.
Finally, in reference to the wedding suite, most couples will send out a rundown wedding program of the day, in paper format before the day itself. It will notify the start time of the day, as well as outlining what they can expect throughout the wedding celebration.
Thank You Cards
Sometimes couples will choose a consistent theme for their invites and paper. As a result, forward planning is required. You will need to order thank you cards when you order your wedding suite to ensure that the styles and themes match.
One alternative to ordering thank you cards as part of your wedding suite, is to wait until after the big day. It’s a great idea to wait for your wedding photos to come back, then you can share one as part of the thank card design. Just remember not to push your photographer too hard to get the photos back.
Menu Choice Cards
For the more formal of weddings, you may wish to send out a menu choice card. In 2023 it’s also becoming more common, due to the ever increasing awareness around food allergies and preferences.
Most menu cards will give couples a choice of two main dishes and one vegan/vegetarian option. It will also allow the guest to provide any intolerances they might have.
Menu cards are often sent out at two stages, with the wedding invitation, or separately closer to the wedding day. Remember if you plan to send out the menu card separately, you will need to budget for additional postage and envelope fees.
Quick FAQs about wedding invitations
Finally, we thought it best to give you some quick FAQs about wedding invitations. A little bit more information to help you decide how to choose your own invites. While they aren’t directly related to the design process, they are further considerations to help you make the best decision for you and your big day.
What sizes are wedding invitations?
Any size you want, but most commonly 5×7 inches (A7 Size). While you can technically decide on any size for your invitations, the 5×7 inch size is popular for several reasons. It allows enough room to fit all the desired content on, without impacting on design. It also fits in the standard envelope size meaning you can reduce costs forgoing the need for a custom package.
How many wedding invitations should I order?
To be on the safe side, order around 12-15% more than your total number of guests. If you have 100 guests, 12 to 15 additional prints. This gives you wiggle room when filling out any handwritten information such as addresses or names. It also allows for a redundancy should a guest not be able to attend. You can then send out one of the leftover invites to another party without having to pay additional printing fees.
Do I have to use print or can I go digital?
You can absolutely go digital. It’s a great way to save on costs and is becoming more popular in recent times.
While it is possible to send digital invites, the team at Story Amour would always recommend a physical version is sent out. Many guests will save them as keepsakes and a beautiful little reminder of your wedding day. Some guests (cough, older guests, cough) may not be as well versed in technology and would prefer a physical invite.
What if I tell my invitation designer the wrong information?
The first stage is to thoroughly check your invite wording before sending it to your designer. Get second and third proofreads to help ensure nothing is missed.
If in the unlikely event you discover a mistake, send it immediately to your designer. Don’t wait as the quicker you send, the less likely additional expenses are to occur.
Many printers will have different stages to their design process that will require different costs. If the invites have already been printed, be prepared to be charged for a new set of invites. Most of the fees should be outlined in the contract you sign with your vendor.
There you have it, our ultimate guide on how to choose wedding invitations. Hopefully the article goes some way to helping you make a more informed decision allowing you to achieve your dream wedding day.
By following our step by step guide, you should be well versed in the wedding invitation process. It will reduce the chances of any mistakes along the way, and, as result, help you stay within your budget.
Finding inspiration before ordering your invites, will allow you to work with your designer to create a wedding invite suite that matches the style and theme of your wedding day. Whether elegant and exquisite or modern and trendy, you will be able to choose the wedding invitation that is best for you.
Most importantly, remember to plan ahead, and order everything with ample time to solve any problems that may occur. Whether that’s postal strikes, grammar errors or any last minute additions you forgot to include.
Good luck on choosing your wedding invites!