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Wedding Invitations and Stationery Archives - New Orleans Weddings - Reception, Venue & Planning
Nov 072016

You've found the person you love, picked a wedding venue, and selected a date. Now it's time to invite guests to your wedding! Sending out wedding invitations brings up all sorts of questions, from who to invite to when and how, so we've asked our experts to answer some of the most common wedding invitation questions to help make the process a little easier.

Who Gets a Plus One?
While tradition states that only those who are married or engaged should always be invited with a plus-one, common practice has gotten a little more modern, with the ring requirement being replaced with a "serious relationship" requirement. So if your college roommate is in a longterm relationship or lives with her significant other, you really should invite them as a couple. Did your cousin just start dating someone new? In that case, it's your call — and no one will hold it against you if you invite her solo. The exception: You should invite your immediate family members and your wedding party with their significant other or a generic "and guest", no matter what their relationship status is.

When Should We Send Our Save the Dates and Invitations?
When it comes to your invitations, timing is everything. Traditionally, save the dates are mailed four months in advance, with invitations going out around eight weeks before the wedding date. If you're having a destination wedding, add a little time on the front end: Send save the dates up to six months in advance, and invitations 12 weeks before the event. This will give your guests plenty of time to arrange their schedules and shop around for great flight deals.

How Long Should We Give Our Guests to RSVP?
The general rule of thumb is to set your RSVP date for four weeks after you mail the invitations, giving them time to receive the invite and send back their response. The timing can change depending on the type of wedding you're having. For a local wedding, with very few guests coming in from out-of-town, set your RSVP date for two weeks before your wedding date, allowing up to six weeks to RSVP. For a destination wedding, request your RSVPs back seven weeks before the date which, if you mail your invitations 12 weeks in advance, gives guests five weeks to finalize their plans. This will also give you a little extra time to track down people you haven't heard from to ensure everyone is accounted for.

See more: When is it Okay to Put Registry Information on Wedding Invitations?

Should We Invite Guests We Know Can't Come?
Once you've gone through the trouble of setting a wedding date, it can be a bummer to find out a friend or family member can't make it. Traditional etiquette suggests skipping their invitation. After all, a single invitation can still be expensive, and it could be interpreted as soliciting gifts. However, if it's a guest you know will appreciate the gesture and will like having your invitation as a memento, you should still formally invite them to be there with you to celebrate. Chances are they'll be thrilled to hear the details and will want to send you a gift, and that link to your wedding website will make finding your registry that much easier.

Can We Send Digital Invitations?
Online invitations are affordable, easy, and come in gorgeous designs that rival their printed counterparts. However, when it comes to your wedding day, you really should skip the e-vite in favor of a paper invitation sent by mail. But for your wedding-related events (engagement party, bridal shower, rehearsal dinner, etc.), a digital invitation is a great alternative. These parties usually have a smaller guest list, and ordering a dozen or so invitations can be really expensive. Choose a design that still fits in your invitation suite and take advantage of the built-in RSVP function.

Do We Have to Send Invitations If We’re Getting Married at City Hall?

 Etiquette, Invites & Stationery, Wedding Invitations and Stationery  Comments Off on Do We Have to Send Invitations If We’re Getting Married at City Hall?
Nov 012016

The best way to get guests to your wedding? Send them an invitation, of course! If you're having an intimate or impromptu wedding, though, it might seem like a formality that's not totally necessary. We asked our experts if you need to send out invitations if you're having a tiny wedding, like a trip to city hall or an elopement. Here's what they had to say.

Even if you're opting for something small or spur-of-the-moment, sending a wedding invitation to anyone you'd like to have there with you is a tradition that's worth including — just with your own spin. Here are a few ways to make the inviting process your own:

For a City Hall wedding (or one in your living room!) with a tiny guest list, skip formal letterpress invitations and traditional wording. Instead, write a letter! Practice your penmanship and pick up some nicer paper, then write a letter to your guests (either a general note so you can send the same one to each guest, or personalized letters to each guest individually) inviting them to share the moment with you and letting them know why their presence would be so meaningful. Got a little extra time (or not-so-nice handwriting)? Hire a calligrapher to copy down your words in beautiful, flowing script. You can pop these in the mail if you have time, or hand-deliver each note if everyone is local.

