In the continuation of our two part series on wedding invitations, Michelle Secondi of 417 Press shares her best advice for creating a beautiful, customized wedding invitation for your special day.
Avoid a Faux Pas
The passing of a loved one is always a sensitive issue, but your guests will find it morbid to have them named in an invitation. Instead, add special mentions to other wedding pieces like the program. One bride used a small butterfly design on the invitation to remember her deceased father.
Other faux pas include gift or registry information, your wedding website address or explicitly stating that children are not invited. Recruit close friends and family members to share these details via word of mouth, please.
Work that guest list, baby
Your address list is one of the most time-consuming wedding projects and addressing your invitations properly is a detail that must not be overlooked.
There are many resources on how to address an invitation, but here are a few tips:
-All titles and degrees, such as Doctor, are spelled out in full
-Always use “Mr. and Mrs.” for married couples (be it Mr. Samuel and Mrs. Susan Smith or Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Smith).
-For married couples with different last names, list the name of the person you’re most familiar with first; when it doubt list the man’s name first (Mr. Sam Smith and Mrs. Susan Barnes).
-For unmarried couples, each name should be on a separate line without “and” (which indicates that a couple is married).
-Having an adults-only affair? Only those whose name appears on the envelope are invited.
-For those plus-ones, take the time to find out that person’s full name, rather than using “and Guest”.
-Following the guest line, all addresses and house numbers less than 20 should be spelled out in full (use Avenue rather Ave. and Quebec rather than QC). Keep in mind that this is a social invitation, not business mail.
Before your invitations go to print, proofread! proofread! proofread! (did I say proofread?)
Tip: You’ve looked over and over the text, but did you double-check the address and the spelling of the ceremony location?
By the time you are ready to order your invitations, your guest list should be nearly complete. Refer back to it to make sure you’re ordering enough invitations, but not so many that a bunch of them will be tossed into the recycling bin.
Tip: If using a calligrapher to address your invitations (or you’re doing it yourself), make sure to order 10% more envelopes.
Use the time that your envelopes are in production to finalize, proofread and edit your address list at least one more time.
Make a Great First Impression
You’ve put so much time and effort into creating a beautiful wedding invitation, why stop now? If you are giving your guest list to a calligrapher (we love Olive Branch and Co) or printer (to print the addresses directly on the envelopes or on a label), your list should include information exactly as you wish it to appear on the envelope.
Tip: It’s perfectly fine to use a label that matches the style, colours and fonts of your wedding invitations, but don’t even think about using a standard white address label à la business mail.
DIY Tip: Take a calligraphy or hand-lettering class, and use pens in colours that match your invitation.
Get the Assembly Right
When you’re ready to assemble your invitations, always have the smallest piece on top (usually the reply card) and layer the other pieces below, finishing with the largest piece (usually the invitation) on the bottom. The reply envelope should be face up and behind the reply card rather than tucking the reply card inside the envelope.
Don’t forget to stamp the reply envelope, leaving the envelope blank if they will be returning from a foreign country (if you’re able, obtain stamps from those countries).
Tip: Use a pencil to add a small number on the back corner of the reply card. This number should correspond to a number on your address list so that if the reply comes back illegible, you will be able to cross-reference it with your list.
Tip: Finish your invitations with a beautiful stamp – custom stamps are available from Canada Post and it’s easy to find vintage stamps online to add to the envelope as well.
And for that extra special touch? Bring your invitations to a main post office, rather than an outlet, and ask them to hand cancel your invitations. In doing so, your invitations will avoid the big machines that leave those unsightly marks on them.
That’s a wrap!
Well, sort of. The best of part of sending out your wedding invitations is the excited responses you get from your friends and family. All those months of planning are finally taking shape and it’s really happening – enjoy!
Michelle Secondi is a Montreal-based graphic designer and letterpress printer. She has been designing wedding and event invitations, social stationery and corporate collateral for over 12 years and her work has been featured in Marriage Québec, Reçevoir and Canadian House & Home.
For more on Michelle personally and how she achieves work-life balance please see her interview here.