About the Author
Sarah is co-director of Malvolio. She brings her creative skills to the business, and loves concept development in commercial projects, illustration, and working on various self-initiated paper craft projects in her spare time.
Category: Stationery Tips
From time to time, I get requests to design files which people can print themselves – usually on their home printers, with the aim of saving some money.
Maybe I’m a bit fussy…yes I’ll admit, I am fussy when it comes to quality. I believe that the choice of paper or card that you print on, along with what type of printer you use, will make all the difference to any piece of design or artwork. What looks good on screen doesn’t mean a thing if it’s not printed well.
The other trap I’ve seen people fall into is when they do try to print something themselves, whether at a local copy/print shop or at home, and they aren’t happy with how it turns out…then they come in and get us to print it properly for them anyway. I have especially seen this happen with wedding invitations, and the double-cost always breaks my heart.
I always recommend getting artwork printed professionally the first time, as it makes all the difference and can save a lot of stress and disappointment. While it might seem like the expensive option at the time, it often ends up being the cheaper option if at-home efforts don’t turn out well!
Getting the wording together for your wedding invitations can seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. Below is a guide on what information to put into your invitations, what can go on separate cards, and some etiquette points along the way.
Who is listed first on the invitation?
Typically the person who is hosting (or paying for) the wedding is listed first, whether it be the brides parents, the grooms parents or both sets. In a situation where the couple is paying for the wedding (which is becoming more common), this section can be left out but you may want to discuss the wording with your families.
Is it the bride or the groom who is named first?
Etiquette requests that the bride is named first in the invitation, followed by the groom. You may wish to place “and” or “to” between the names, depending on the wording prior.
The inviting request wording
- “Request the pleasure of your company“ is used when the ceremony is located at a civil venue, such as in gardens, at a gallery or at your home.
- “Request the honor of your presence” is used when the ceremony is located at a religious venue, such as a church.
Ensure to list as much detail as possible about venue locations and start times. It is also worth explaining what type of reception is going to be held, whether it will be a formal dinner, a cocktail party, or something else. How this section is written will vary greatly depending on whether you have separate ceremony and reception venues, or if your entire day will be in the one location.
If any of your venues are not well known, or hidden away, it is recommended to include a directions card, which may also include a small map. This can also be helpful to out-of-town guests who may not be familiar with the location.
Dates, times and addresses
Traditionally, dates and times are spelled out (eg. Saturday the Fourteenth of February, Two Thousand and Fourteen), but space can sometimes be limited on invitations. Using numbers instead is fine, but always make sure to keep the wording or numbering style consistent throughout your invitation (this includes additional information cards).
Addresses should have all usual abbreviations spelled out (eg. St should be Street), and postcodes are not required to be listed.
It is always useful to your guests to include a dress code, so they know what is expected. It will also help you when it comes to photos of your day with your guests knowing what attire to appear in.
The RSVP information should be placed at the bottom of your invitation.
We recommend listing an RSVP date approximately 1 month prior to your wedding. This gives you time to chase up those few who may be late to reply, along with letting your venue and caterers know your final numbers. You may want to include a phone number or email address for RSVPs, but we recommend including a separate RSVP postcard as this allows you to collect important information about your guests. An RSVP card can ensure you know exactly how many from each family are attending, if they have any dietary requirements, and any additional information you may want to ask (eg. a song request for the reception).
Not all information will fit, or should be placed, onto the invitation. The invitation is to extend a request out to your guests to attend, and nothing more. But we all know that weddings tend to include a lot more detail that you might want to let your guests know about.
Here are a few suggestions of information that can be placed on separate cards to add to your invitation suite:
- Wishing Well/Gift Registry
- Wet weather contingency plan
- Directions, maps and parking
- Organised transport
- Other events (eg. rehearsal dinner, after party, group breakfast)
- Wedding website information
And don’t forget that we’re here to help you with your wording when you order invitations through us!
When planning your wedding ceremony, you might find those around you asking if you will have an order of service book at the ceremony.
I usually hear two questions from brides-to-be:
- What is an “order of service book”; and
- What do you put in an “order of service book”?
An order of service book is to help your guests follow what is said through the ceremony, but it often becomes a keepsake from the wedding for your guests too. You can have an order of service book for all types of weddings, not just religious ceremonies.
It can be as complex or simple as you wish, as long as it covers what is in the ceremony. It could be as simple as a running list on a single piece of card, or as complex as a multilingual booklet that guests can follow word for word.
An average order of service book is 4-8 pages long, and A5 in size, making it easy to hold yet large enough to read comfortably.
A rough guide for the text in an order of service book:
- Page 1: thank-you to bridal party, parents, celebrant/minister, any other special people in the making of your wedding
- Page 2: processional song, welcome/introduction
- Page 3-4: readings
- Page 5: declarations and vows
- Page 6: prayers (for religious ceremonies)
- Page 7: recessional song
We can help you put your order of service book together, and design it to match the theme of your wedding – or you can choose one of the predesigned order of service books in our online store.
Choosing a colour scheme seems to be one of the most stressful parts of organising a wedding.
