Wedding Invitations

Wedding Invitation Basics

So you have your wedding date set, you have picked your location, and already whittled down the list of people to invite, the next step is to obviously invite them. But where do you start?

First thing is to go through this checklist and start putting some ideas and dates together. Keep this handy so you know when to do what. Further down we will get down to the actual costs and styles of invitations.


Wedding Invitation Wording

The basics of what need to be put on the invitation are obviously the date, place and who, but really, it can tell so much more. You start with what the essentials are, making sure to add the RSVP information and maybe even a little blurb that speaks to you as a couple.

You could also add a favorite quote that says something about you and your fiance, or even a witty blurb that the people who truly know you would understand. This helps personalize it so you aren’t just giving something that is just like everyone else has done.

A great way to up your game with the invitation is to not just use wording either. Add a great photo of the two of you, or use icon graphics for the food selections. Get creative with it if that fits your theme by adding logos, filigrees or images.

Host Information: Who is hosting the wedding? Typically list the parents’ names, but it could vary depending on your situation.

Groom’s ParentsMr. and Mrs. John Smith
Bride’s ParentsMr. and Mrs. Sam Jones
Both ParentsMr. and Mrs. John Smith and Mr. and Mrs. Sam Jones
Couple (no parents)Ms. Ann Jones and Mr. Ryan Smith
Everyone involvedMs. Ann Jones and Mr. Ryan Smith, together with their parents Mr. and Mrs. John Smith and Mr. and Mrs. Sam Jones

Request: You would like to put out a “request” their presence as opposed to inviting them, as this is more direct and feels more personal. “request the honour of your presence at the marriage of ____”
Who: Who is getting married, start with the bride first “Ms. Ann Jones and Mr. Ryan Smith”
When: Spell everything out for a formal invitation. “Saturday the twelfth of June at five o’clock in the evening”
Where: Here you name of the place as well as city and state of where the ceremony will take place. If it a common and known location, you can forgo the address, but if it is vague, you would include it here. “Grand Hotel, Los Angeles, California”

Unique Wedding Invitation Wording

Unique Wedding

Unique Wedding

The above is based on traditional and formal wedding invitations. If you are looking to do something a little different, you can get unique and add more flavor, something that speaks to you as a couple.

Let’s face it, some of the traditional rules can get stuffy and seem too formal, so why not try adding some unique wording that is more in line with who you are as a couple?

  • Geeks or nerds? Why not add something from your shared joy of genre. Add in some comic book character quotes, or something from Battlestar Galactica.
  • Into the 80’s? Word it like a totally rad dude and dudette.
  • Movie Buffs? Add your favorite quote from Casablanca or the Notebook

The more personal the invitation, the more unique and special it will be. Remember, the wedding is meant to celebrate who you are as a couple and invite will set the stage for what it will be like.

Heart Balloons

A couple of neat ideas I have seen before is to use no words at all, but just a picture of the two of you, a date and place. Anybody who knows you as a couple will get it and understand what it is all about.

Another option is to do something fun like the “wanted poster” or something creative like screen printing on a balloon. You could theme it so the wording is a quote from your favorite cult movie and put it in the form of a movie poster.

“True love is the greatest thing in the world, except for a nice MLT – mutton, lettuce, and tomato sandwich, where the mutton is nice and lean and the tomato is ripe.”

Wedding Reception Invitations

Wedding Reception

Wedding Reception

Wording for the reception invitation may differ from the rest of the wedding invitation if it is in a different location or even time. You could be foregoing the ceremony, or having a destination ceremony with the reception back at home.

It is customary to invite guests to the ceremony and reception and not one or the other, but if the ceremony will be separate, make sure you are clear about that on the invitation. Also, don’t invite somebody to the ceremony and not the reception, but it is ok to be the other way around.

The information that goes on the reception card is typically just the basic information, but should state that it is different from the ceremony. For example:

The Celebration will continue following the ceremony at ___location and address____

Everything else

Besides the invitation, you will also need to include many other items within the outer envelope. You will need to include directions, registry information, response card with guest count/meal choice and an addressed and stamped inner envelope.

For the directions, don’t just print out a mapquest paper and include it. Take some time and think it out. If you have a graphic designer friend, ask them to help you out, or you could put a QR code with a link to the Google Maps page so they can print their own.

Registry information can just be a simple card with the information, but make sure it fits in with the theme and put some logos on it to personalize it. Make sure you include registry information with options for guests of all types, from the wealthiest to the least wealthy. Or, include a link where you would like them to donate to your favorite charity in lieu of gifts.

Wedding Cake

The response card should be of a material that can easily be written upon so your guests can fill in how many guests will be attending and any dietary choices they have. Minor point, but ensure it fits within the inner stamped/addressed envelope.

