Use the "Search" and "Archive" tools to the right to help guide you through your wedding process. Look for tips on: addressing envelopes correctly, including complicated details in your invitation text, choosing escort cards or place cards, streamlining your guest list, making a wedding map & more!

Thursday, April 2, 2015

The Do’s & Don'ts of Ordering Wedding Invitations

The experts at Pa-py-ri give some tips on preparing to order your invitations. 


1. Create your guest list in excel format – this will make it easier to track RSVP’s, submit addresses for envelopes and escort cards to a printer, track meal selection and get an accurate guest count. Not good in Excel? Reach out to your Bridal Party to help – that’s what they are there for!

2. Figure out how many invitations you need. This is not the same as “number of guests”. You will have many couples who only need one invitation, some families of 2+ that require one invite, single guests that need one invite, etc.

3. Research wedding invitation pricing, and make sure you are realistic with you stationary budget. You will need to know how much per invitation suite you can afford to pay and should not forget the little things that make a difference in the end:

  • Any invite weighting over 2 ounces will cost more in postage
  • Any exact square invitation costs more to mail
  • Very fragile invites may need to be hand stamped by USPS – they charge for this service
  • For postcard RSVPs you can use a postcard stamp (costs less)

4. Make decisions:

  • Prefer horizontal or vertical layout?
  • Envelope vs. postcard RSVP?
  • What other info do you need to include/collect in your invite: 
    • RSVP date (consult your caterer and subtract one week to contact anyone who did not RSVP)
    • Hotel/accommodation info for guests?
    • Menu selection?
    • Collect dietary restrictions from guests?
    • Collect a head count for a shuttle service?
    • Collect babysitting interest?
    • Song requests from guests?
    • List a wedding website?


1. Get carried away and overspend past your budget. Brides regret this in the long run.

2. Choose your wedding colors until you have researched and looked at bridal party dresses. Brides have been known to choose and change their colors based on the dress selection they find.

3. Forget to order a wedding invitation for yourself. Out of all your guests you will cherish your invitation the most!

4. Be afraid to put “elbow grease” into your wedding details. Your guests will notice the (sometimes time consuming) effort you put into your special day!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The "How-To" for Wedding Invitations

Send your invitations 6 to 8 weeks prior to the wedding date.
Select a wedding invitation that reflects you both as a couple, and reflects the theme, tone and style of your wedding.

Don't forget to include the basics:
     Location & Address
     Reply information
     Consider adding a tip regarding the dress code:
            "black tie optional", "casual", “wear lawn-friendly shoes”, “under the trees”, etc.

Use names when possible- it is more hospitable to use specific names instead of "and guest."

Use correct titles: Reverend, Honorable, Captain, etc. It is flattering when invitations are addressed correctly. When in doubt, do a Google search!

Use a standby guest list CAREFULLY. 10-20% percent of invited guests typically send regrets. (However – I have known weddings where all guests attended – be cautious!)

Always address wedding invitation envelopes by hand.

 Do not use abbreviations. Spell out words such as Road, Street, Pennsylvania, four o’clock in the afternoon or Two-Thousand-Eleven.

It is improper to use the phrase "No Children Allowed". Instead - opt for "Adult-only..."

Gift Registry

It is impolite to include gift registry information in your invitations. (According to traditional American etiquette, wedding gifts are purely optional.) It is best to place this information on your wedding website, or advise family & friends to spread the information via word of mouth. 

Wedding Invitation Insert Cards

Reception Cards
  • A must if your ceremony & reception are in different locations.
  • Specifies the location and time of the reception celebration.
  • Consider including:
  • Address
  • Time
  • Directions &/or Map
  • Cocktail Hour Information
Accommodations Card
  • Very important for destination weddings....extremely helpful for local weddings with out-of-town guests.
  • Consider including: airports, hotel options, area attractions & rental car agencies.
  • Look at adding places for coffee, dry cleaning, breakfast or "ways to kill time"
  • Include the details for booking reserved accommodations: your hotel can provide the necessary details.
  •  If you want to avoid this enclosure all together, add the information to your wedding website. Guests who are not online should be contacted directly. 
  • To conserve space and make life easy on your guests - consider combining your Accommodations info with your Directions insert...either on the same sheet or double sided. 
Directions & Maps
  • Including Directions and a map in your invitation is optional - 
  • Regardless of how much you put in your invite - having the maximum amount of info possible on your wedding website can answer any and all questions your guests may have.  
  • Including photocopied maps takes away from the effort you have put into the perfect invitation. Consider hand drawing a small map, or asking an artistic friend for help. Check & double check your facts before having them printed.
  • For a fun map - use this website:

