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Pre-wedding Tasks - Invitations

- Invitation Wording
- Addressing Invitations
- Invitation Terminology

- Back to the Planning Guide

Invitation Wording

The whole wedding planning is hard enough without having to think of all the different ways you could word your invitations. Here are a couple of the most common ways to word the invitation.

Bride's Parents Hosting:
Mr. and Mrs. Peter J. Brown
are pleased to announce the marriage
of their daughter
Melissa Jane
Thomas Brian Smith
son of
Mr. and Mrs. Michael G. Smith

Both Parents Hosting:
Mr. and Mrs. Peter J. Brown &
Mr. and Mrs. Michael G. Smith
are pleased to announce the marriage
of their children
Melissa Jane Brown
Thomas Brian Smith

Couple Hosting:
Miss Melissa Jane Brown
daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Peter J. Brown
Thomas Brian Smith
son of Mr. and Mrs. Michael G. Smith
are pleased to announce their marriage

All of these examples would then be followed with something similar to this:

On Friday, the 21st day of June, 2006
At six o'clock in the evening
At the Royal Inn Restaurant
Springfield, California

Reception to follow

Remember, you should decide yourself what form you prefer the most- it might just be a mix of two of these examples. Don't worry too much about the wording- all people really need to know is that you are in love and you're getting married.

Here are some variations of "are pleased to announce the marriage":
"Request the honor of your presence at the marriage"
"Request the pleasure of your company at the marriage"
"Invite you to celebrate the marriage"
"Invite you to share in the happiness of the marriage"

There are many different ways to word your invitations. Just make sure that you don't get caught up in the wording and miss the date for sending the invitations out. It's more important to get them out to your guests in time than to have the perfect wording.

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Addressing Your Invitations

First of all, how are you going to write all those addresses? If you are like most couples, you'll have hundreds of invitations to address. Here are your options along with pros and cons:

Pros: You will get a beautiful, formal look that everyone will compliment.
Cons: Calligraphers can be very expensive, and sometimes hard to find.

Write them yourself:
Pros: You can get it done at your own pace- plus, you can have friends and family help out.
Cons: Not everyone who is willing to help has beautiful handwriting, or even legible handwriting at that.

Print them:
Pros: You will get it done fast, with a uniform font that can match your invitations.
Cons: You'll need a good quality printer, or get it done some place professionally to have it look nice.

DO NOT, whatever you do, print labels and stick them on. Not only does it look cheap, but it is much too impersonal as well. Also, it is near impossible to get each label exactly straight, which means needing a lot of extra envelops for mistakes, or a lot of crooked addresses.

Of course, it wouldn't be a wedding task if there wasn't something traditional you had to do. In the case of invitations, you must spell everything out- no abbreviations. The only abbreviation allowed is for titles (Mr., Mrs., etc.). Here's how to do it:

Married Couple:
Mr. and Mrs. Gregory Miller
345 Greentree Drive
Plainfield, Vermont 12345

Couple with Different Last Names:
Mrs. (Ms.) Nicole Hansen and Mr. Frank Roberts
65 Riverbank Avenue
Lewiston, Illinois 23456

Couple with Children:
Mr. and Mrs. Richard Potter
and family
974 Redwood Court
Smithville, Nevada 34567

The inner envelope can be addressed much less formally:

Married Couple:
Suzanne and Gregory Miller

Couple with Different Last Names:
Nicole Hansen and Frank Roberts

Couple with Children:
Janet, Richard, Paula, and Nathan Potter

Whatever you choose to do, make sure you give yourself enough time to address the invitations before your deadline to send them out.

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Invitation Terminology

Blind-embossing A printing process that uses a die (see below) to make colorless letters and images with a raised surface.

Calligraphy The perfected art of handwriting/penmanship, often related with fancy, curlicue script.

Cotton fiber A type of paper made from 100 percent cotton- possibly the most traditional and elegant option for wedding invitations.

Deckle edge The irregular, "torn" edge of handmade paper.

Die An etched metal plate used to create engraved or embossed images and type.

Die-cutting The process of cutting various paper shapes, particularly with envelopes.

Embossing A printing technique that forms letters and images with a raised surface, conveying added dimension to the invitation design. Usually used for large initials or borders.

Engraving The most formal printing method, through which the letters appear slightly raised. An indentation usually forms on the back of the paper from the pressure.

Engraving plate An etched steel die used to create engraved type or images.

Flourishes The ornate calligraphic details that are common on very formal invitations.

Glassine A very thin, waxy paper. Thinner than vellum (see below), its surface is slick and shiny, whereas vellum is more translucent. Glassine is best for envelope use, while vellum is sturdy enough to be printed on for invitation use.

Handmade papers A type of paper made from natural organic materials such as cotton, rag, hemp, or plant fibers- usually uneven or "rough" in texture.

Hands The various (calligraphic) script and lettering styles a talented calligrapher can create.

Industrial papers A paper made from chipboard or newsprint, often from recycled fibers. Industrial papers have a rugged, hip look about them (examples: corrugated cardboard or brown paper bags).

Initial Cap A term for the oversized first letter of a word you'll sometimes see in lavish calligraphy or a decorative typeface.

Jacquard A screen-printed paper that creates an illusion of layering (example: paper that looks like it's overlaid with a swatch of lace).

Laid A paper that's similar to vellum (see below), with a rougher, bumpy finish.

Letterpress A beautiful printing alternative to engraving (but more expensive). The images and typeface appear precise- individually stamped into the paper- and are very rich in color. Letterpress is great if you're using unusual paper, motifs, typeface, or different pigments.

Linen Finish A paper type with a surface that's grainier than pure cotton stocks- another traditional choice for wedding invitations.

Marbled Paper A decorative paper marked by swirling, abstract patterns that resemble the surface of marble.

Matte A paper with an opaque, non-reflective finish.

Mylar A foil-like paper, with a shiny finish. It's best for envelopes, and not appropriate for the invitation (ink doesn't take to it well).

Offset Printing The flat printing used on everyday fliers, letterheads, stickers, and more. It's a nice choice if you want to save money, use highly textured paper, or use several different colors of ink.

Parchment A cloudy, translucent paper that creates a dreamy effect.

Point Size A unit of measure indicating the size of an individual letter or character.

Rice Paper A thin, soft paper that is actually not made from rice. It's non-traditional, but beautiful and elegant. It can only accept the letterpress printing mode.

Stock The term used to describe the thickness and heaviness of paper. Hardy card stock is ideal for formal wedding invitations. They'll often come accompanied by a square of tissue or parchment (delicate stocks) for elegant contrast.

Thermography A heat-based process fuses ink and powder to create raised lettering. Possibly the most popular print method (it's less expensive than engraving). Thermographed text is slightly shiny and the back of the invitation remains smooth (no impression).

Typeface The style/appearance of a letter or numeral. With the arrival of desktop publishing, the term is synonymous with the word "font."

Variegated A term you might hear used to describe the look of certain paper or ribbon, meaning that it has hints of different colors.

Vellum A paper made from a cotton blend with a translucent, frosted appearance and a smooth finish.

Watermark The translucent emblem or "beauty mark" buried in fine paper that becomes visible when the paper is held up to light. A watermark denotes superb quality, signifying the exclusivity of the paper company or boutique.

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