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When crafting your wedding invitations navigating the proper etiquette can be a challenging task, but overall there are only a few simple rules that you must follow so as not to land on the wrong side of your guests. First and foremost, you should address your envelopes with the proper titles of all who are invited. This means using titles such as Mr., Mrs., Ms. (or Miss if the recipient is under 21), or credentials such as “Doctor,” which should be fully spelled out. Addressing each guest by name also avoids any offense if your gathering is adults-only, and any unwanted “plus-ones.” When writing out your invitations you should also refrain from using any potentially confusing abbreviations by fully writing out street addresses and any house number under 20. You should not include any registry information on the invite, nor any reception details. The registry information can be provided through word-of-mouth, or through your wedding website--which should be provided on the invitation. Finally, if your gathering is to have a strict dress code, it should be written in the bottom right-hand corner of the invite. You should also provide an RSVP response card (with stamp) and meal choices as well.

Deciding when to send out your party invitations depends heavily on the type of event you are planning on hosting. For casual and informal events, your invitations should be sent out around 2-4 weeks before the party with an RSVP return date of one to two weeks. Formal events, such as holiday parties, baby showers, and engagement parties, should have their invitations sent out 4-6 weeks in advance with RSVPs requested to be returned two weeks before the event. If your event would require your guests to take off work, require a babysitter, or travel, a save-the-date should be sent out two to four weeks before the actual invitations.

The price of your wedding invitations will vary on how you want your invitations to look, and the additions you are willing to pay for. While the price ranges vary by supplier, most spend an average of $400-$800 on their printed materials. These include, but are not limited to save-the-dates, invitations and RSVP cards, and the general day-of stationery. Any add-ons or styles more formal than digital printing such as letterpress, offset printing, thermography, and engraving can dramatically increase the price of your invitations. Some online invitation alternatives only charge as much as $3 per suite which is a single set of your invitation, response card, and envelope, the mailing envelope as well as the postage). Printing at home and finding online templates can also aid in softening the cost.

A calligrapher is an individual you hire to write out your invitations as well as any other day-of stationery (such as menus, place cards, and signs). While calligraphy itself is just writing in the imitation of brush-like strokes, the genuine article is far more attractive than any font imitations, though a tad more costly. There is no standard price for hiring a calligrapher as it is highly dependent on the amount of work you wish for them to do, so getting a quote as early in the process as possible is recommended. As a general rule, if you are thinking of hiring a calligrapher, it is best to start reaching out 6-8 months before your wedding to prepare for your save-the-date and envelope addressing.

When sending out your invitations it is first customary to precede the formal invitation with a save-the-date. This should be sent out around six months before the date of the wedding. The invitations themselves, however, should be sent out six to eight weeks before the ceremony, and you should request all RSVPs to be returned two to three weeks before the event. For destination weddings, save-the-dates should be sent out closer to eight months in advance, three months in advance for the actual wedding invites, and RSVPs should be returned six weeks before the day.

Easily find invitation designers, calligraphers and printers here at Whether in need of invitations, event or wedding signage or personalized thank-you notes, you can find local and online businesses to meet your needs.