Every wedding is a once-in-a-lifetime, special event for every couple, so it makes sense to pour time, enthusiasm, excitement, and resources in creating a dream wedding. And that includes putting effort on the wedding invitations.
Invitation cards aren’t just about the who, what, when, and where of your wedding. The content, the design, and everything about your invitation cards set the tone of your wedding and tell your guests what kind of event they can expect.
For the perfect wedding every step of the way, you don’t want to commit embarrassing and sometimes-disastrous mistakes on your invitation cards. That’s why we asked seven wedding experts about the top two common wedding invitation mistakes and how you can avoid these blunders.
1. Holly Stein, Simply Sweet Weddings & Events
Holly Stein has been organizing beautiful weddings since 2006. She earned her apprenticeship with renowned wedding planner Mary Dann, from whom she learned the ins and outs of the trade. Holly further honed her skills while working as the event and sales manager at Franciscan Garden. She finally started her own wedding- and event-planning business in 2009 and has been making successful weddings happen ever since.
Spelling mistakes! Make sure to quadruple proofread and have other people proofread too! I had a client with a wedding on Sunday, June 26th, but the invitation said Saturday, June 26th. The client was only checking for spelling errors, and didn't even notice that the incorrect day was listed!
2. Kathryn Kalabokes, Dream a Little Dream Events, LLC
Kathryn Kalaboke is the founder and creative mind behind Dream a Little Dream Events. She established the event planning business in July 2004 after more than 20 years of experience in corporate and social event planning. Kathryn is known for her sharp organizational skills, her creative designs, and custom weddings that clients love.
The biggest mistakes I see are putting the registry information in the invitation and putting the reply by date too close to the wedding day. I always suggest a month out so you have time to contact the guests who have not replied before you need to do seating arrangements and final guest counts.
3. Danielle Paternak, DPNAK Weddings
Danielle Paternak has been twice listed (2016 and 2018) as one of the Top 19 Best Wedding Planners in Philadelphia. Her wedding planning business DPNAK Weddings, which she started in 2009, was mentioned in Destination Weddings & Honeymoons magazine’s World’s Top Wedding Planners in 2017. Danielle also cohosts at a podcast called Put a Ring on It, which has over 60,000 listeners.
I find that the two most common mistakes couples make when it comes to their wedding invitations are trying to include ALL of the information possible (making it very heavy and hefty on postage) and making the RSVP date too late or too early.
Most couples today have a wedding website which can easily hold all of their information regarding the wedding and more. It’s easy to update and can include everything from lodging to transportation schedules to directions and info on attire. Having this website noted on your invitation saves you from needing to include ALL of this info in the invite you mail out to your guests. And the less that’s in the envelope, the less it weighs, and the less you'll spend on postage. If you've got a few friends or family member who aren’t tech-savvy enough for the website, I would send a special email or note just to them including all of that information separately. They’ll most certainly appreciate it.
A lot of to-do’s need to happen in the final weeks leading up to the wedding. And many can’t be done until your guest list is finalized. The later your RSVP date, the later you’ll have the information you need to tackle your seating assignments. If you put too early of an RSVP date, you’ll have guests changing their minds as their plans change. In my experience, having an RSVP date of one month before the wedding is the ideal timeframe to give you time to hunt down any outstanding RSVPs (you’ll likely have some), organize your seating, and inform your vendors of final guest and table counts in time for when they’re due.
4. Lisa Antonecchia, Creative Concepts by Lisa
Lisa Antonecchia is the owner and lead planner and designer of Creative Concepts by Lisa. She’s passionate about organizing weddings and events that deserve a standing ovation, as well as showcase her clients’ own sense of style. Lisa has been planning and organizing fun, stylish, and successful weddings and events since 2009.
For me, your wedding invitation sets the tone for the entire wedding experience. I feel that couples should spend more time selecting an invitation that embraces the style and feel of the wedding so that people understand what they will be experiencing that night.
For many clients, it’s become simply about the price point and what is the least expensive option, forgetting that there is a true connection to what your guests receive in the mail to the wedding day itself. Take time and give your save-the-date, invitation, and thank-you cards some real thought.
Another comment that I typically make with my clients is in order to ensure that you know who has RSVP’d to your wedding, and have an accurate guest list with meal options for your caterer, it is best to number your invitations. Many couples will create a spreadsheet that they work off of for their wedding guest list. Take time to number the list and then with a pencil on the back of the RSVP card number that to correlate with your guest list. That way if two different people respond “John” will attend you know which “John” is which! Or, if your guest’s handwriting is so difficult to read you no longer have to be concerned, you'll have your list and you’ll know who this person is. When dealing with your invitations be as organized as possible so no mistakes can be made.
