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Charlestown, OH Wedding Invitations, Wedding Announcements, Wedding Stationery

Charlestown, OH Wedding Guide

Wedding Stationery

Tradition and etiquette play a major role in planning a wedding.  Times have changed somewhat, and etiquette is often being replaced by personal preference. However, wedding stationery is the one element that continues to follow traditional etiquette in terms of what is said and what is included.  There are a number of options in personalizing stationery and making decisions to either follow tradition, or pave your own path.

Start by reviewing websites, bridal magazines, stationery stores, etc., to determine what style you like best. Pay close attention to other wedding invitations that come in the mail and select the aspects you like the most. Then work with your printer or stationer to create the perfect custom invitation. Options of colors, paper designs, image inclusion are unlimited. Take the time to really do some homework before choosing your final style. The invitation is a blank canvas that is waiting for you to fill with the personality and style that is truly your own.

Wedding Invitations
Wedding Invitations & Announcements; Invitations General; Stationers; Printers; Thermographers; Greeting Cards-Stationery

Traditionally, invitation styles were classic black engraved ink on formal white paper.  Styles of invitations have changed dramatically over the years, and provide endless possibilities for the bride and groom to express themselves while letting guests know where and when to attend.

The style of the invitations should reflect and follow the style and theme of your wedding.  If planning a more formal wedding, the invitations should closely follow traditional standards and etiquette.  If the wedding is casual, themed or a destination wedding, the invitation can reflect the uniqueness of the theme.  If you get married on the beach, include seashells, palm trees, etc., to announce the style of the wedding.  The invitation is a visual representation to your guests of what they can expect when they attend.

Choosing a Look:  Today’s bride and groom have a variety of options to express their personality and style in their invitations.  A number of fonts, ink colors, paper styles, paper sizes and designs make your options unlimited.  To get inspired, visit paper stores and printing shops, and search the internet for a variety of samples.  Some prefer to look at live samples and feel the paper before they purchase.  Even some online sites now send you samples.

What Is Included:  In essence, the wedding invitation is the guidebook for guest and provides the specifics regarding the wedding.  It should include information on who is hosting the wedding, the names of the bride and groom, date of the wedding, day of the week, time, address for both the ceremony and reception and RSVP information.  If spacing gets tight and more information needs to be provided, create special insert cards.  Traditional card options include the following:

-Reception Cards:  If the reception is held at a different location than the ceremony or there is not enough room on the invitation to include details, a reception card provides information for attending the reception.  A smaller card, following the design of the invitation, is inserted into the invitation envelope.  In some cases, the reception information is a larger insert and stands as a separate invitation.

-RSVP Cards:  These are often included making it easy for guests to let you know if they plan on attending.  Menu options can be included to confirm catering and budgetary needs.  Include the date you want the cards returned and request them back at least 3 weeks prior to the wedding.  Along with the card, include a self-addressed, stamped envelope to make it easy to respond.  Make sure to add this cost into the budget so there are no surprises in the end by additional costs. 

-Map Cards:  This card provides directions from the ceremony to the reception, if held in separate locations.

-Inner Envelope:  This envelope houses the invitation and all insert cards so they are fully contained when opened.  It is addressed, but should only include the names of the invited guests, no address.  Originally, this was included to keep the contents fresh and clean in case the outer envelope got damaged en route.  Some environmentally conscious brides are opting to forgo the inner envelope and only utilize the outer.

-Outer Envelope:  This larger envelope includes the inner envelop and its contents.  It should include the full formal name and address of the guests.  Also include your return address.

Keep the Same Look Throughout:  Regardless of the final number of inserts, each card should reflect the look and feel of the invitation.  This is also true for any printed items you send other than the invitation, or include with the ceremony or reception.  Some examples include:

Announcements:  Send announcements of your marriage to individuals not invited to the wedding or those who you knew could not attend.  This card announces the wedding has taken place and should be sent immediately after the wedding.

