Monday, May 3, 2010

Wedding Invitations 101

After meeting with Gayle O'Donnell, owner of All About Weddings & Celebrations last week at her shop, I couldn't help but ask her to share some of her knowledge with all of you. Gayle has been in the wedding industry for almost three decades and her expertise in the invitation and stationery industry is top notch. In this post Gayle answers some of the most common questions couples have when creating their invitations. I highly recommend not only reading her tips below but visiting her shop to get the full experience. Their new location in Tukwilla is the perfect spot to start your wedding invitation planning. In addition, it will give you a chance to take a peak at one of my favorite stationery lines, Spark!
In this world of “anything goes” it’s so easy for all of us to have a “whatever” attitude in our approach to how we go about even the big things in life. But I’m pleased to report that there are still a few areas where some long-held etiquette guidelines still apply, and one of them is wedding invitations. On a daily basis couples about to wed are seated with me at one of our invitation tables at All About Weddings & Celebrations, getting ready to order their invitations, and there are some definite areas where the same questions come up over and over again. I thought it would be helpful to share some answers to the most common questions with you so that as you plan for your own wedding invitations you’ll be one jump ahead and armed with information.

*The average spent in the Puget Sound area for 100 invitations and response card sets is $800. (This information is published by the “WE tv Networks Wedding Report”, an
independent wedding research company, so is not compiled by me, though I do find their statistic in this area to hold true to our experience at All About Weddings & Celebrations.) Are people spending less than that, or far more? Absolutely! This is only to be used as a guide if planning your wedding budget, with no accounting for your tastes and priorities about wedding invitations. * Five o’clock is considered afternoon when wording your invitations. Even though you will see examples in wedding invitation albums that say “five o’clock in the evening”, the correct way to do it from an etiquette standpoint is “in the afternoon” from any time of the day after noon and before six o’clock.

* If you want to use the first names of both of your parents drop the titles. Traditional is “Mr. and Mrs. Robert Smith”, if they are married. If you wish to forego tradition and be less formal, putting both of their names, you would say Meredith and Bob Smith. It is incorrect to say Mr. and Mrs. Robert and Meredith Smith. When you’re using the more casual first names version mom’s name always comes first. Just in case you’re wondering - this isn’t a matter of chivalry, but rather goes back to a very old tradition that says “a man’s first and last name are never to be separated”. If parents are divorced you would put mom’s first and last name first followed by dad’s first and last name. They may be placed in either the same line or on separate lines with an “and” or ampersand symbol between the lines if their relationship is less amicable. Couples often ask how to handle situations where there are multiple divorced parents, and one way to keep the family laundry more tidy is to just say the names of the bride and groom,
followed by “together with their parents” or “together with their families” to avoid laying out all the particulars. The order of parents’ names on the invitation has nothing to do with which parent contributed more financially to the wedding. * Tradition is to use British spelling of words such as honour and favour for wedding invitations. For a less formal invitation you are free to use honor and favor if you prefer.

*“Request the honour of your presence” is a phrase that, according to etiquette guidelines, is reserved for weddings occurring in a church. The traditional wording for a non-church wedding is “request the pleasure of your company”.

* If the time of your wedding is on the half hour the correct way to say it is “half after five o’clock”. Many say half past, but after is the more correct word to use. If the wedding is in the afternoon I typically drop the “in the afternoon” part at the end of a wedding time on the half hour so you’re not using multiple “afters” in the same line.
These are the highlights of the most commonly answered questions, but we’re more than happy to answer any and all of your wedding and celebration invitation questions when you come visit All About Weddings & Celebrations in person. We look forward to meeting with you and helping you make wedding invitation selection and ordering a pleasant and stress-free experience for you. If DIY (do-it-yourself) is the option you have chosen we have all the materials and know-how to help you with that endeavor too. Cheers!

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