  • NUMBER YOUR RSVPS! It is very common for guests to forget to write their name on their RSVP's. Make sure you use an pencil or invisible marker to label the inserts...this way...when one comes back without a name you can identify the sender. 
  • Postcard vs. Envelope 
  • Postcard stamps are less expensive
  • Envelopes are more formal
  • Set your RSVP date according to your venue/caterer
  • Make sure to leave enough time to make phone call to guests who did not respond
  • Make sure you have enough time to create a seating chart - doing this is a rush is not ideal
  • A return address is optional on your RSVP, seeing as you know the address is correct (however - something could smug the writing in transit causing the RSVP not to arrive)

Addressing Your Wedding Invitations

  • Double check the names on your guest list before the envelopes are addressed, to be sure they are spelled correctly.
  • Invitations are always addressed to both members of a married couple.
  • An invitation to an unmarried couple residing at the same address should be addressed with both names on a single line.
  • No abbreviations or initials are used when addressing. 
  • If children are invited but are not receiving a separate invitation, their names may be written on a line below their parents’ names. 
  • The couple should also carefully consider where they want their RSVP’s sent.
  • Unless a response card is included, responses and gifts are likely to be sent to the return address on the outer envelope.

Thank You Notes

Send within 3 months of the receipt of the gift.
Bridal shower thank-you notes should be sent within two weeks of the event.

Start sending thank-you notes as soon as the gifts start arriving, even if it is before the wedding. This will help control the number which needs to be written after the wedding.

Consider setting a goal to write a certain number of thank-you cards per day.

In an effort to speed up response time, brides and grooms often order thank-you cards with their wedding invitations. This offers couples a cleaner, more cohesive look.

In the thank-you:
          Greet the guest
          Express gratitude for attending
          Let them know you were thinking of them if they did not attend
          Reference the gift specifically

Check and re-check ensuring you are matching guests with the correct gift. Guarantee accuracy - write the thank-you as you open each gift.

For monetary gifts - thank them for their generosity without mentioning a specific amount. Consider referencing what the gift will be put towards.

Always send bridal shower thank-you notes separate from wedding notes, even if they are to the same person.

It is not necessary to write a thank-you note to your vendors, however, all vendors appreciate acknowledgement for a job well done. Vendors truly value public testimonials – most would be thrilled to have you publicize your thoughts via their website or social media.

Do not hesitate to ask your new husband to pick up a pen & help!

It is never acceptable to send a pre-printed thank-you note - a handwritten, personal message, including a reference to their gift, is proper.  Photos are nice mementos, however, make arrangements with your photographer to get an image quickly in order to print & send out your thank-you’s within a reasonable time frame.

Regardless of whether or not a gift was given, anyone who attended your wedding should receive a thank-you note. Especially for those who traveled to attend, their presence should be considered your gift. You can never be too gracious!

RSVP Card: etiquette & text ideas

Make sure to include: 
  •           A space for your wedding guests to write in their name(s)
  •           A reply-by date
  •           Include meal choices, if necessary
  •           Line of guests to indicate whether or not they will be attending
  •           Fill in the blank for # attending 

Consider your style: a postcard with stamp, card with envelop & stamp or online RSVP. 

If tangible cards are used, mark the back of each card with an identifying number in case guests neglect to write in their names. Using this method, you will be able to figure out who the reply card is from. 

Pre-address & stamp tangible cards to make replying as easy as possible.

Include the necessary information if you are open to accepting responses via email or telephone. 

Do not include events that not everyone is invited to (for example - rehearsal dinner, celebratory breakfasts & planned outings.)

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Developing an Effective Program for Your Wedding

{{Scroll to the bottom for cut & paste-easy to edit-
"get all the right stuff in there" program text}}

The wedding program, ceremony bag, wedding memory book....whatever you want to call it....typically accomplishes two major goals:

1. Tells guests who is getting married & who the people standing at the front of the ceremony are.
Many couples find distant cousins, once removed aunts and so-and-so's new boyfriend as wedding guests. Not only does the couple not know their guest - the guest does not know them! By listing the couple's name, their parents and some key players, like the wedding party, you are giving all of your guests a fighting chance to "fit in". When they sit at dinner and strike up a conversation about how big Emily's (the Bride's sister) smile was as she gave the closing remarks - they feel included and knowledgeable. We have all been to a party where we did not know would not want your wedding guests to feel uncomfortable on your 
happy day. 
A second reason....heaven forbid an important name is forgotten (like the Mother of Bride's) - guests can quickly scan the program before greeting her after the ceremony. 