Wedding Programs:  These provide a creative way to highlight the ceremony and those who participated.  It can be more elaborate, like a booklet, including special verses, song lyrics or stories about how the couple met; or it can be a simple one sheet outline of what will be included in the ceremony.  The options are endless, but should still stay within the general stationery theme.  If planning a more casual or outdoor wedding, the program can be printed on a paper fan that guests can use to stay cool.

Menu Cards:  These cards provide a breakdown of the meal to be served.  It is laid on the place setting and can include personal information about why the particular meal was chosen.  It can reflect the first date meal, have cultural meaning or be the favorite of the bride and groom.

Place Cards:  These small tented cards are placed at the top of every place setting directing guests to where they should sit.

Save the Date Cards:  This is a popular addition to weddings now days and is traditionally used if the date falls near holidays, or seasonally busy times.  It is particularly helpful if you have a lot of guests that will be coming from out of town and will need to make travel arrangements.  These cards are casual in nature and stand on their own in terms of theme and style.  Send them out at least six months or longer before the wedding.

Time to Order: In order to ensure time for sending and addressing invitations, they need to be ordered at least three to four months before the wedding. Begin investigating the invitation design and details a minimum of two to three months prior, depending on how much time required to make a decision.

Order More Than You Need: Make sure to order more invitations that you actually need. Plan to order 20-25% above your total guest list, allowing for any last minute changes or damages that occur before they are sent. In particular, ensure that you have extra envelopes for errors that could occur when they are being address. If hiring a calligrapher, this will be a requirement. It is better to order more from the beginning, as reprinting can be expensive.

Using a Calligrapher: If you do not like your own handwriting or prefer the beauty of calligraphy, hire a calligrapher to address your invitations. While it is an added expense, the time and stress saved may be worth it and the invitations will look stylish and elegant. Be sure to allow for the additional time they will require.

Determine the Postage: Once you have added the inserts and double envelopes, the invitation weight may be higher than standard postage. Paper size and weight play a role in requiring a higher stamp value. Take a completed invitations to the post office to determine the shipping cost prior to placing postage on the invitations. The time you spend determining the right postage will be worth it. It can be very expensive if invitations are returned for insufficient postage.

Scour the Proof: A proof will be provided by the printer before the final printing process occurs. Double and triple check the information, names, dates, etc., to ensure everything is accurate. Any changes that occur after the proof is approved could be costly. Expect to see this proof via fax, email or in person if you live near the printer. It is a good idea to have two or three other sets of eyes to review the proof for added security.

Get Envelopes Early: Check with the printer to obtain the envelopes early, before the invitations are ready. This provides additional time to address them, especially if you are using a calligrapher. If a return address is printed on them, have them sent to you immediately after they are done. Any head start on addressing the envelopes could be a real time saver.

Sending Them Out: Plan on mailing the completed, addressed invitations to the post office 6-8 weeks before the wedding. If planning a destination wedding, send invitations a minimum of 10 weeks prior to the wedding.


While some wedding etiquette has relaxed in recent times, a few invitation etiquette principles are still considered the rule of thumb when developing invitation copy and addressing envelopes.

Honoring the Host
Invitation copy should begin by giving honor to those who are serving as hosts of the wedding.

Bride’s family hosts:  
Mr. and Mrs. Doug Black request the honor of your company at the marriage of their daughter Rachel Marie to Michael Joseph Law

Groom’s family hosts:
Mr. and Mrs. Kevin Law request the honor of your company at the marriage of Rachel Marie Black and their son Michael Joseph Law

Both families are hosts:
Mr. and Mrs. Doug Black and Mr. and Mrs. Kevin Law request the honor of your company at the marriage of their children Rachel Marie and Michael Joseph

Bride and Groom host:
The honor of your company is requested at the marriage of Rachel Marie Black and Michael Joseph Law

Honoring Deceased Parents
Mrs. Doug Black requests the honor of your company at the marriage of her daughter Rachel Marie also the daughter of the late Mr. Doug Black to Michael Joseph Law

Spell It All Out
Everything in the invitation should be spelled and not include any abbreviations including dates, times and addresses.  It should read six o-clock in the evening verses 6:00pm.  The date should read May twenty-sixth, two thousand ten verses May 26, 2010.