Maybe it’s because it’s one of the first things that many brides lock in, or maybe it’s because a lot of items often rely on the colour scheme. I get it, as I went through the same stresses even organising my own wedding, and I work with building colour schemes for clients on a daily basis!
A colour scheme doesn’t have to be a rainbow. Two or three colours are ample, or shades of one colour. But on the same hand, don’t be shy…a wedding doesn’t have to be just white!
Here’s a few places I found inspiration from, which I now recommend to all brides who feel a little “stuck” when looking for colours:
I recommend looking at colour schemes after booking your venue. Why? Because it is one of the easiest places to start for colour inspiration. Treat it like the canvas of your wedding, and your personal touches will be the paint added to the canvas.
Is your venue modern, sleek, rustic or heritage? Some venues will look amazing with whites and pastels, whereas others need bold colours. And don’t be concerned if your venue is modern with only black and white – you can be daring and add a bright colour in…you might be surprised how much excitement a little colour can add.
Do you have a favourite type of flower that isn’t white? If you do, look to that for inspiration. Flowers can make beautiful colour schemes, as you can choose dress colours to match, and create table centrepieces with the flowers as well.
It never hurts to look in a boutique paper shop (eg. visit our shop!) and see what they stock. A lot of papers use 2-3 colours that could work well for your wedding…and then you have also found the basis for your wedding invitations too!
Your own favourite colours
Don’t forget to check in with your own favourite colours too. If you and your partner have a special connection to a colour, see if you can make a colour scheme from it. With the amount of preparation that goes into a wedding, it’s always good to choose a colour you love…it makes it a lot easier to work with when you could be referring to it for many months ahead!
Paint colour chips
Have you gone into a paint or hardware store lately, and seen the colour sample walls? These can be fantastic for checking a few colours against each other. If you don’t have other colour samples lying around, colour walls are a great place to collect some colours to see what works together.
Most of all – enjoy the colour search. Be proud of the colours you choose and I hope you have a ball planning your wedding in colour!
Maps included in invitations can look beautiful, but are they necessary?
Some weddings definitely need maps, whereas others don’t need them but like to have them as they can be quite decorative.
However – maybe this is my graphic design background talking, but a map is there to explain where your guests need to go, not just be a pretty pictorial of where they will end up on the day!
Some suggestions on when it’s a good idea to include a map in your invitation suite:
- When you have a substantial amount of guests coming from a distance (eg. interstate or overseas)
- When your venue is hidden away and can be difficult to pinpoint on a GPS
- When your venue is within another venue (eg. having your ceremony in gardens at a winery, and then your reception in a building on the same land)
If your budget doesn’t stretch to cover a map design (as they are often custom hand-drawn illustrations), a “directions” card is another alternative. This can help provide landmarks and step-by-step directions if your venue may be hard to find.
Invitations with three-dimensional flowers, jewels, bows and fasteners always look beautiful, and are very popular in DIY, but there’s one aspect that I often find that people forget to take into consideration: how will the invitation cope when it’s posted?
Postal machines enjoy flattening “flat” envelopes – so what was once a flower with puffy paper petals comes through as if it were put through a flower press. Fasteners and jewels also can get caught if they are too raised – which can dint (and even tear) envelopes.
Some tips to make sure your invites arrive as you always intended:
- Shop carefully for embellishments. Find paper flowers that are flat witrout hard baubles in the middle. If you’re looking for flowers with detail, look for ones with different shaped petals instead of layers of petals.
- Buy thick envelopes for your invitations; don’t use standard letter envelopes – they are more likely to tear.
- Avoid fasteners and other metal embellishments that stand up. If they are a complete must in your invitation design, look at posting them in small boxes to avoid any damage.
- Use soft ribbon – it holds it’s shape better in an envelope.
- And last but not least: test one invitation in an envelope before posting! Pop one in an envelope, place it under a book for a few minutes and see if it affects any of your embellishments when taken out again.
I hope these tips help if you’re making your own invitations – happy DIY’ing!
Magnets on invitations – to have or not to have?
I often come across a bit of a debate between tradition and convenience when it comes to brides, grooms and their families choosing whether or not to have a magnet attached to the back of their wedding invitations.
When we get something important in the mail, we’ve all become used to instantly sticking it on the fridge (often the buzzing centre of our households!), that it’s become second-nature to us. But wedding invitations are kind of special…no, make that VERY special. Do they deserve a magnet so they can be placed with everything else on the fridge, alongside the pizza menu and the calendar from the real estate agent?
Or maybe, should wedding invitations be kept sans-magnet so they can be looked after and cherished, and not be a part of the everyday stuff that ends up on the fridge?
I think magnets are perfect for parties that are casual and often with short notice – such as kids parties, barbeques and work functions. For me, wedding invitations are often so beautiful that I reckon they are best without magnets, where they will be placed somewhere important and safe until the big day…and then perhaps put away as a keepsake from the wedding (you might be surprised to find how many of your guests will keep your invitation).
Remember that your wedding is a once-off party that won’t be forgotten anytime soon…so you can keep the fridge for the things you might forget, like your appointment with the dentist next week!