It goes without saying, but all of these items should match the style and theme of the invitations. There will be a lot of things to stuff into the envelopes, so make sure you got all of them by using the checklist above.

You can use a belly band to hold everything together or use the methods below.

Pocket Wedding Invitations

Pocket Wedding Invitation

Pocket Wedding Invitation by: Kindly RSVP Designs

With everything that goes into the outer envelope, you might want an elegant way to organize all of it and not make it feel like it was just thrown together. This is where pocket wedding invitations come in.

By using a pocket envelope you can put everything you need in the pocket, with the main intention of the mail, the invite, as the major focus. Instead of using a “belly band” to hold everything together, everything has its place, and is a much more organized set.

You can get customized pockets with different themes, color or even liners, with varying numbers of pockets for all of the additional cards.

Seal and Send Wedding Invitations

Seal and Send Wedding Invitations

Seal and Send Wedding Invitation by: live. breathe. design.

Send and seal wedding invitations are the answer to all of the loose pieces of paper that need to go into the mail. They are faster and easier to send and are generally less work for the already busy couple.

These invitations are an all-in-one self-mailer that has all of the information on one card. This will include the event times and locations, maps, registry information and a tear-off response card with postage information.

This all-in-one removes the need for additional envelopes and stamping and the fumbling of making sure you have included everything. They can be folded up into the size of a postcard and send in the mail directly.


The reason these are so popular is the time it saves and the peace of mind it brings. You no longer have to organize, fill and send each invitation and you don’t need to worry about making sure everything is included.

You can get a custom seal to give it a nice formal feel, and each one is custom made for you ahead of time. These invitations can be customized with photos, different styles and graphics, but make sure you plan early on these as it will take some time to get them printed.

Costs of Wedding Invitations

Cost of Wedding Invitations

Cost of Wedding Invitations

According to the Bridal Association of America, the 2006 average cost of wedding invitations was $659, but of course, that depends on the style and number of invitations you will have.

With everything that you will be spending money on in your wedding, you don’t what to go crazy on the invitations, but remember, this is the first impression to your guests on what your wedding will be like, so don’t be too cheap.

There are options to get inexpensive wedding invitations without sacrificing quality though. Of course, the most affordable wedding invitations are ones that you do yourself. DIY wedding invitations are cheap, but they sure aren’t easy. If you are willing to put in the time, you can definitely save some money.

Wedding Champagne

There are options you can pick to save some money on your package if you are on a budget. You can get inexpensive wedding invitations by using a lighter paper weight, not using embossing or even foregoing the liner in the envelope.

Typical options:

  • Envelope Liners
  • Style of Envelopment
  • Belly Bands
  • Ribbons
  • Engraving
  • Thermography
  • Letterpress
  • Embossing
  • Stamping

Where you get the envelopes will change the costs as well. You can find online stores that sell a full package, but you should also try asking around to friends if they know any graphic designers. Try finding somebody in school for graphic design or somebody just starting out, as they may be more willing to work with you.


Wedding Invitation Styles

Now that you know what needs to go into the wedding invitation, it’s time to get to the fun stuff, the styles of invitations. Every wedding has a particular style and your invitation should reflect what your guests should come to expect. Here are some of the more common themes that your invitation could follow.

Traditional Wedding Invitations

Traditional Wedding Invitations

Traditional Wedding Invitations by: Kindly RSVP Designs

Traditional invitations should reflect the sanctity and reverence in the ceremony and should be able to fit into any style of wedding. They should be fancy, but not over the top.

Formal wedding invitations should be simple and basic, but that doesn’t mean they have to be boring. Don’t overdo the design of the invitation card itself, but put the extra time into the entire package.

Add a ribbon belly band, get a nice striped liner and make sure the font is a handwritten style. You can add embossing and even some gold leaf to give a simple but effective design.

The borders can give it some punch and something as simple as a single line of accent color can give a bit more depth. Put time into how the whole thing is put together and you will have a simple yet beautiful invitation.

Colors for traditional wedding invitations should be simple and understated, with one or two punches of color.

Sample Color Palette:


Beach Wedding Invitations

Beach Wedding Invitation

Beach Wedding Invitation

If you are getting married on a beach, or in a tropical destination, the design of the invitation should reflect that. You wouldn’t want a traditional invitation that makes it feel like the ceremony will take place inside a building or church.

There are many different ideas you can have here, but you have to be careful that you don’t go too campy. You could easily go overboard with the beach scene on the invitation, but you need to remember that it is still a wedding and should have some elegance.

Start with a very elegant design and add in some touches of beach to it. Maybe it can be a screened seashell on the corner, or use a thin rope for the belly band. Keep it simple and don’t throw the beach theme everywhere.

