What Your Wedding Invitation Suite Should Include

Save the date in sand
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For years, preparing your wedding invitation suite was as simple as stuffing envelopes with your chosen invitation. One envelope, one piece of paper, and you could move on to the rest of your wedding checklist.

Now that weddings have blossomed into increasingly elaborate, extravagant affairs, guests need much more information than that single invitation of yesteryear. You can coordinate the stationery for your wedding events to create an informative but beautiful way to share details with your guests.

Essential Wedding Suite Components (or, the pieces you must have -- no discussions)

  • The save-the-date. A newer addition to the list of must-have wedding items, the save-the-date is sent out six to eight months ahead of the event, and gives your guests a preview of the wedding. The save-the-date can match your wedding invitations, if you've already chosen them, or can coordinate with them. Save-the-dates are usually simple affairs with only the bride and groom's names, the location (which can be as broad as the city and state) and the date of the wedding. Some couples choose to share their wedding website address as well.
  • The actual wedding invitation. This piece is indispensable, the main cog around which all of the other pieces turn. Make sure to include the bride and groom's names, the date, time, and location at minimum.
  • The RSVP card. In the past, no one had RSVP cards; instead, guests would send in handwritten letters to the bride's parents indicating their absence or attendance. In an effort to make responding easier (and to gather a more accurate headcount for seating arrangements and catering), RSVP cards became a popular inclusion to the wedding invitation.
  • The RSVP envelope (if needed). Some brides choose a postcard style RSVP, which would render an envelope useless. However, whether you choose a postcard or a card/envelope combo, don't forget to include postage to make your guests' job of returning it as easy as possible.
  • The reception card. The reception information should be on a separate card, and list the starting time of the reception, the address of the venue, and the ending time (if appropriate).

    Optional Items to Include with the Wedding Invites (or, what you could do without, but you probably shouldn't)

    • A directions card. If most of your guests are from out-of-town, consider a directions card, which will guide them from the ceremony venue to the reception site. This card is also indispensable for locals if either site is in a difficult to find area of town.
    • A hotel information card. For guests who are traveling, it is often helpful for them to know which hotels you recommend. If you've booked a block of rooms for your guests at a local hotel, be sure to include the hotel code on this card so the guests can get the reduced rate.

    Other Related Stationery Items to Consider (or, important wedding-centered stationery that you'll need)

    • Rehearsal dinner invitations. As a rule of thumb, you should send invitations to everyone in your bridal party, immediate family, and any out-of-town guests. Always send these invitations separately from the wedding invitations.
    • Bridal luncheon invitations. If your wedding will not take place until later in the day, many brides choose to host a luncheon for their bridal party and close female relatives. These invitations are usually fun and reflect the bride's personality, which is perfect for a low-key luncheon or tea. These should also be sent separately from the wedding invitations.
    • Bridal shower invitations. Another important aspect to the wedding invitation, bridal shower invites are not to be forgotten! While this event usually takes place several weeks before the actual wedding, many brides help choose shower invitations that coordinate with the rest of their invitation suite.