Having worked with hundreds of brides over the years, we have seen all types of scenarios and come across just about every type of wording conundrum you can think of. Here, we’ll crack a few of these toughies and hopefully get you a jumpstart on Invites Etiquette 101. We hope you love it!
Determine the host of the wedding celebration and use it as a starting point for the request line. (NB. The request line is traditionally the first line on the invitation that requests the recipient to attend the big day!)
Use the names of the hosts, i.e. whoever is paying, (or your own names if you are hosting) to begin the request line. For example, “Together with their families, Libby and Andrew request the pleasure of your company…”
If the celebration is held at a place of worship, the request line should be “request the honour of your presence.” If your celebration is held at a non-religious setting, the request line should read “request the pleasure of your company.”
Paper choice is crucial as this determines the work that is set out for your calligrapher. Highly textured, metallic, or oddly coated paper are usually impossible to write on. Your calligrapher has to figure out a proper pen and ink combination to use for the paper you select. This process is limited by your colour and style preferences as well. So the earlier you include your calligrapher in the planning of your invitation suite, the better.
You’ll also need to provide your calligrapher with a complete, triple spell-checked, and properly formatted list of guest names and addresses.
This is a traditional etiquette point, so if you’re having a more casual, contemporary celebration, feel free to throw it out the window! Etiquette says that you must spell out all your words. No abbreviations! “St.” should be “street”; “5 July 2016” should be “the fifth of July, Two Thousand and Sixteen.” Although a lot of brides opt for abbreviating and having a more casual feel, this is worth noting especially for more traditional celebrations where older generations will attend.
Work in a bit of personality! For more informal celebrations, use more creative and imaginative phrases that reflect the style of your invitation. For example “Celebrate with us!” or “Are you ready to party?” for RSVP. More non-traditional invitations can often incorporate a glimpse into the celebration, for example, a song request line for the band and dance floor.
Most calligraphers usually charge more for dark or lined envelopes, as they would have to draw and erase guidelines per envelope. Metallic inks are harder to use as they require frequent mixing and clog pen nibs quicker, so calligraphers would also most likely charge more for this option.
I can’t say this one enough: no “please” in front of “RSVP”, because it’s already in the French—répondez s’il vous plaît.
Make sure you order extra envelopes to allow for mistakes – an additional 10% of the total envelopes is a safe number.
Always order at least 10% more invitations! Almost all printing processes will involve a start up cost included in the price and if you decide to order just a handful more after the main bulk has been printed, the same start up fees may incur making it a costly process.