Colors for this type of theme should give a tropical feel and range from turquoises, beiges, and coral colors. You could start with a beige base, add some brown and turquoise accents and you will have an elegant invitation that still gives it a beach feel.

Sample Color Palette:


Winter Wedding Invitations

Winter Wedding Invitations

Winter Wedding Invitations by: The Polite Fox

For ceremonies that will take place in the winter, it can be a little harder to find standard off the shelf designs that still fit specifically to that theme, but they are out there.

You could still use a traditional, formal theme as it could still fit with your wedding theme regardless of the time of year, but it is better to fit it into the overall theme of the wedding.

Elegance is still the key here, and you should try to stray away from the cartoon snowmen and sleds. Be careful to not make it feel like a holiday card. Keep it simple and just add touches of the theme here.

Try adding a frame of whispy snowflakes or a winter tree accent along the edge. A simple tree with some strung lights and snowflakes is very basic, but powerfully fits into the wedding style.

Colors should combine well with the white of the trees or snow and should be cool. Look for colors like slates, grays and beiges.

Sample Color Palette:


Western Wedding Invitations

Western Wedding Invitation

Western Wedding Invitation

If you are going for a western themed wedding, you can have all kinds of fun with the invite. This doesn’t have the feel of a more formal wedding so you can do away with all the formality and just have fun with it.

Play with some fonts that give it a more “wanted poster” look, and add some textures to the card beyond the papyrus feel. Give it a rugged feel with a barn wood background or a faded poster feel.

You can add little accents that are very decorative and give it a hand-drawn feel. You can go with the cowboy boots, tin stars and horseshoes, but try to keep it to a minimum to not feel too cheesy.

Add a rope belly band and emboss the text so you get a rough and rugged feel to the whole package, while still making it feel special and elegant.

Colors should be natural and a good fit with the period by using browns and faded-ink blacks. If you want to add some color, try adding a touch of turquoise to give it a modern cowboy feel.

Sample Color Palette:


Disney Wedding Invitations

Disney Wedding Invitations

Disney Wedding Invitations by: Jody Worthington

Disney themed weddings are a great way to add the princess feel to the ceremony and keep it feeling extremely elegant. You can go more traditional here and it would fit well within the theme.

Think of royal carriages and nature when adding accents to the invitation. It should have an art noveau feel and be very fancy looking.

These invitations can be very similar to traditional ones, but with an added touch of fairytale and magic to fit in with the storybook feel of the ceremony itself.

Belly bands and accents should be of ribbon and filigree. Lace, whispy lines all fit in well with giving the wedding the feel of being in a castle or even Club 33.

If you are going for Disney, but not the fairytale aspect, you can have fun with the invitations as well by adding the mickey logos and even design your save the date cards to look like Disney passports. If you really want to do something unique, make the invitations look like the original Disney ticket books.

Colors for the Disney fairytale wedding invitations should be similar to the traditional or winter weddings with good use of pastels and blues.

Sample Color Palette:


Heart Wedding Invitations

Heart Wedding Invitations

Wedding Invitations by: Ivy Ellen

Wedding invitations should express the love that the two of you have for each other and what better way to express that than with a heart? Heart wedding invitations remind the guests why they are going to be there, to celebrate love.

Be careful with the design however as you don’t want to overdo it. You don’t want your wedding invitation to feel like a Valentine ’s Day card. It should feel more special and elegant than something you would give with a box of chocolates.

Keep it simple with a single or two hearts crossed and try to stay away from the bright reds. Cut the pockets or response cards to represent a heart shape, or even more fun, cross your fingerprints to make a heart shape.

Belly band ribbons can be clasped together with a heart shape, or tie it together with a ribbon in a bow, which fits well with the shape and style of the heart theme.

Colors should be simple and along the pastel lines with pinks, beiges and light reds.

Sample Color Palette:


Couture Wedding Invitations

Couture Wedding Invitations

Wedding Invitations by: Carciofi Design

If you are having a fancy ceremony, having a luxury wedding invitation is a must. It should have all the elements that make it feel like something you expect to get from the most luxurious of weddings.

When coming up with the design, think of New York and Paris, imagine 5-star hotels and L’Wren Scott. Pump up the glam and style on the invitation, it can’t be overdone.

Handmade or finely cut details add to the elegance of the package and let the guests know that you have put a lot of time into this. Calligraphy, embossing and cutouts all give it that extra feel of style that you are looking for.

You want to stay in the style of opulence with gold leaf, silk ribbons or custom cut packaging. There should definitely be a liner in the envelope and getting everything letterpressed is a good idea.

Colors for these wedding invitations should give the feel of wealth and luxury with rich, deep colors like navy and gold.

Sample Color Palette: