Posts tagged wedding planning

PART TWO: Wedding Invitation Pieces & Parts

The Basics
The invitation is a key piece of the puzzle during your wedding planning. It essentially invites your nearest and dearest to witness the big day, it will let your guests know the expected attire and formality, as well as prepare remaining decisions like menu selections and guest invitees. Perhaps most importantly, the invitation becomes one of the first keepsake heirlooms from your wedding. In a world of digital revolutions, having the tactile keepsake to fill that hope chest is and should be treasured dearly. However it is that you invite your guests, the invitation should collect the following information:

-name of the bride and groom to marry
-date and time of the ceremony
-location of the ceremony
-reception details (unless the reception details are accommodated on a separate card)

What All Should I Include?
Any standard wedding invitation may clearly include the invitation and its corresponding envelope as well as a response card and its corresponding envelope. In addition to these two pieces, you may include a separate card for the reception info, a map, or an accommodations card.

The Wedding Invitation will clearly represent the most important information. This is typically the largest and hierarchy of the pieces that will build your suite. The invitation will let the guests know who is hosting the wedding, who is getting married, and the details about the date, time, and venue.

Also known as RSVP or reply card, the response card gives you an opportunity to request specific information from your guests.

-Accept or Regrets
There is a range of ways you can ask whether or not your guest will be in attendance. A more formal version would be “happily accepts” or “regretfully declines.” You can use an alternative, more playful version like “be there with bells on” or “sending happy thoughts.”

-Specifically WHO is invited
Commonly found on a response card is the indication requesting how many total guests will be in attendance. The phrase “____ number of guests in attendance” may be used. For a more specific list, many couples opt for requesting a written list of each attendee. If you are having an adult-only wedding, requesting the written list may be a great option for you to prevent any misunderstandings. 

-Meal Choice
In the South, the more common buffet style wedding is what you will observe. However, in my experience with couples who are hosting a formal sit-down meal, you may want to include the meal choices on your response card. This means that you will have to have those selections finalized BEFORE sending out your invitations. It’s best to ask your guests on the response card to place initials by each guest’s selection rather than a simple tally mark or number. Meal selections are of course not necessary, but generally coincide with the formality of the wedding. You (or your wedding planner) should have those meal options set and noted before meeting with your stationer.

-Fun Details Requested
A less formal wedding may include some fun options on the response card, like a song request: “I promise to dance if you play _____________” or a “words of wisdom” section. If this becomes an option for you, have fun with it. You can make a keepsake book of all your responses!

A reception card is a separate card dedicated to the reception details that will follow the ceremony. Reception cards are used for both on and off-site receptions. A reception card may have details that provide the reception time and location: “reception to follow at Il Mercato). For off-site receptions, it’s typically not necessary that you include the city & state on the reception card, as it is never very far from the ceremony venue. For on-site receptions, there is often a cocktail hour in between the two. This is usually the time that the bride and groom are taking photos and will often provide a social activity before they are announced. This information may be included on the reception card: “join us for cocktails in the courtyard immediately following the ceremony dinner & dancing to follow at seven o’clock”

An accommodations or details card may be used to list out any and all details regarding to the wedding festivities. This may include hotel accommodations, wedding website information, wedding weekend details, or post-wedding gatherings.

Map cards are used both subjectively and objectively as a general or specific reference to the location of either the ceremony venue or reception venue, or both. Map cards present a great illustrative contrast to wedding suites that generally display lots of text. In a world of digital revolutions, with Google Maps at our fingertips, map cards are a fun way to bring back a nostalgic impression for your guests to enjoy. They make great little art prints as well (pre-wedding wedding favor? ...maybe!).