Handwrite on Envelopes
In today’s electronic era, printing a large list of labels for mailing has never been easier.  While the tools exist, refrain from using them for your wedding.  Tradition and etiquette still dictate that wedding invitations be handwritten.  If you use a computer the font should be one that appears to be handwritten so no one knows the difference.  It provides a personal touch which is still the desired norm.  If you don’t like your handwriting and can absorb the cost, look into using a calligrapher to address the envelopes.

Formality on Envelopes
The outer envelope is the most formal and should include addressing the guest as Mr.  & Mrs.  The inner envelope is less formal and can include the first name of the guests.  Any guest over the age of 18 should receive an invitation of their own, even when living in the same household as other invited guests.  Single guests should also include “and guest” if bringing a date is accepted.  If you don’t want children at the wedding, do not include them in the inner envelop.  If you want to include them, the inner envelope should include their names, or be addressed as “and family” after the parents’ names.

Thank-You Notes
Wedding Invitations & Announcements; Invitations General; Stationers; Greeting Cards-Stationery

When ordering thank-you notes, keep them in the same look and style as the invitations.  It is important to recognize and show appreciation for those who participated in the wedding, as well as those who sent gifts.

Make It Personal
Don’t leave appreciation to a phone call or an in-person thank-you.  Take the time to actually write a personal message to show your true appreciation.  A handwritten note is more personal.

Write Them Together
The responsibility of thank-you cards lies on both the bride and the groom.  Divide the list to make the process go quicker and have fun in the process.

Don’t Wait to Start
Start writing and sending thank-you notes after pre-wedding parties and when gifts arrive.  This provides a jump start to the process and lightens the responsibility after the wedding.  Order your thank-you cards when ordering the invitations. Obtain them early to stay ahead of the game.

Develop a System
While bridal registries can provide information on who bought a gift, do not leave your tracking to this one method.  Use a computer, a spreadsheet works great, especially if your guest list is already in a spreadsheet format.  Check mark or highlight each guest you've thanked and keep track of information in one place.

Include the gift received so you don’t forget who gave what.  When a gift comes from a group of people, make sure to send a thank-you note to each person in the group.

Include the Details
Thank your guests specifically for the gift they gave you.  This makes the note more personal and assures the giver you received the right gift.

Keep Them Clean
Avoid crossing out words or writing over any misspellings.  Over order the thank-you notes to compensate for a few errors.

Send Them out Immediately
Don’t wait to send your thank-you notes.  Ideally, they should be completed and sent one month after you return from your honeymoon.  Thank you notes should never be sent more than three months after the wedding.

Saving Money

Depending on the number of invitations and the number of inclusions to be printed, costs can begin to add up.  Consider the following to save money on the wedding stationery.

Keep It Simple
Tacking on options of ink colors, paper sizes, creative closures, pop up elements, etc., can be expensive.  The more simple the invitation, the cleaner it will look and it can save money in the long run.  Perhaps you would rather use that money toward additional flowers.

Limit the Number of Enclosures
Enclosures help distribute a lot of information, but the more you include, the higher the cost.  Not only are there additional printing costs, but each enclosure also increases postage.  Limit the number to only what you need.  Try to include information on the invitation instead or use an invitation style that allows for more copy.

Printing Styles

Engraving:  Traditionally wedding invitations were engraved.  This is a process where the paper is stamped, creating an indentation which is then filled with ink and dried.  It is an extensive process and printers charge more money to print in this manner.  Using an alternative method could bring down the cost.

Thermography:  This lower-cost alternative to engraving uses a glue solution to set the design and copy of the invitation.  Ink is then applied to the solutions along with a dusting of powder which is then heated to seal it together.  Once the process is completed, the ink becomes raised, making the invitation look stylish and elegant.

Printing:  This is a lower-cost alternative to engraving and offers a wide variety of options and styles.  Because of the variety of ink color options, a beautiful and elegant invitation can be created using design elements to establish the look, rather than the printing itself.  Turn around time for this method is quicker and can help in a time crunch.

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