The Elements of Your Wedding Invitation Collection
Amy Kortuem

When you daydream about getting married — just admit it, we all do it — you daydream about picking the wedding party, the wedding colors, the dress and the perfect invitation. Little did you know that the invitation includes more than you ever dreamed of: save-the-dates, reception cards, response cards, thank you notes, informal notes, etc.

Seems a little overwhelming at first, but we’re here to explain what all the pieces of an invitation collection are for. Then you can decide the pieces you would like to include in your invitation. 

Save-the-Date Announcements
Honestly, what did couples do before save-the-dates? These little guys are a lifesaver! Save-the-dates announce your wedding to guests up to a year or more in advance so they have ample time to plan for your big day, which helps ensure a great turnout. Save-the-date cards are available in a variety of designs. Send save-the-date cards to everyone on your guest list, but remember that everyone who receives a save-the-date card must also receive a wedding invitation. The cards should be mailed as soon as your wedding date is official (i.e., once you have finalized your ceremony and reception location bookings).

Wedding Invitations
Now friends and family are waiting in anticipation to see the wedding invitation you choose. Your invitation holds important information, like the date, time and place of your ceremony. Equally important, the invitation sets the tone for your entire celebration! So whether your theme is classic and traditional, bright and colorful or simply YOU, you can find an invitation to match the occasion! Invitations should be sent out at least six weeks before the ceremony. Quick tip: The quantity you order should reflect the number of mailings, not the number of guests.

Even though you can’t possibly invite everyone to your wedding, you can let everyone share in the exciting news by sending out wedding announcements. Use the invitation you chose and print them with announcement wording, or select something entirely different. Ask someone to be in charge of mailing your announcements immediately after your ceremony, and let those special people you weren’t able to invite to the wedding know about the good news right away.

Envelopes — just for addressing and mailing your invitations, right? WRONG! That’s ok. Envelopes are often underestimated. Even envelopes can be an expression of your style and can coordinate with your theme and color scheme. Plain inner and outer envelopes are often available with invitation orders, but you can accent your invitations with a little something extra.
Lined Inner Envelopes — For an extra touch of flair, choose a lined inner envelope in a shade that matches your ink color and invitation design. Lined inner envelopes replace the plain inner envelopes included with invitations.
Printed Outer Envelopes — Since you are probably busy beyond belief, have your outer envelopes pre-printed with your return address in the same lettering style and ink color as your invitations! The small extra charge is worth the time you’ll save.

Quick tip: Be sure to order an extra 25 envelopes in case of addressing errors.

Enclosure cards usually refer to five different things: reception card, response card, map/direction card, accommodation card and at home card. These cards are called enclosures because they are included in the invitation mailing. If you choose an invitation that has matching enclosure cards available, you can have them printed with whatever information you want, but they are most commonly printed as one of the five cards mentioned above. Remember, reception and response cards are the most important. The other three may or may not be necessary. Let’s go through each of the five cards.

Reception Cards
Reception cards invite guests to the celebrations following the ceremony. They include where and when the reception will be and may be printed with additional notes such as whether gifts are being accepted or whether it’s an adult only reception. Envelopes are not necessary for reception cards. 

Response Cards
Response cards are necessary to gather an accurate guest count for the wedding. Guests return the cards to you by the date indicated on the card, usually two weeks before the wedding, informing you if they will attend. If you are offering a choice of entrée, include the choices on the card. Response cards include envelopes printed with your return address. Be sure to put a stamp on each response envelope as a courtesy. Quick tip: The return address on response card envelopes should be the address of the person compiling the guest count.

Map/Directions Cards
Map cards allow you to give guests accurate directions to the ceremony and reception locations. Map cards usually include written directions along with the map. You can print directions to the ceremony on the front and directions to the reception on the back if needed.

Accommodation Cards
Accommodation cards are printed with hotel information for out-of-town guests. Some couples will reserve rooms in one or two hotels for their guests and list that information on the card, or you can list area hotels you recommend for your guests. Quick tip: Hotels will often give special group rates if you reserve a large number of hotel rooms early on.

At Home Cards
Inform friends and relatives where you will be living after the wedding and the date you are moving. Envelopes are not necessary.

Note Cards
Note cards are designed to coordinate with your invitations and are great for informal communication with anyone involved in the wedding. Your names or monogram are often printed on the front of the folding card, allowing space inside for notes. Consider these personalization options and uses:

Printed with the bride’s name or monogram, they are perfect before the wedding for…
• informing the wedding party about events and responsibilities
• confirming details with the florist, caterer, photographer, etc.
• writing notes of thanks for shower gifts.

Printed with both of your names or your monogram as a couple, they are useful after the wedding when…
• writing your appreciation for wedding gifts
• sending notes to colleagues, friends and loved ones anytime!

Thank You Notes
Thank you notes are a MUST! They may be a lot of work, but thank yous are the least you can do for your guests’.