ADDITIONAL CARDS AND INVITES
Now that the invitation cards and the response cards are complete, you should think about how you will share details of the big day with your guests. You may want to include inserts informing guests about the reception location, accommodation options or other details about the wedding weekend. You can include as many or as few inserts as you would like, though if you choose to keep your suite simple by avoiding extra inserts, make sure guests know where to find your wedding website [LINK] for more information.
The most common insert is one noting the location of the reception hall, and what guests can expect once there. Are you serving your guests a full meal, or will you be celebrating with cake and punch? Will there be champagne for toasting, or will guests need to bring money for a cash bar? Regardless of the options you choose, it is polite to let guests know in advance so they can plan accordingly.
It is common at weddings for the couple to arrange a catered meal if the wedding reception falls around lunch or dinner time. This meal could be served buffet-style, or wait staff can bring plated meals to the guests’ tables.
If a full meal is to be served during the course of the reception, the reception card could include a phrase like, “Dinner and dancing will follow the ceremony” or “Dinner reception will begin at 6 o’clock.” You do not need to specify what will be served or how it will be served.
On the other hand, some couples choose not to host a full meal. If your wedding will take place between meal times, or if your reception will feature lighter portions, there are several ways you could describe the celebration:
“Please join us for hors d’oeuvres and dessert following the ceremony.”
“Light refreshments will be served.”
“The reception will begin at 1 o’clock with a light luncheon.”
“A strolling reception will immediately follow the ceremony.”
If you will only be serving dessert, you can describe it as a “dessert reception” or a “cake and punch reception.”
Letting guests know what type of meal can be expected is helpful to both them and you; guests will know if they should have a snack or small meal before the wedding to tide them over, and you won’t have to worry about guests leaving your reception early because they’re hungry.
If you are supplying an open bar, or do not wish to indicate whether or not alcohol will be present at the celebration, there is no need to indicate it on the reception card. However, if you are having a cash bar, it is polite to let guests know in advance so they can be prepared to purchase their own beverages, as many people no longer carry cash. If you feel uncomfortable putting information about the beverage situation in the invitation suite, you can indicate it on your wedding website.
The easiest and most polite way to indicate a cash bar is to say:
“Cash bar available”
- or -
“A selection of drinks will be available for purchase.”
The latter does not imply that a full bar will be available, only that guests may purchase beverages if they desire.
A “cocktail reception” indicates that cocktails will be served, either during the course of the reception or during the cocktail hour, which takes place between the end of the ceremony and the time the wedded couple arrives at the reception venue.
You can also indicate that a “champagne toast” will occur, if champagne will be available to guests. You can have your venue’s wait staff pour the bubbly, or you can place a bottle on each table for guests to serve themselves.
There are not simple ways to describe that you will be serving only beer and wine, or that the wedding will be alcohol-free. If your wedding does not include cocktails or champagne, simply leave the information off the card. It is not vital that guests know in advance whether or not alcohol will be provided.
Regardless of the availability of alcohol, you should provide options such as water, lemonade, iced tea or coffee, for guests who do not wish to partake. Guests should never be charged for these options.
While you’re providing guests with information about the wedding, you should consider letting them know about other events that will take place during the wedding weekend, such as the rehearsal dinner or bridal brunch, usually the morning after the reception.
There are a couple of ways you can handle the invitations to the rehearsal dinner or day-after festivities. The first option is to send the event invitation separate from the suite. It can be sent either at the same time as your invitation suite or any time in the weeks after the main suite has been sent. Keep in mind that out of town guests may need to ensure travel arrangements cover events before and after the wedding day itself, and send the invitation early enough for them to do so.
The second option is to include the dinner invite in the same envelope with the rest of the suite, treating it as an insert similar to the reception card or response card. Either of these options is appropriate. If not all guests are invited to the extra events, ensure that the invitations go into the correct envelopes.
Brunch and rehearsal dinner invitations should complement, but not be identical to, the wedding invitation.
If you are including information in the invitation suite about reserved hotel rooms for traveling guests, this information should receive its own card.
Typically, if a bride chooses to work with a hotel to block off a section of rooms, she provides the hotel’s information to guests, including the name of the hotel, the phone number where reservations can be made, the per-room price she has negotiated with the hotel, and when reservations need to be made in order to get the discounted rate.
If you do not wish to have a separate enclosure, you can also put accommodation information on the wedding website and direct guests to it.
While it is not necessary to provide a map in the invitation suite, it has become popular in recent years for brides to include a custom map of the area in their invitation suites, especially if many guests are from out of town or will need to drive from the ceremony location to the reception venue. These can be as simple as line maps with the street names and markers to indicate where each venue is situated, or as complex as colorful, elegant works of art that include locations that are special to the couple. If you wish to include a map, the design should complement the invitations.
THE ORDER OF THE INVITATIONS
You have your invitations, envelopes and all the enclosures you will include; now it’s time to assemble the invitations so they can be sent on their merry way. This process is actually much simpler than it seems. Place the invitation card face-up, then place each enclosure card on top of it in order from largest to smallest, so the smallest enclosure will rest on top of everything else. The response card, wherever it lies in the suite, should rest under the flap of its own envelope, with the text facing outward. (This order is correct whether the couple chooses to use double envelopes, a belly band, a pocketfold or any other method of keeping the invitation suite together.)
Once you’ve got the pieces in place, you will slide the entire suite into the inner envelope. (If you are not using double envelopes, insert the suite into the main envelope.) The envelope flap should be on the left.
Next, the inner envelope will fit into the outer envelope. Turn the inner envelope over so the guests’ names are on top, and then slide it into the outer envelope, with the text facing the back flap.
Seal the outer envelope, and your suite is ready to send!