How do I stuff all of this in an envelope? There are a number of things to consider when thinking about assembly. If you have several pieces that build your suite, you may want to house everything in an inner envelope or think about using some pretty ribbon or band to “house” it all together. Here are some common assembly options:

pocket envelopes:
A pocket envelope is a small folder of sorts with sleeves that house each card that build your suite. You may have your invitation mounted on the left side of the open “folder” with the left side housing the add-on pieces. This pocket envelope would then be placed in its outer envelope (the mailing envelope).

inner envelopes:
An inner serves two purposes. The inner envelope may house all of your pieces simply stacked on top of each other in its proper order as well as entail who is invited. The outer & inner envelope is a formal and traditional practice where the outer envelope would state the more formal “Mr. and Mrs. Michael Dean Johnson” guest name and address, with the inner stating “Mr. and Mrs. Johnson, Miss Norah, Henry.” (see more about addressing in part three)

ribbons or bands:
Using ribbons or paper bands is also an excellent way to house all of your pieces together. Ribbons are a great way to add some color, texture, and mood to a more traditional piece. It’s a happy balance between the two and is my personal favorite. Embellish the ribbons with a wax seal and dried greenery and you have yourself a simple, but showcase-worthy piece.

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Stay tuned for part three in this four part “Building Your Wedding Suite Series”
part three | envelope addressing & etiquette

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PART ONE: Timelines, Budgets, and Printing Method

A wedding is, every time, a lovely expression of a couple’s story. Following the engagement is a series of tasks and to-dos that can pile quickly. Wedding Stationery, and all its moving parts, is one of the key factors during your wedding planning journey. Here are some things to consider when you are ready to tackle your wedding stationery:


Mentioned above, the wedding invitation is a key piece of the puzzle during your wedding planning. It will entail several essential factors for both you and your guests to discover. Before deciding which route you’d like to take with your stationery, a general rule of thumb timeline will be a good tool to abide by.

Save the Dates:
-mailed 6-9 months prior to the big day
-entail the couple getting married, wedding date, location of the wedding (city & state, venue if booked)

Wedding Invitations:
-mailed 8-12 weeks prior to the big day
-entail the couple getting married, wedding date & time, location of the ceremony, and details about reception, responses, and/or accommodations (more on series two)

There are lots of different sources that will give you an estimated budget you should allocate for stationery. Many budgets often exclude the afterthoughts wedding stationery can incur once you reach that planning mode. Here are some factors you will want to consider when planning your stationery budget:

The Nuts & Bolts
save the dates
printing method
envelope addressing or calligraphy for save the dates
postage for the save the dates
invitation suite
printing method
envelope addressing or calligraphy for wedding invitations
main postage for the wedding stationery (often higher than a typical letter)
response card postage
day-of stationery (rehearsal dinner invites, programs, menu cards, etc.)

Quantity & Guest List:
One of the first questions I ask my couples before issuing a proposal (different than the one the bride was issued) is “how many pieces will you need?,” and that is when I often receive back an “ummmm.” The general rule of thumb is to account for roughly 2/3 of your guest list. If you are inviting a total of 300 guests, you will probably need about 200 invitations.

Guest List:
You’ll want to start working on your guest list right away. If you are going to have your envelopes digitally printed, download this address template here. If you are going to have your envelopes hand-written by a calligrapher, it’s best to contact your calligrapher to ask what format you’d like your addresses. There is nothing worse than working so hard on that spreadsheet to find out the format is all wrong!


flat printing

flat printing

letterpress printing

letterpress printing

Flat Printing
Flat printing is the simplest and most affordable route for printing. Your design can be printed from professional digital printers producing a highly desired look. Flat printing is great for cost reasons, but also yield certain mediums that are not achievable using other methods. Flat printing is great if you have any sort of graphics, like watercolor or various colors. Whereas letterpress printing prints opaque, solid colors and appeal best to more line art, sketch type of graphics.

Letterpress Printing & Foil Printing
Letterpress printing, contrasting from flat printing, is considered a high-end printing medium. Letterpress printing is more labor intensive and costly than flat printing, but appreciated for its tactile impression it leaves in its textured, thicker papers. Like Letterpress Printing, gold foil is also a high-end printing method, as its labor and set up is more intensive and costly. Gold foil can be mixed with letterpress printing and flat printing and comes in various colors (black, gold, rose gold, silver, white, and more).  

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Should I Send Out Save the Dates?
Save the dates can be extremely helpful to those who have large wedding parties, wedding parties located in several different cities or states, or for the couple wanting to set the tone and formality of the wedding early on.

