So, you're getting married! And probably getting an accelerated education in wedding planning and wedding lingo... 

Unless you are already a paper lover, you probably have just a vague idea about what an invitation suite is and what goes in it. Because, let's face it, at this point, you're probably totally absorbed with the search for the perfect dress. Or you've found it and now you've decided (maybe reluctantly) that it's time to get on to the business of what it's going to look like to invite your guests to the big day. 

While the invitation suite may seem like just another detail on the to-do list, we think it may be among the most important for establishing your wedding style and the mood of your celebration. It's a chance to impress your guests and get them all excited long before the big day actually rolls around!

So, here's a comprehensive guide to the invitation suite, what's a staple, what's optional, and how you can make it uniquely your own!

An invitation suite includes some standard pieces, but also allows for customization and creativity depending on the size, theme, style and formality and event schedule of your wedding. So whether you're a bride that loves tradition or one loves to take a traditional space and make it uniquely hers, there's a place to express it in the suite. 

Every invitation suite includes the invitation, a reply card, a reply card envelope and an outer envelope. 

The invitation announces your wedding to your friends and family! We'll talk more about wording and etiquette in a future post, but to state it simply, the invitation should set the tone for the celebration and give your guests all the details they need (date, time, location, dress code if you are having one, etc.). 

The reply card gives your guests a place to RSVP for the celebration or send their regrets. On a practical note, it tells them when they need to respond. If you are planning to have menu choices for your guests, they can make their selections on this card as well. 

The reply card envelope makes it simple for your guests to put their response in the mail. It should feature your address, your parents, or wherever you want the responses to be sent. The reply card envelope should also be stamped to make mailing extra convenient for your guests. All they have to do is add their address and pop it in the mailbox! If you have extra room in the budget, you can have your calligrapher add your guests' address on the flap for added convenience.

The outer envelope will be the one the suite is mailed in. Here, you don't want to skimp if you don't have to. Fancy it up with a custom envelope liner coordinating with the suite. Guests' names and addresses as well as the return address should be calligraphed or hand-lettered.  If you want to save a buck, consider asking your calligrapher to create a custom stamp of your return address. This will still give you a coordinated and sophisticated look for less. 

Now that we've covered the standard elements, let's hit the unique and optional add-ons!

Details Card: 
Have extra information like hotel accommodations or registry? Add an additional card to share these details with your guests. 

Map:
A customized hand-painted map of your wedding venue makes a beautiful and unforgettable momento - while serving the practical purpose of helping your guests navigate your venue on the big day. A map is especially helpful for larger venues or venues off-the-beaten-path. 

Rehearsal Dinner Invitation:
Want to more formally invite your wedding party and other significant guests to the rehearsal dinner? Have your invitation artist create an additional invitation for the rehearsal dinner. A smaller number can be printed and only included in the suites of those guests who you want to be there.

Wedding Weekend Guide:
Are you having multiple wedding weekend activities? A guide to the wedding weekend will help guests plan ahead to be part of all the festivities! Have just a few activities? Use a small flat card. For more activities or to include long descriptions or more intricate designs and sketches, consider a trifold or accordion-style piece.

Inner Envelope:
An inner envelope fits inside of the outer envelope and adds an extra layer of formality! Traditionally, the names or those invited (the addressee plus any children or additional guests) would be calligraphed on this envelope. 

Insert:
It is traditional to include a small sheet of tissue or vellum paper inside a suite. You can continue this tradition or add a fresh twist by using a highly textured, fibrous, patterned or fabric insert to coordinate with your suite. 

Art Piece:
Have your invitation artist create a separate piece of art inside each invitation that further develops artistic elements of the suite. It adds an additional"wow" factor - and your guests will have something to keep and frame! Cost-saving tip: Have this art printed on the flip-side of the invitation!

Envelope Extras:
Want to kick it up another notch? Consider wax sealing. Nothing is more regal than your new monogram or a significant symbol pressed into wax.

You can also get custom postage stamps to match your suite! 

As you can see, there are so many possibilities! Whether you are a budget-conscious bride wanting to keep it simple and traditional or plan to go all out and make it uniquely yours, there are options for you. Your invitation suite should reflect you and have your guests saying "wow"!  Contact us today to talk about creating an invitation suite perfect for you and your dream day!