Wedding invitations may sound simple enough, but there’s a little more to it than that. As two friends who are getting married recently found out, details in the wedding invitation (like the date of the wedding…yes, they actually left that part out) can be easily overlooked. So here are the basic things you need to make sure of before you ship out your beloved invitations:

Invitation Essentials

1.) All general information is included. Who is getting married, the date, time, and place of the wedding (and reception, if it is in a different location), the dress code, and a picture of you and your fiancé must be included. And yes, a picture is essential. You may know who your grandmother is, but if she’s got 12 other grandchildren to keep track of (and she’s in her mid-80s), a picture will be an invaluable help to her.

2.) A map and accommodation information. Sure, it may seem incredibly unnecessary, what with all the GPS systems nowadays, but don’t assume all your guests have this technology. Even so, many weddings I travel to are in Western Maryland, and there’s no internet connection in the middle of the mountains. A map is always useful. In addition, guests will be attending your wedding from out of town, and it will be a huge help if you can provide them with a few options for where to stay.

3.) RSVP instructions. If you want people to RSVP by mail, including a self-addressed, pre-stamped RSVP card is essential. If you want people to RSVP online instead, you must direct them to a website or Facebook page. However, it’s best to keep an open mind. Your grandmother will probably not have a Facebook page and will most likely be unable to navigate to your website. Make sure she has an actual RSVP card that she can mail back. Put a number on the back of the RSVP card that you track. As some guests forget to put their names on the card. They say yes, 2 attending.

Important Information

4.) Website and related events. If you choose to have a wedding website (a fantastic idea, and I explain why here), add it to your invitation. Related events include a rehearsal dinner or brunch, a round of golf, or a mid-day hike. Just ensure you’re inviting the right people to the right event. If you don’t want all 200 guests to attend the rehearsal dinner, ensure all 200 of them don’t get an invite.

5.) Registry information. In some circles, putting registry information in your invitation can seem rude (yes, Martha Stewart, I’m talking to you). Still, many people (myself included) believe it’s even more rude to leave them in the dark until they get the courage to ask you or one of your family members where you are registered. Giving them a heads-up in your wedding invitation isn’t rude. It’s considerate.

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