Save the Dates include the following information:
-the couple to marry (last names included)
-the wedding date
-the location of the wedding: if the venue has not been decided, you can include the city & state) -wedding website: wedding websites are often included on the save the dates to inform guest about the upcoming event (wedding websites are NOT included on the main invitation)

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Stay tuned for part two in this four part “Building Your Wedding Suite Series”
part two | the wedding invitation basics

my (pre)pinterest wedding

I have to admit something that I'm kind of ashamed to admit. My best cousin and my best friend are both getting married next year and I'm secretly (or not so secretly) living vicariously through them. See, I was married before wedding blogs were as popular as they are now. I was married before Pinterest was invited. I was married before Anthropologie launched their wedding line, BHLDN (I'm still upset about that one). However, I couldn't be more thankful. 

My husband and I have been going to the same school together since kindergarten. I wasn't particularly fond of him. He was the class clown. Fast forward to circa 2009, we were married at the young age of 20. We were crazy, but all we knew is that marriage was our next step, no matter our age. 

On August 8th, we have hit seven years together, twelve years total, and have added two little ones to the mix. Looking back at some old wedding photos, I am so fond of the special little moments and experiences we had. You know why? Because they were OURS. 

We had no idea how to plan a wedding and to be honest, we really were not concerned with the aesthetic details. ...not like I would be today, that's for sure. Maybe that's why I'm living vicariously through others. Because I'll be the first to admit that if I was married today ...we just won't go there.

The most important thing to us was the experience. ...we wanted smiles and laughter, we wanted candid moments with our nearest and dearest, we to begin our marriage.

We inadvertently curated these memories and these moments that we simply could not replicate if we wanted to. Up at the alter, my super soon-to-be husband handed me this little gold chest. I had no idea he was going to give me this. He gave me this little "I'll explain later" look, so I simply smiled and held the gold chest during the ceremony. 

After the ceremony, he explained that these coins came from his mother's side of the family. There were thirteen coins. The custom of the giving originated in Spain and is usually associated with Hispanic culture. My husband's mother's family is from Mexico and still carry many of their culture's traditions. The coins were filled with symbolic meaning signifying the grooms willingness to support his bride. The bride's acceptance symbolized trust and confidence and unconditional love. The thirteen coins recognized Christ and His twelve apostles in recognition of the newfound marriage. I'll never forget the shaky voice as my husband of ten minutes explained where this came from after the ceremony.

There were heaps of moments like this that just kept popping up. There were certain smiles that were candidly caught on camera. There were certain moments I'll never forget. Maybe I'm just a little nostalgic since my anniversary just passed, but I'm so thankful for the simplicity that meaningful choices can make in a wedding. Because at the end of the day, it's all about the marriage that will follow. That's the real story. 


When we were engaged, I was (at the time) in college for Business Management. It wasn't until the semester after we were married that I was an art major. Although I have always had my hands in creativity, I did not know the process of letterpress printing. I did not know what my personal style was. I was not a designer. My invitations were very traditional. Oh and I just thought they were the greatest thing ever, and they were beautiful for what they were. I simply cannot imagine designing my own wedding invitation if I were to marry today (to the same Beau of course).

Maybe I'll have to renew my vows one day to find out!

Organize your Wedding Planning in JUST THREE STEPS

So he got down on one knee and popped the heart warming, jaw dropping, tummy tumbling question. YOU'RE ENGAGED! ...and that requires a happy dance. Within the next 48 hours, you will have excitedly celebrated with those dear to you. 

Have you taken a ring selfie yet while pondering potential wedding hashtags? 

You begin to turn some of that excitement's energy in to productivity and begin actually planning the wedding, BUT WAIT, DON'T START YET! Follow this model below to ensure that the entire wedding planning journey is as blissful as the day you said YES! 

Breaking down the planning in to three simple steps will allow you to stay organized and scratch off your tasks in the right order while keeping a meaningful mindset to your decision making. 


STEP ONE: creating your wedding style & inspirations

Inspiration is constantly flooding our social media feeds. It's easy to become inspired, but equally easy to become influenced. Word of advice: Be meaningful & intentional. When using wedding blogs and Pinterest for inspiration, use intentional references for YOUR wedding day, not someone else's. 

Challenge: Try to pick six photos that represent you and your personal style, but only include TWO (three if you must) wedding related photos. Be VERY intentional about your photo selections. You must love everything in the photo, not just one little portion. Someone should be able to look at that photo and say "YES, that's so you."

