If you’re new to the world of wedding planning, congratulations! You’re probably already thinking ahead to that exciting moment when you send your wedding invitations off to your guests.
But before you do, it’s crucial that you know everything that you need to include in your wedding invitation suite. The last thing you want is to be bombarded with telephone calls and emails from confused guests, because you’ve forgotten to include some crucial bit of information.
If you’ve never heard the term ‘wedding invitation suite’ before, you may be wondering what we mean. This term refers to everything that’s included inside the envelope: the invitation itself, plus all the little inserts and information cards, such as the RSVP card.
What Comes In a Wedding Invitation Suite?
Thinking about all the information that you need to pass on to your guests may be a little overwhelming. It can be difficult to decide what to put on your wedding invitations, what to put on your website, and what to simply pass around via word of mouth.
But by the end of this guide, you should have a good idea of what to do. Here’s a list of all the components you’ll need to include in your wedding invitation suite.
The most important part of an invitation suite is, well, the invitation. This can come in the form of a flat card or a folded card, with details on the inside.
So, what information do you need to include on the wedding invitation itself?
• Your names (so your guests know who’s getting married!)
• The date and time of your ceremony
• The name and address of your venue
• A link to your wedding website
If there’s space on the invitation, you can also include your dress code, and gift registry information. Alternatively, you can include this on a separate note card, or on your wedding website.
If your wedding reception is being held at the same venue as your ceremony, and starts right after the ceremony, a reception card isn’t necessary. However, you should include one if you’re holding your reception elsewhere, or if there is a significant gap between the ceremony finishing and the reception start time.
On the reception card, list the name and address of your reception venue. Include the start time, and an approximate finish time if you have an idea of it. If not, ‘til late’ will suffice!
Although most of your guests will have satnavs or access to Google Maps, don’t take this for granted. You should always include directions to your wedding venue, either in the form of a map or written instructions. This is particularly important for older guests that may not use smartphones, and guests that are travelling from out of town.
You can use a simple note card, such as this White Note Card, to include your directions. If your venue doesn’t have on-site parking, you should also include directions to the nearest car park.
For out-of-town guests, or if you’re having a destination wedding, you’ll also need to include accommodation recommendations. Make a list of nearby hotels, and provide their addresses and telephone numbers.
If a substantial portion of your guests are travelling for your wedding, we’d recommend speaking to nearby hotels and seeing if you can reserve blocks of rooms. Some hotels will give your guests a small discount if you do this.
It’s also a good idea to include transport details, such as taxi numbers and local bus timetables, on the accommodation card.
It’s no good sending out a wedding invitation without response cards! This is how your guests will let you know whether or not they can come to your wedding.
Each response card should contain a space for your guests to write their names, and check boxes for your guests to indicate whether or not they’re able to attend. If you are offering food options for your guests, you should also have a space for your guest to write their meal choice and dietary requirements.
It’s polite to include a stamped, addressed envelope with your response card, so that your guests don’t need to pay to answer your invitation. Alternatively, include a phone number or email address instead, so that your guests can RSVP without making a trip to the post box.
If you are providing your guests with food choices, and your caterer requires a pre-order, include a menu card in your invitation suite. This informs your guests of their options for starters, main courses and desserts. Don’t forget to clearly label any vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options.
If you are having a set menu rather than offering a choice of food, you don’t need to include a menu card. But you should still leave a space on your response cards for your guests to inform you of dietary requirements.
If you’re holding several events over the course of your wedding weekend, such as a rehearsal dinner or morning-after brunch, include a wedding itinerary card or programme. This will inform your guests of every event that’s happening, and when.
Itinerary cards aren’t necessary if you’re only having the standard ceremony, followed by wedding breakfast and reception. You’ll have already provided details of these on your invitation and reception cards.
A belly band, or invitation wrapper, is a thin strip of paper that holds together all the individual components of a wedding invitation.
Belly bands keep everything neat, and stop any inserts from falling out when your guest opens the envelope. Normally, a belly band will contain the couple’s names, or text saying “wedding invitation”. However, they can also be plain.
If you don’t want to use a paper belly band, you could use a piece of ribbon or fabric such as lace. You could even use string or twine for a more rustic feel.
Your wedding invitation and inserts, wrapped in the belly band of your choice, go inside the inner envelope. Some wedding invitations come provided with an inner envelope, such as this Golden Pocket Wedding Day Invitation.
On the outside of the inner envelope, write your guests’ full names. Be sure to include children’s names if they are invited.
If you’re allowing your guests to bring plus-ones, include their partner’s name if you know it. If you don’t, simply write “Miss K. Smith and Guest”, for example.
The inner envelope is there for aesthetic reasons, just in case the outer envelope becomes dirty or damaged in the post. You can omit the inner envelope if you’d prefer to save on costs.
The outer envelope is what your guests will first see when the invitation arrives in their letterbox. It’s the vessel in which every other component of your invitation suite is contained.
You can choose any colour or style you like, just so long as the ink you choose will show up. The address on the outside must be read both by the postman and a sorting machine, so avoid using loopy cursive on the outer envelope – save that for the inner one.
On the outside of your envelope, write your guest’s name (s) and their address. Don’t forget to include a stamp. We’d recommend taking your invitations to the post office to be weighed and measured, as invitation suites can sometimes end up too thick to be sent with a regular stamp.
If you like, you can use a cute envelope seal, either on the inner or outer envelope (or both!).
You should order your wedding invitation suite as soon as possible. Obviously, you can’t order it until you have organised all the details of your wedding. But start browsing wedding stationers right away, so that you can place your order once everything is confirmed.
We would recommend ordering your wedding invitation suite from your chosen stationer at least two months before you plan to send your invites out. That way, you have time to fix anything that may go wrong (such as your order being lost in the post, or a misprint on your order).
Aim to post your wedding invitations according to the following guidelines:
• 6 to 12 weeks before the wedding, if you sent ‘Save the Dates’
• 3 to 4 months before the wedding for guests who have to travel, or if you are having a destination wedding
• 5 to 6 months before the wedding if you didn’t send ‘Save the Dates’ (your guests will need more notice if they haven’t already been notified of the wedding date)
The above is just a guideline. There’s no harm in sending your invitations earlier than this, if you’d like to. Just don’t post them any earlier