Define Your Wedding Style
The invitation is your guests' first peek at your wedding style. Along with listing the location and time of day, the invitation and, more specifically, its style hints to the formality of your wedding. You should have an idea of the type of event you're throwing classic and elegant, or glam and modern before you start shopping for stationery, so you can choose an invitation style that hits the same note.
Count Your Households
You don't need an invitation for every guest. Take a look at your guest list and figure out how many houses need invitations before you give your stationer a number you might be able to cut your order in half. Cohabiting couples get one invitation; for couples living apart, you can either send one invite to the guest you're closer with (and include both names on the inner and outer envelopes), or you can send out separate invitations. Families get one invitation (addressed to "The Smith Family," for example). The exceptions: Children who don't live at home (like college students) or anyone over 18 who lives at home should get their own invitation.
Don't Forget the Rest of Your Suite
Order your menu cards, programs and thank you notes with your invitations. That way, your stationer can include all of the pieces in one order, which may save you money and time. It's also a good way to ensure all your stationery has a cohesive look, even if you want to vary the design slightly for each element (by switching the dominant color or alternating between two patterns, for example).
Your save-the-dates should go out six to eight months before the wedding. It can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks or longer, depending on how fancy you go to print them. While your save-the-dates don't have to match your invites, ordering everything from one stationer can save you money and make the invitation process easier on you. So start scouting stationers 9 to 11 months before the wedding. Aim to order your invitations about four to five months out so they're ready to mail six to eight weeks before the wedding. If you're having a destination wedding or marrying over the holidays, send out your invites even earlier (10 to 12 weeks before the wedding).
The price per invite can vary widely anywhere from $4 to more than $100. It all depends on the design, ink, typeface, printing process, paper and quantity. Top-of-the-line papers, color ink, formal printing techniques (like letterpress and engraving) and custom design will add to your costs, as will decorative extras like envelope liners and multiple enclosures. That's why it's important to research your options ahead of time so you can pick your priorities, whether it's sophisticated printing and a custom design or multiple enclosures.
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