5. Nora Sheils, Bridal Bliss
Nora Sheils leads the successful team behind Bridal Bliss, which has been in the business of planning, designing, and organizing breathtaking weddings since 2002. Nora has also frequently shared her wedding-planning expertise on local television shows, including KATU’s AM Northwest, KPTV 12’s More Good Day Oregon, and KGW News. Nora has loved weddings since she was a child, and now, she excels at planning and organizing them.
Invitations have become a fun way for couples to set the tone for the type of wedding their guests can expect. We love working with our couples on this component to truly make them their own, whether it is through a custom monogram, a watercolor of their sweet pup, or even personalized postage—the list is endless!
That said it is easy to get caught up in the look and forget that not only are these meant to be enjoyed by their recipients, but they are also expected to provide the necessary information ensuring guests know where they are going and when. Although we don't see many invitations that lack the critical items—think name, date, time—(although we have heard horror stories) the biggest hiccups we see are in the timing—not giving guests enough leeway to return their response cards, and not providing enough postage for either the actual invitation or the return card.
We work with our couples to send invites out 8–10 weeks in advance allowing time for guests to both receive them, and send them back (with some bonus wiggle room in there for those stragglers!). We also recommend heading into the Post Office early or in the middle of the day to have them weigh the entire package (even if you end up ordering them elsewhere!). Ask about international shipping if you have any guests overseas, and don’t forget to provide postage for your RSVP envelopes. You want to make it as easy on guests as possible!
One final note for those newly engaged who starting this process, less is more on the invites. We love a good “details” enclosure card with possibly a few bullets for your guests (parking, attire, etc.) but most importantly your website! Your website is where you can go all out without overwhelming your guests. On the actual invitations, stick to the facts, so that those unique elements you selected (that darling watercolor pup!) can truly shine.
6. Kimberly Rhodes, Hitched Events
Kimberly Rhodes has been planning and organizing events for over 16 years. She started her career as an event planning for a multichain retailer. She handles all kinds of events, from company parties, to trade shows, to golf tournaments, to multiday conferences for C-suite executives. Kimberly discovered her love for wedding planning after her organizing her own wedding. In 2011, she started Hitched Events.
One mistake that I often find common with wedding invitations involves following the proper rules of etiquette. Which details should actually be put on an invitation can become daunting to just about anyone. From the major rules, like addressing the invitation to exactly whom you want to attend, to even the smallest details, i.e., when and where to use zip codes on an invitation. When in doubt, I recommend couples to double check with a reliable source, such as the Crane’s Blue Book of Stationery!
I also think that many invitations are not sent out early enough. While etiquette calls for 6 to 8 weeks in advance, I always aim for my couples to have their invitations in the mail 8 weeks before the wedding day. This allows us to request responses four weeks prior to the wedding—and leaves time for the couple to track down any unanswered invites (because there always are a few!) before the final counts to a venue are due.
7. Rachael Roe, Signature Belize Weddings
Rachael Roe is the owner and lead planner of Signature Belize Weddings. Rachael has always had a passion for weddings. She has worked in several wedding-related specializations, from catering, to decorating, to cake baking, before establishing her own wedding planning business. Her proud creation, Signature Belize Weddings, is a recipient of Wedding Wire Couple’s Choice Award 2018.
With our clients, it is a bit different, as we specialize in destination weddings. For us, the top two wedding mistakes include:
Not sending out save-the-dates with enough notice! People forget that their guests need time to plan their trip to a destination wedding. They need to budget, ask for vacation, and look at schedules. We suggest sending out a save-the-date no later than 6 months before the wedding date.
Not including enough details with wedding inserts. Guests like information! Let them know things like dress code, meal choices, timelines, and if children are invited.
Your wedding is something that you will remember for the rest of your life. Creating your ideal wedding includes making invitations that set the tone of the whole event and showcase the beauty of it. Don’t skimp on your wedding invitations, and avoid committing the common wedding-invitation mistakes.
Make sure all the necessary details are listed inside, but don’t overstuff your invitation envelopes or overwhelm your guest. Give your guest enough time to RSVP, but don’t compromise your own time to arrange the wedding. Finally, listen to the experts’ pieces of advice to create the wedding invitations that perfectly embody your wedding and impress your guests along the way.