2. Helps walk guests through the ceremony. 
Your Uncle has to use the restroom....should he quietly get up and leave or wait until the end?
The microphone goes out half way through the ceremony - what is going on? Let's check the program!
....all great reasons (and I know there are more out there) to list your Order of Ceremony in a program. 

Ways to have a program:

- Piece of paper that is handed out- Printed on a bag, box, etc.
- Framed at the entrance of the ceremony- Written on a huge chalkboard at the entrance of the ceremony
- Projected on the wall of the ceremony location (preferably a side wall)- App on a cell phone
...the list goes on....

You wedding program:

  • reflects the individual tastes & creativity of the Bride & Groom
  • should be given to all teenagers & older – occasionally little ones will want to hold a program too
    • Make enough copies for your entire guest list - just in case some families take more then one 
    • Want one to go to each family in attendance? Assign the responsibility to a (special) guest to ensure all goes smoothly 
  • can be distributed by ushers, Mothers, Grandparents, children who would like to be involved, or placed in a basket at the entrance to the ceremony
  • may be saved by some as a keepsake of the event
  • should be proofread by multiple people before it is printed - double-check all your details. This is a great time to ask a bridesmaid or family member to lend a second set of eyes.

Consider including:

A wedding program (in some shape or form) often consists of four parts.
1) The Introduction (top or cover) - Details of the event, date & location
2) The Ceremony Order - including musical pieces, prayers, etc.3) The Wedding Party (consider including Bride & Groom’s parents & grandparents..see below for the full list)
4) The Finale (the place for a special note, favorite quote or other ceremony information)       

  • Parents of the Bride
  • Parents of the Groom
  • Grandparents of the Bride
  • Grandparents of the Groom
  • Maid of Honor
  • Matron of Honor
  • Bridesmaids
  • Junior Bridesmaid
  • Parents of the Bride
  • Parents of the Groom
  • Grandparents of the Bride
  • Grandparents of the Groom
  • Maid of Honor
  • Matron of Honor
  • Bridesmaids
  • Junior Bridesmaid
  • Honorary Bridesmaid
  • Flower Girl
  • Best Men
  • Groomsmen
  • Ring Bearer
  • Officiate
  • Pianist
  • Soloist
  • A Special Note from the couple - which often centers around "thank you for coming" or "this day means to us..."


  • Include a short sentence about each of your bridesmaids and groomsmen, describing why they are important to you.
  • Honor a deceased friend or member of the family. 
  • Consider adding pictures.
  • Incorporate the theme & color scheme of your wedding
  • Add information about reception - directions, time, etc. 
  • Consider makes personalized Wedding memory books for your guests
  • Have your program printed on a bag or box and including a treat (like popcorn) or something to throw after the ceremony like dried lavender, sprinkles, rice, a horn to blow, or bubbles
  • Print your program in the shape of a fan for a warm-weather, outdoor ceremony
  • Reminding guests to turn off their cell phones (another way to do this is have the officiant remind guests verbally)
  • Would you prefer guests not take photos during the is a good place to mention it!

cut & paste-delete what you don't want-&-
"get all the right stuff in there"
program text

 Names of the bride and groom
Day, date and time of the ceremony
Wedding venue, city, and state

Ceremony Order: 
Prelude (include name of song)
Seating (parents and grandparents)
Lighting of Candles
Processional (include name of song(s)
Reading (title & name of reader)
Songs (title &name of musician(s)
Officiates Message
Exchange of Vows & Rings
Lighting of Unity Candle
Pronouncement of Marriage
Recessional (include name of song)

{tell your guests what they are suppose to do next..stay seated? exit left? Etc.}

The Wedding Party :

For a formal wedding use full names rather than nicknames and titles such as Mr., Ms., and Miss. Consider adding a personal touch by noting who the person is: "Maid of Honor – Jenna Smith (sister of the bride)"

Parents of the Bride
Parents of the Groom
Grandparents of the Bride
Grandparents of the Groom
Maid of Honor
Matron of Honor
Junior Bridesmaid
Parents of the Bride
Parents of the Groom
Grandparents of the Bride
Grandparents of the Groom
Maid of Honor
Matron of Honor
Junior Bridesmaid
Honorary Bridesmaid
Flower Girl
Best Men
Ring Bearer
Other names/roles of wedding volunteers, such as guest book attendant

 A special not to anyone you may want to remember at your ceremony

Details of any traditions or rituals you will be performing during the ceremony 
(we all love to know what is going on!)

Expressions of thanks to your guests and those hosting the wedding

A poem or quote that speaks to you as a Couple

Reception Info: Directions/time, if it is held at a different location

Share your creative ideas below!