Eloping last minute? We love the immediacy of a pretty evite. It's more elegant than a text or an email, and adds a little bit of formality to the occasion. Having a celebration that is non-traditional doesn't mean you have to forgo all tradition! If time is really of the essence, you could also set aside some time to call each of the guests you'd like to invite and let them know when and where to meet. Again, skip the text or email and opt for a phone call: It's much more personal and intimate, especially given the reason you're calling!

See more: How to Break It to Your Parents That You're Eloping

Oct 252016

Once you've decided on your wedding guest list, collected R.S.V.P.s, and — the most intimidating part — put together your table assignments, it's time to let guests know where they'll be sitting. That's where escort cards come in.

Unlike place cards, which you leave on each table to let guests know exactly which chair to sit in, escort cards are all placed on a single table (or hand-written on a mirror or printed on a sign, among other creative ideas) and include each guest or couple's name as well as the table they'll be heading to for your wedding reception dinner. Sounds easy, right? Well, it can be! There are a few unexpected bumps you may find along the way that can make the wedding escort card process way harder than it needs to be, so we turned to Rachelle Schwartz, co-owner of Wiley Valentine, for some straight-from-the-stationer tips.

Quantity is Key
While you would need a place card for every one of your guests, escort cards are typically per couple or per family. "Plan on the number of cards being approximately half your total guest count, plus a few extras for guests that were invited solo," says Schwartz. "If you're having a calligrapher write the names and table numbers on each card, check with them to see how many extras they require [to cover smudged cards or spelling errors] — typically 10-15% of your total." An easy way to get your total number of cards needed is to create a spreadsheet of each couple (instead of each individual guest) with their names in one column and the table number in another, then count from there. You should also have some blank cards on-hand once the calligraphy is done to allow for any last-minute changes, such as a guest whose date can no longer attend or a change in table number.

Keep it Legible
"When you're choosing a font or calligraphy style, make sure the writing on the escort cards is legible," Schwartz advises. "You don't want to end up with everyone crowded around the table, trying to find their name written in tiny, overly-decorative script!" She also advises choosing a card design where the names are easily viewable, so guests can swing by the table and grab their card.

Alphabetize by Last Name
While you might be inclined to group your escort cards by table assignment instead of name, this can actually make things a little harder. Provide your calligrapher with a list of names and tables sorted by last name so your cards come back in as close to alphabetical order as possible. This will make it much easier to arrange the cards on your wedding day! "I also advise having larger seating charts organized by last name, as well," says Schwartz. "If you have over 50 guests, it will be much easier for them to find their table if they can spot their name alphabetically instead of trying to read who is seated at each table." However, for a smaller group (where you'll have many fewer tables to deal with), putting together a seating chart sorted by table, with the list of names at each table in alphabetical order, can work great.

See more: 4 Genius Ways to Keep Wedding Guest List Drama to a Minimum

Go Digital
Whether you're short on time or money, digital calligraphy (i.e. having the cards printed instead of hand-written) is a great alternative. "Check with your stationer to see if they offer this option, and if they can help you design something that coordinates with your invitation suite," Schwartz suggests. If you're hoping for something more involved, like letterpress or thermography instead of just flat printing, you may need to make this decision earlier on in the process so you can allow enough time for printing and cutting.

Cut Down on Clutter
"Sometimes venues require place cards in addition to escort cards so they know what each guest has selected as their meal," says Schwartz. "You could have a second card, in the same design as the escort card, placed at each guest's seat, but that can turn into a lot of things on the table." Instead, she recommends having the menus double as place cards, with guests' names written or printed at the top of the menu, with an icon indicating their meal choice in the corner.

We Want to Get Married ASAP! How Close to Our Wedding Date Can We Send Invitations?

