Invitation Etiquette: Selecting Your Invitation

First Installment of Invitation Etiquette

When I announced this post series, I addressed the fact that this will be a multiple post series. So the only way I really know to do this it to jump head in first with selecting the invitation you plan to send out.

Now online invitation websites such as evite have given us the ability to pick actual invitation images that the recipients will receive in their email once it has been sent out and they can RSVP via these as well. You would think selecting an invitation on these types of websites should not be hard as you can go through by category to choose. In my opinion, that is wrong. To me, whether the invitation is physical or sent online, an invitation needs to do the following:

  1. Match the theme of your event. Whether it is a simple a funtion that you are inviting Alumni to or it is your grandmother’s fiftieth wedding anniversary, you need to make sure that the invitation you are choosing follows the theme. And do not pick it just because “it’s pretty.” Trust me no one is going to remember the invitation unless they scrapbook it. Nine out of ten times it is going to end up in the garbage after the event is over and it is no longer needed.
  2. The background of the invitation should not detract from the writing on the invitation. Sure calligraphy looks amazing… But when you have a crazy busy background on an invitation, no one is going to be looking at what you wrote until they get over the busy background. My suggestion is to do a border if you want a background that is busy. It is super simple and gives you what you want with the background, but there will be centralized spot for the text so that no one misses the important things.
  3. Have different types and sizes of fonts. I cannot tell you how many wedding invitations I have seen posted online or designed where they use the same font all the way through. I mean they utilize the different sizes but using the same or similar fonts can cause it to look… Blah? I really cannot think of a word to describe it. Mixing things up and draw people in and make them remember times, dates, and places. There are websites and pinterest suggestions on how to pair fonts, so if you are ever stumped, then I highly suggest checking them out. I still do it on occasion.
  4. Have a Short Working Title (SWT) that grabs the attention. Having a SWT makes it easier for people to talk about it leading up to and after the event. Do not get me wrong, long titles can be elegant but who really wants to rattle a long title off. And the short acronyms they come up with for them get just as annoying as a long title than the title itself.

To me, in the years that I have been refining my invitation etiquette and how I want mine to typically look, these are the guidelines I follow. I have no idea how many times I have been complimented many times on my simple invitations in the past for parties, just because I utilized this short list. There are more things that I could focus on, but these are definitely the four that have always stood out to me.

If the invite is going out physically, it has another step added at the beginning which is simply choosing your paper and envelopes. If the invitation does not matter, I would never suggest going for a high grade paper. Now if it is for a wedding or black tie, definitely go all out. Those invitations are the only two that I can think of people would save just so they remember anniversaries or when the event might take place the next year. But obviously you want some type of paper that you can easily:

  1. Block out an area that has all the information in it. By this, I mean you want a paper that is slightly busy in the background but can easily have some type of colored block printed over it or you can cut paper down and easily attach it to create a simplified background for the information for the event.
  2. Easily able to fold. You have no idea how many times I have seen horribly folded invitations just because someone either picked a paper that they did not know how to work with it or they just bought it because of the words “it’s pretty.” If you are not sure what type of paper you want and have no clue how well it is going to fold, I highly suggest buying a small pack of whatever paper you are considering and experiment before you make your decision.

Invitations may seem simple, but it truly is only a simple process if you get those pre-made ones at the store. Most likely you will be complaining about them during the whole process about how you wish it had this or that. It is a lot of hassle to design your own invitations, but the end result it going to be what you want and exactly how you wanted it.

The next installment of Invitation Etiquette will involve how to label your envelopes for both the sender and the receiver.


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