Invitations seem to be the first thing that make the whole wedding process “real” for most brides. You’re taking all the details you’ve been organizing for the past however many months and putting them down on paper to send out into the world. Family and friends will come witness not only the next chapter of your life together, but all the hard work you’ve put into pulling this event together and making it perfect. So, of course, you want your invitations to be perfect, as well. The basic invitation suite can be broken down into a few simple pieces… some are must-have’s, some are nice-to-have’s and some are added bonuses. You might put some pieces in different categories and that’s perfectly fine. These are just the most popular pieces I have found with my clients.
First, let me explain a small, but somewhat important detail. A wedding planner can be a wedding coordinator, but a wedding coordinator will not always be a wedding planner. A wedding planner is often hired early in the process, first or second to the venue in most cases. She takes a very hands-on approach to the planning and designing of the event. A wedding coordinator is sometimes referred to as a “day-of coordinator” and isn’t as hands-on in the creative process and their time to shine is about 6 weeks out from the wedding up until the week after your wedding, in some cases. Sometimes, a wedding coordinator can take on a few roles the wedding planner would take on, but those are usually add-on items, so be sure you have the discussion with her as to your needs/wants and expectations.
Hopefully that gives you a good idea between the two titles, so let’s jump into it.
As you comb through images while planning your wedding, you may run across blogs that list features as a “Styled Shoot” or an “Inspiration Shoot” and think, uhhh, wassat?
A Styled Shoot or an Inspiration Shoot is when I group of wedding vendors, and maybe a few non-wedding vendors, come together to get their creative juices flowing. Sometimes the vendors have worked together before and sometimes they haven’t, so to get familiar with their creative process, they’ll come together and create a wedding.
… and we’re not talking air sickness.
Let me tell you about my 15 minutes of fame because of my custom barf bag created for Tracy and Ken’s Delta flight 6275 wedding. Yes… wedding.
My bride and friend, Tracy isn’t conventional. She’s not high-maintenance and she’s very go-with-the-flow. If you’re from Cincinnati, you may have eaten a piece of her cake at a wedding or popped into her shop, Tres Belle Cakes, to grab a coffee and one of the best cupcakes you’ll ever have in life. With being a wedding vendor, she’s seen it all and, well, she’s a wedding vendor so any slow time just means exhaustion from busy season. So when she announced she was engaged, the biggest question was – what are you planning?
Some see them as an added cost – just a postcard or a card with some generic info – and some see an opportunity to break away from the formal mold. But really, the importance of Save the Dates is so much more. Not only do Save the Dates allow your guests to do just that – Save the Date on their calendars – but this is a great opportunity to pass along some great planning information. Save the Dates allow you to add travel details for your out-of-town guests, provide your wedding website (even if it’s not completely filled out), and mostly allow your guests to start planning for your wedding!
Ya’ll. Ish is about to get real. We’re talking about your Wedding Invitations. Go ahead. Grab some paper and a pen, maybe your planner… and maybe a few bottles.
Just kidding. One bottle will do.
Wedding stationery is the step in the planning process where not only does everything start to feel “real,” but a whole new overwhelm can hit. This is where the details all come together and all those decisions you’ve been making for the past million months (or at least it feels like) come together in one pretty package for your guests. Be prepared to be immersed in all things paper once you begin the process – it’s best to get as much decided upon early to make those last few months not seem so “just get it done.” You spent time choosing your place settings, so take a little time to choose the menus you would love to see at each guest’s seat. You spent time choosing the perfect venue, so take a little time and provide travel information and maybe a map to ensure your guests get to see the venue all prettied up.
You just handed over your invitations to the post office to hand-cancel and push out into the world to your guests – give yourself a few days to celebrate because that was a feat within itself, yeah? But don’t wait too long – you have your ceremony and a reception to think about next.
Remember back here in the write up about Save the Dates when we said to be ready to become immersed in all things paper when you start the process? You’re in the home stretch – don’t lose momentum now! Let’s start the conversation about your ceremony and reception stationery, mkay?
Before we get too far into it, let me give you a little tip for keeping your sanity. Once you’ve sent out your invitations, begin seating the guests you know will be attending your wedding. Your grandma, Aunt Bess and Uncle Jim, your bestie circle from college – put them at a table. If you’re about 85% sure they’ll be attending, put them in a seat. When you’ve received their physical RSVP, just put a check mark next to their name, make note of their meal choice if you need to do so, and call it a day. This will save you not only a million headaches two weeks before the wedding, but this will help show you how many tables you will need to have set. Then, slot in those guests you weren’t so sure about as the RSVPs come in.