The Invitation Ensemble

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You might think of the wedding invitation as just a single of a piece of paper that provides details of the ceremony. In truth, a wedding initiation is an ensemble of pieces. Understanding the role each plays is critical to making sure you use them correctly. For example, what are the announcements for exactl... read more

You might think of the wedding invitation as just a single of a piece of paper that provides details of the ceremony. In truth, a wedding initiation is an ensemble of pieces. Understanding the role each plays is critical to making sure you use them correctly. For example, what are the announcements for exactly?

Ideally, as you design your wedding invitation, you will put together an entire ensemble. This ensures each piece uses the same basic design properties like ink color and font. You want accessory cards and envelopes to correspond with the style of the invitation.

Announcements
It is easy to confuse the wedding invitation with the announcement, but they are actually two separate items. The invitation is part of the ensemble and invites guests to the wedding ceremony and reception.

Announcements are separate cards that go out the day of the marriage or a few days after. They alert friends and family not at the function that the couple is indeed married. Usually an announcement card includes the date of the wedding and the city. Some couples print the announcement on a wedding photo or a college. Announcements are often postcards with the address information on the reverse side.

Envelopes
Traditionally, the wedding invitation goes inside two separate envelopes — inner and outer. The outer piece is for the mailing information with the return address on the back flap. Preprinting the return address makes things easier, but etiquette requires you to handwrite the “send to” address. The inner envelope protects the invitation itself. It does not include any addresses, just a more personal guest greeting.

Depending on the ensemble design, the envelopes may or may not be lined. Color and foil linings are common with a formal setup. Modern and more casual invitations may be plainer. If lined, the tint can help designate wedding colors. If the wedding colors are pink and silver, for example, the envelope is pink with a silver inner lining.

Formal ensembles might add a piece of tissue paper between the invite and the inner envelope. At one time, the tissue prevented the ink from smudging, but today is really just a nostalgic gesture. Use is a matter of preference.

Reception Cards
The wedding ceremony and the reception are two separate events often held in different locations. The reception card offers an address for the party after the service.

Reception
immediately following the ceremony
The Country Club
1442 Main St.
OurTown, Texas

When having the reception in a home, list the name of the homeowners, as well.

Reception
immediately following the ceremony
at the residence of
Mr. and Mrs. John Smith
1442 Main St.
OurTown, Texas

If the reception is a sit down dinner, change the wording to read:

Dinner reception
When the reception is over two hours after the ceremony, list the time instead.
Reception
at seven o’clock that evening

Response Card
Response cards are exactly what they sound like — a card that guests return in response to the invitation. The RSVP process allows you to estimate the number of guests you will have for both the ceremony and reception. There is no strict etiquette assigned to the RSVP card. The only standard feature is the “respond by” date — when you need to get the card back.

The favor of a reply is requested by November 1, 2014.
Next comes a listing of the guests attending.
M_______________________________
Followed by:
____Accepts with pleasure
____Declines with regrets

The top line allows them to fill in their name, so the planner knows who is responding then they simply check off the appropriate answer.

The response card could ask for a more personalized answer. Something like:

The favor of a reply is requested by November 1, 2014.

This prompts the guest to communicate a response via the phone or by sending a message.

Other Enclosures
Additional items part of the wedding invitation ensemble includes:

Dance cards: Used to invite some guests, like a grandfather or favored uncle, to dance during a segment of the wedding celebration.

Ribbon or Pew Cards: This tradition is usually saved for very formal affairs. It is common to reserve the first few rows, or pews, for VIP guests like family or members of the wedding party. The card is given to ushers seating guests so they know this person belongs in the special “within the ribbon” section.

Map Card: Gives more detailed information about the location. It may include a printed map providing the best route to the service. It can show parking locations reserved for wedding guests, as well. For formal celebrations, professional printing maintains the elegance of the ensemble. For less formal affairs, a hand drawn note is acceptable.

A wedding invitation is a package of information relevant to the ceremony. From dance card to a map, the little pieces fit together to give guests all they need to celebrate the happy couple’s day properly.

{Top Image via Paper Perfections}

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