Here's mine:

You can see from the combination of home & living photos that I love simplicity and organic textures. I'm a fan of whimsical greenery and flowers. I love paper & stationery and seem to be gearing towards a light and airy, but with a touch of warmth mood in regard to wedding style. 

You can tell much more than you think from your every day life. 

After you narrow down your style to six images, try to use three words to describe your personal style and keep those three words with you through out your decision making and wedding planning. They'll come in handy. 

STEP TWO: short term to-do's and tasks

There's a top five tasks list you'll want to tackle early in to the wedding planning. Keep those three words with you through out these to-do's.

Have a few tentative dates on hand before selecting your top five. Depending on availability, you may have some wiggling to do. 

1) Wedding Planner | First things first, hire a wedding planner if desired. Wedding planners are amazing and take SO much of the weight off of your shoulders.

2) Venue & Officiate | Selecting a venue is probably the most important decision in regard to how you want to represent your big day. Think about those three words of yours. Does your potential venue compliment those three words well? Maybe you've always imagined an outdoor wedding. Maybe you'd love an urban, rooftop wedding in the middle of the city. Are your three worlds clearly represented here? 

Once you book your venue, you'll want to find an officiate to marry you. 

3) Photographer and/or Videographer | A picture is worth 1000 words, right? ...and a wedding video even more. As soon as you confirm one of those tentative dates after booking your wedding planner & venue, tie the knot with your photographer. 

4) Band or DJ | By this point, you have a venue. You have a date. You have a photographer. Let's dance! either a band or DJ. 

5) Catering | I hope you're hungry for some food tastings! Catering companies will generally take on one venue a day. So if you're set on a certain caterer, get them inked in! 

STEP THREE: long term planning

This is the step where EVERYthing else falls in to course. To keep things working in a smooth and graceful manner, make a list be separating your remaining engagement in to quadrants. 

For example, let's say you now have twelve months until the BIG DAY. Make a list for things do accomplish between 9-12 months out. Then another list from 6-9 month out, 3-6 months out, then a more detailed list of tasks to complete during those last 3 months. 

This way, NOTHING sneaks up on you and no time gets lost in this busy world of ours. 

Last but not least, (and probably most important), ENJOY THIS TIME. This is a magical segment of your life. It's the preface to your story as one and there will be no other time like this one. 

I will be sending you smiles at every dress fitting, food tasting, make-up test run, and of course on the big day! XOXO

10 questions you HAVE to ask your potential wedding venue

There's a typical top five first to-do's a bride will tackle and the venue is definitely one of them! Hold up there! Be sure to remember or jot down these questions to ask. The answer just may be a deal breaker for you. 


This may seem obvious, but if you have a certain date set in stone, make sure your potential venue isn't booked.

If you love the venue enough, you can always base your date on their availability.   


You'll definitely want to make sure your potential venue can accommodate your guests. By law, there will be a maximum head count that you'll want to make sure you are abiding by. 

You'll want to know what deposit is required, how many deposits are to be made, and in what form the payments are required. 

You'll also want to ask if any additional costs may occur. Some venues will charge hidden fees for clean ups, an overage of time, etc. 

Many venues have an exclusive team of vendors they may require working with. If you have your own preferred vendors, you'll want to make sure that's allowed for your selected venue. 

This date is a good rule of thumb for those RSVP cards. For example, if you know you need a headcount by May 1st for your June 1st wedding, you will want to state on your reply card "please RSVP no later than the 15th of April" to allow those last few RSVP's to come in just in time for your final headcount. 

Some venue are particular about decorations or party favors that may be a hazard. They may require battery operated candles versus fire burning candles. Perhaps throwing rice or holding sparklers as the bride and groom exit isn't within the venue's comfort zone. 

Pass this information along to your rental company or the person in charge of decorations and styling.

You're going to want to make sure you have ample parking and your venue is handicapped accessible for your guests. 


Pass this along to your photographer(s).

If your venue will be held outdoors, you may want to make sure there's a backup plan or tent rental option as a Plan B. 


Whether you are married on the roof top in the middle of the city, the church your great-grandparents wed in, or the backyard garden of your favorite plantation, I hope you find THE perfect place that suits all of your needs! XO, my dears!