484.443.8821 lindsay@papernposh.com

You’ve got a wedding ahead of you! Congratulations! You are no doubt making endless decisions about flowers, seating arrangements, the wedding party, and so much more. At Paper & Posh, we advise couples to get an early jump on invitation design, which will help set the tone for the celebration as a whole through paper selection, color scheme, and the overall feel of the design. It’s vital that your invitations accurately reflect the vision that you have for your wedding and provide your guests with the information they need to enjoy it. Start with our handy guide below to ensure that you are up to speed on all the basics of wedding invitation design—and that you’re not overlooking an important timeline or design detail that could throw off the preparations you’ve been so carefully overseeing.

Wedding Invitation Timing

You need to get the invitations ordered about three to four months before the date of the wedding. This allows for proofing and changes, and for a calligrapher to address them by hand. The invitations need to be mailed no later than six weeks before the wedding, and ten weeks if any of the guests will be coming from abroad. If you send save-the-date cards first, you may relax these guidelines slightly.

Anatomy of an Invitation

First, there is more to your wedding invitations than just a card with the invitation on it. Here’s a breakdown of what goes in the typical wedding invitation:

  • Outer envelope
  • Unsealed inner envelope (This is a tradition dating back to when mail was hand delivered and more exposed to the elements, and its intention was to protect the invitation inside. Many environmentally conscious couples don’t use it)
  • Invitation
  • Reception card (used if the reception party is held at a different venue than the wedding ceremony)
  • Response card (must have a deadline for the reply to be received by and may also include menu options as a polite way of acknowledging the food preferences of guests)
  • Self-addressed, stamped envelope

Invitations may also include maps to the key locations or information about the suggested hotels in the area.

Modern Invitations

Brides today have so much freedom when it comes to invitations! Traditionally, invitations were printed on heavy 100% cotton stock in a color such as white or ecru with dark type. Today, however, you can choose from a diverse array of color schemes, papers, textures, typefaces, motifs, and graphics. Trends include the use of metallics with neutrals and grays, for example, or a striking combination of deep red and blue. Your invitations can be strictly formal and elegant, reflecting a quietly traditional wedding, or they can be colorful and fun, indicating a more casual, light-hearted approach. The choice is yours.

Wording for the Wedding Invitation

Here is an example of traditional formal wording for a wedding invitation:

Mr. and Mrs. John Smith
request the honour of your presence
at the marriage of their daughter
Mary Jane Jones
Mr. Matthew Johnson
Saturday, the fifteenth of August
two thousand eighteen
at half past five o’clock
First Presbyterian Church
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

There are many other ways of wording an invitation, and there can be dilemmas that arise based on the non-traditional family structures that are becoming more and more common. Remember that there is not a cut and dried formula for how an invitation must be worded, and your designer can help you navigate some of the tricky waters that involve divorced parents and such. The key thing is to include the information that the guests need to know. At a minimum, this includes the names of the bride and groom, the date and time of the wedding, and where it is going to be held.

Wedding Stationery

Don’t forget that invitations aren’t the only paper products you will be needing for your wedding. Here’s a quick checklist of other paper items that should be coordinated with your wedding invitations:

  • Wedding programs
  • Menu cards
  • Place cards
  • Thank-you cards

Ideally, these should be ordered when you order your wedding invitations. This usually saves money and helps to ensure consistency between your wedding invitations and the rest of your wedding stationery.


Speaking of consistency, nothing is worse than choosing kitschy invitations for an elegant wedding, or sending out extremely formal invitations that hint of a black-tie affair when it’s actually a casual beach wedding. The tone of the invitations should be consistent with the tone of the wedding. And wise brides will also make sure that the color scheme used in the invitations is the same color scheme used throughout the wedding. Finally, don’t send out more invitations than you are willing to write personalized thank you notes for. Remember that consistency is the key!

When in Doubt, Ask

Are you wondering how to set up your invitation to indicate that the bride’s grandmother is paying for the wedding? Or puzzled on how to list the parents of the groom when they are both divorced and remarried? Or maybe you are wondering if the red, white, and blue color scheme is a little too much like holiday colors? Perhaps you are curious about whether you should include your registry information with the invitation. Don’t guess – ask someone who knows. You don’t want a major faux pas when it comes to your wedding invitations. Remember that the invitation will form the first impression in your guests’ minds of the celebration to come—make it a good one.

Contact Paper & Posh

If it’s time for you to start designing the invitations for your dream wedding, contact Paper & Posh today to schedule an appointment. We offer such a wide selection of choices that your design possibilities are practically endless. Our wedding experts can help you with all of your wedding stationery needs, answering any questions you may have and matching the style and appearance of your wedding invitations to the vision that you have for your wedding. Get your wedding of to a great start with Paper & Posh!

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