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Your wedding invitations will be the most important item of wedding stationery, unless you’re having a small affair or not having guests at your wedding.
It’s advisable to send wedding invitations out approximately three months before your wedding day. This allows time for guests to reply and time to chase up any outstanding responses – especially if invitations or replies have got lost in the post.
Wedding invitations are traditionally sent by the wedding hosts and are worded to reflect this. In addition to the ‘invitation’, most invites also include a sheet of further information for guests. For examples of wedding invitation wording and more advice on what to include in your wedding invitations, take a look at our section on wedding invitation wording.
RSVP (response) cards are sometimes sent with wedding invitations to make it easier for guests to reply. As there is no guarantee that guests will respond promptly, you may decide to avoid this additional cost.
Types of wedding invitation
You’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to choosing your wedding invitations.
- Pre-printed invitations contain general wording with gaps for you to fill in the detail. You can buy these from card shops on the high street or retailers specialising in wedding stationery and favours.
- Professionally made or bespoke invitations are available from a huge range of wedding stationery providers such as the Designer Card Company. You can choose a pre-created design or specify what you want in terms of design and wording. There are so many styles to choose from – whether you want traditional white cards, handmade styles or modern and funky designs – there’ll be a design out there for you! All you’ll need to do is add your guest’s name by hand and post the invite.
- Handmade or DIY wedding invitations may take a bit of time, but will save you a lot of money and allow you to create exactly what you want. Take a look at our section on making your own wedding stationery or download one of our free printable wedding invitation templates.
Wedding invitation styles
There are lots of different styles of wedding invitation to choose from. The traditional and simplest style of wedding invite is a normal shaped card (A6 size). Alternatively, you might want something a little bit different, such as:
- french fold – card or paper is folded horizontally and then vertically to create a four part wedding invitation
- short fold – card or paper is folder slightly off centre to create a short front panel and a longer back panel
- gate fold – card is folded so that the ends meet in the middle. Card can be tied with ribbon to hold in place. Either horizontal or vertical layout.
- overlap gatefold – card is folded in such a way that one edge overlaps the other, can be horizontal or vertical.
- cheque book style – designed to look like a cheque book with a front and back cover. You can insert any number of pages for all your additional information and tie together with a piece of ribbon through two holes punched in the left hand side or by inserting brads.
- fan/swatch shaped – similar to the cheque book style but in vertical format and tied using just one hole punched through the top. Use narrow pieces of card, or create your own shapes.
- scroll – print your invitations onto A4 paper and roll into a scroll, tie with ribbon and post to your guests in a silver or gold postal tube. You can buy postal tubes for as little as £40 per 100 from Find me a gift, Wedding DIY, All Pack Direct or Defendapack. Whilst this seems a lot, the cost of printing onto A4 paper will be minimal.
- pocket fold – a folded invitation with a pocket to insert your cards or information sheet.
- wallets –wedding invitations can be inserted into a card wallet. Attach a piece of ribbon to the invite to allow easy removal from the wallet.
- petal fold/lily pad/butterfly wrap – petal shaped flaps folded like a lily pad can be opened up to display the invitation inside.
Alternative wedding invitation ideas
- Personalise your wedding invitations by printing a photo of yourselves onto a greeting card, postcard or photo paper to use as you wish.
- Set up your own wedding website for free. A number of sites allow you to create a site featuring all your wedding information so guests can view information about the venue, accommodation, guest list and even the order of the day!
- Have your invites printed onto postcards. Provide guests with the basic information and direct them to your personalised wedding website for further details.
- Image of a bride and groom, champagne glasses, rings etc.
- Check out Wedding invitation ideas – for a whole range of free downloadable designs.
- If you get your stationery printed by a bespoke wedding stationery provider, make sure you check the details on the proof – it would be disastrous if guests turned up on the wrong day or time!
- If you buy specially made invites, make sure you order them 1-2 months before you need to send them out (4-5 months before your wedding)
- Make sure you make or order some spare cards to allow for mistakes or last minute invitations should you have any spare spaces. 20-25 should be sufficient.
- Write a contingency list of people to call on the day to invite at short notice should you have any last minute cancellations due to illness. Take this list (including phone numbers) with you on the morning of the wedding – last minute illness is more common than you might think. Having paid for the food, it’s a shame if it goes to waste.