Wedding Invitations and Stationery: Common Q & A

Answered by Cathy Colbert of 1st Impressions Invitations

Congratulations brides and grooms! You are officially engaged and excited about spending the rest of your life with your future spouse! As you start your planning, you may find yourself completely overwhelmed by the number of things that need to be done and the multitude of ideas that are available to make your wedding special and memorable!

The first impression you make on your guests comes with the invitation or save the date prior to the wedding. That first announcement of your upcoming nuptials sets the tone of the wedding and can be the most useful piece of information you bestow upon your guests, containing not only the official invitation, but suggested accommodations, the weekend activities, maps, and more!

To help you along with the invitation process, allow me to answer a few of the most common wedding stationery questions I receive.

Commonly Asked Questions for Invitations:

1). How many invitations do I need?

Proper Etiquette suggests one invitation per family unit per address. So if you have an entire family you wish to invite and they all live together, you can send the household one invitation. However, if Grandma and Grandpa Smith also live there, you should send one to the grandparents and one to the family itself.

What about Single Friends who are roommates?
Same rule applies: one per invited guest or couple.

A good rule of thumb for number crunching is to take your total number of guests, divide by 2 and add 20 to 25. If you expect 200 guests, you will most likely need 120 -125 invitations. Most invited guests are part of couple or family group, so to be precise, go through your address list several times to ensure you have included everyone and add a few extra to cover any last minute additions and to ensure you have a copy for your own personal keepsake! But most importantly, make sure you order some extras as re-printing costs are much more expensive than ordering extras in the beginning!

2). How do I politely inform my guests that the number of attendees is limited?

Ideally, if a guest only sees their name listed on the address, they should assume they are the only invited individual and should refrain from bringing a guest, but alas, many people do not understand that concept, so with that in mind, I recommend a simple step: add the following text to your RSVP “Kindly refrain from adding or substituting guests as space is limited”. If you fear that is not direct enough, you can take it one step further and add the following “we are reserving ____ seat/s for you at our reception” and then add the appropriate number into the space for each of your guests. That way John Smith will know if he is allowed a guest by the number indicated in the space and Mr. and Mrs. Randall will know whether or not their children are invited.

3). We would prefer that no children attend: how do we politely let our guest know that “junior” is not invited?

I get asked this quite a bit. Weddings are expensive and often receptions are charged per head when it comes to food and beverage. Some locations offer children pricing, but when that isn’t the case, it can be difficult to justify paying for children who will not enjoy an adult meal. With that in mind, I completely understand wanting to keep the reception “Adult Only”. You have a few options:
1). Hire a babysitter and add an insert with the information regarding the location and details of the babysitting service. Note on the insert that it will be available for all families with children.
2). Make a note of your request on the RSVP by adding the following line to your response card: “Due to space limitations, we kindly request that no children attend the adult reception.”
3). You can also add the line of “we are reserving ____ seat/s for you at our reception” after the “Guest Name/s line” and only include enough seats for the parents.
4). Add “Adult Reception to Follow” to the bottom of the formal invitation.
5). Personally call any friends or relatives that have children and explain the situation to them and kindly ask that they leave their children at home.

4). We want to make the wedding distinctive and add some personal touches. What can we do with the invitation and other wedding stationery to customize them?

Your wedding stationery is an ideal time to personalize your wedding. Consider adding a poem or quote that means a great deal to you and your fiancé. For example, a recent couple wanted to include something about their Irish background into the invitations. We added an Irish knot that became their signature logo throughout the wedding, from the invites to the ceremony programs and place cards to the gobo light on the dance floor. We also added an Irish blessing as an insert to their invitation, blessing the journey their guests would take to attend. It was a sweet and genuine gesture and their guests loved it. Think of little things that make your relationship special and talk to your invitation designer about ways to include them as part of your invitation and wedding stationery: add a poem, a picture of the two of you, a thank you note, etc.

Congratulations again, on your engagement! Best wishes on all your wedding planning! Should you have other questions regarding your wedding stationery, do not hesitate to ask your invitation designer: more than likely, they have seen it all and will help you handle any sticky invitation situation you might have. Feel free to utilize Bridal Spectacular’s wedding service resources, on the web and at the upcoming bridal shows and check out my blog for other Q & A on invitations and other wedding stationery at!
Happy Planning!
Cathy Colbert, 1st Impressions Invitations