Day 7, 2011: Etiquette – Invitation Inserts: What Do You Really Need To Include?
December 7, 2011 § Leave a comment
Once you’ve surmounted the hurdle of how to word your wedding invitations, you’ll need to look at how to communicate all the other pertinent info that your guests may need to know, as well as how your guests will respond to your invitation.
We’ve probably all been there – you’ve received an invitation in the mail, you open it to pull out the invite and as you do so many little pieces of paper fly out it looks like a ticker-tape parade. Is all of that extra ‘stuff’ really necessary? Well…maybe.
Generally speaking, there were really only ever two inserts that were used in traditional invitations – reception cards and RSVP cards (and in fact, response cards are a relatively new invention – etiquette used to dictate that you provide a hand-written response letter to the wedding hosts).
Separate reception cards are common in very formal invitations (when the reception and ceremony are in different locations) but are certainly not required. Many couples today choose to include reception information directly on the main invitation.
An RSVP or response card is an invitation staple – you’ll find very few mainstream invitations that do not come with a response card. Are they required? In most cases, unless you are having a very, very informal wedding, I would say yes – although the style of response card you choose can most definitely vary.
These days, you may be receiving 14-piece invitation suites or single invitation panels with a link to a wedding website for more details – as we discussed yesterday, as weddings change and become more unique and more personal, so too do the various parts of an invitation.
What are some of the most common inserts you may see these days?
Maps: It’s very common to receive an invitation with a map, although unfortunately the map often seems to be stuck in as an afterthought – printed from the internet or poorly designed and printed on copy paper *shudder*. While a map is not necessary these days with the number of your guests that have GPS etc., it can be a wonderful addition to your invitation suite if it’s well-designed and complements your overall theme etc.
Accommodation and Travel Info: These days couples often have numerous guests coming from out-of-town (or have local guests that want to stay for the after-party and not worry about how they are getting home), so it’s great to provide your guests with information on local hotels you might recommend, or have negotiated a special rate for, and any other travel-related information you think they may require.
Additional Wedding Events: Having a rehearsal dinner? Post-wedding brunch? Rockin’ after-party? Including invites to these events is a great way to cut down on postage costs etc. Remember that you can simply just include them in the invitations of those guests who are invited to each event – no need to invite everyone, if you’re not so inclined.
Guest Information Card: This is a bit of a catch-all, to advise guests of any information that may be pertinent that does not fit elsewhere. It could be related to attire, parking, transportation, inclement weather plans or anything else that you feel your guests should know in advance of your big day.
Itinerary Card: Often used for destination or weekend wedding events, an itinerary card lists the events of the day/weekend/week, along with any related information, in one handy place (so guests don’t have to bring multiple cards etc. with them).
Wedding Website: Okay, you caught me. So this isn’t exactly an insert; but, what it *can* do is replace many of the inserts listed above. A wedding website is a great way to communicate all the information your guests need to know, without having to add a number of additional cards to your invite suite. Simply include your wedding website address on your invitations, or on a small separate enclosure card.
Tip: A wedding website is also the place where you want to include any information that absolutely does not belong on your invitation or inserts – like any kind of registry or gift information.
I think that anything goes these days – with my own clients we normally choose the coordinating inserts based on a number of factors, including overall design and theme, their particular guests and, of course, their budget.
There is no doubt that additional inserts will raise the price of your invitation package significantly, so for many couples a wedding website (check out this blog post for more information and links to a number of free wedding website providers) is a great way to ensure that guest have access to the information they need, without adding unnecessary bulk to their invitations and their budget.
That said, in some cases a certain theme or type of invite may be the perfect candidate for multiple coordinating (or even mix and match!) inserts, especially destination or weekend getaway weddings where guests need much more specific information on booking travel, accommodations, events etc.
The important thing to remember is that there is no hard and fast rule about having to include *any* inserts (if you’re having a very casual event, it’s perfectly acceptable to include RSVP information directly on the invitation itself), so include what makes you comfortable and makes sense for your big day.