I’m sorry I haven’t been writing — it seems like I can never get a down minute for myself these days. I like blogging, but I like sleeping too. Sometimes I have to choose one or the other. We’ve got another large wedding group on the island this weekend for Bethany and Tim’s destination wedding weekend. It seems like it’s going to be a fun group — they’re all so happy to be out of the cold and in the Caribbean. But I want to pop off a quick blog today about an important topic I get asked about all the time — wedding invitations!
The traditional rules about when you send a wedding invitation and ask for an RSVP do not apply for a destination wedding. Down here, the sooner you know how many folks you’re dealing with, the better off you are. There are also a few other things you can do to make your life a little bit easier. Obviously, it’s time for one of my famous Top Ten lists.
1. Wedding invitations can be mailed anytime within a year of your wedding. The six-month-out mark is a good one to use if you’re planning your wedding well in advance. If you’ve got less lead time, that’s okay. Just get the invitations out soon after you mail your travel information packet.
2. Don’t try to put too much information on the wedding invitation. Just use the basics and know that all the other stuff is in the travel info packet. Trying to include the details of all your events makes for very crowded (and expensive) invitations.
3. Use your RSVP card to get as much information as possible from your guests. You’ll have your standard “accepts with pleasure” or “declines with regret” lines (or similar wording), but then you should also add two more lines for “where are you staying?” and “when are you arriving?” This is going to save you a LOT of time when you’re putting together your welcome bag delivery list shortly before your wedding weekend.
4. Don’t lock yourself into details you’re unsure about. It’s okay to say “sunset” for the time of the wedding and it’s okay to say “on the beach” and not tell them which beach. When they arrive on the island, they’re going to get a welcome packet with the specific details and directions.
5. Don’t worry about matching your wedding invitation to your decor and theme if you haven’t already chosen those things. Nobody, except you and your mom, will ever know if your invitation matched your wedding theme. Despite the time and attention you put into those little details, nobody will notice.
6. Remember to put stamps on the envelopes for your RSVP cards. If you forget, it’s just plain embarrassing.
7. Always hand-address wedding invitations. You can hire a calligrapher (or draft your mom if she’s talented), but nice cursive handwriting is just fine as long as it’s neat and legible. Never put pre-printed stickers on wedding invitations. You can use those to save you time on your travel info packets and newsletters. Be sure to address the envelopes properly — if the guest is a judge, you address it to “The Honorable Joseph Jones” and if it’s a member of clergy it goes to “The Reverend Susan Black.” You can find all the correct etiquette about properly addressing envelopes online or in the Elizabeth Post book. Remember, these are good things to know for life, not just your wedding.
8. Always order extras. Five extra invitations and 10-15 extra envelopes is the general rule. You will need one for your scrapbook and possibly a couple for last-minute, add-on guests. You will make mistakes addressing the envelopes and need replacements.
9. Buy wedding stamps for your envelopes because they look prettier than regular. The post office always has floral bouquet or love-themed stamps available. Take your time and look at what they have to offer. Get the same stamps for the invitation and RSVP envelopes if the postage is the same.
10. Make sure you know EXACTLY how much postage your invitation requires. Put one together completely and take it to the post office to be weighed. You might need the more expensive stamps, especially if your invite is square or another unusual shape. Nothing is more embarrassing than hearing that your guests had to go to the Post Office to pay postage due on your wedding invitation!
Until next time, happy wedding planning from Weddings in Vieques and Weddings in Culebra. Have you started planning your Caribbean destination wedding yet?