 Etiquette, Invites & Stationery, Wedding Etiquette, Wedding Invitations and Stationery  Comments Off on We Want to Get Married ASAP! How Close to Our Wedding Date Can We Send Invitations?
Oct 252016
Choosing Wedding Date Tips

Photo: Kate Holstein

While a usual engagement is between 12 and 18 months, some couples opt to speed up the process (and you can totally plan a fabulous wedding in a shorter period of time!). That may mean eight or nine months, or — if you're really too excited to wait — just a few months before you walk down the aisle. If you fall into that latter camp, and would rather have a reception than simply head to City Hall, how close to your wedding date can you send out invitations? Here's what our experts have to say.

The great news is, if you secure a venue quickly and choose a speedy printing method, you should be able to get invitations out in plenty of time. After all, standard etiquette is to mail invitations within eight to 12 weeks of your wedding day. So if you get engaged at the end of April and want to get married as early as the end of June, you're still well within the norm for invitation timing.

Planning to get married more quickly than that? Once you have your guest list together, start making phone calls. Let your guests know that a formal printed invitation (or a gorgeous digital one!) is on its way, but that you wanted to give them as much information as possible in advance — namely the date, time, and any travel information they might need. Then, send out your invitations as promptly as possible, and use these to include more creative details like the dress code. And don't forget to work on your wedding website! You can direct guests toward your URL when you call them in the first place, so they can find the information all in one convenient spot.

If you're planning to get married in just a few weeks, you're probably envisioning a smaller affair, whether it's low-key or formal. A guest list of locals will make securing "Yes" RSVPs much more likely, and you can always plan a reception for other friends and family members later if you'd like.

See more: Should We Send Our Invitations Early if We're Inviting Guests from Overseas?

Oct 132016
Uninviting Plus One Etiquette

Photo: Getty Images

Whether you realized your venue is over capacity, or you just discovered that you don't vibe with your second-cousin's latest Tinder fling, there are probably going to be times during wedding planning that you'll wish you hadn't extended an invite. So what happens if you finally meet your childhood bestie's new boyfriend and he turns out to be a totally obnoxious oaf? Is it ever acceptable to take back a plus one?

According to Patricia Napier-Fitzpatrick, founder and president of The Etiquette School of New York, it's a major no-no. "It's very rude to do that," she says. "Unless you're disinviting all the plus ones, it's just very rude."

Think It Through
It's important to dig deeper as to why you want to cross this additional guest off the list. "If something pretty bad has transpired, and if the relationship is completely broken, then you may consider uninviting this person," etiquette and lifestyle expert Elaine Swann says. It's crucial to evaluate what your relationship with this person and your original guest will look like after the wedding, she says. If something has gone down that has led you not to want to continue a relationship after the big day—say the person has deeply offended you in some manner, or there has been a physical altercation—then the situation may be extreme enough to warrant being disinvited.

See More: How Do I Uninvite Wedding Guests for Financial Reasons?

How To Do It
Again, taking back a plus-one invite will only happen in very unique and serious circumstances. (We're not talking about hating the corny jokes of a family member's sidekick.) That said, if you must do so, Swann suggests reaching out directly to the plus-one to deliver the news and informing the original guest of your decision. By contacting the offending party directly, you can avoid anything getting lost in translation, Swann says. Whether it's an email or a phone call, simply state something like, "After great thought, we've decided that it's best you don't attend the wedding." Also, you may want to mentally prepare yourself for the potential that the person may be offended. "That's just going to be part of the collateral damage" if you decide to go this route, Swann says.

Plus-One Guidelines

One thing to remember when it comes to additional guests, is that a plus-one "is up to the discretion of the person you're inviting," according to Fitzgerald. So if you're feeling iffy about your favorite uncle's judgement, perhaps it's best to only extend a solo invite. Swann says, "If you don't trust [the guest], then don't extend a plus-one invitation."

Oct 092016

Your wedding invitation is more than just a pretty card in an envelope. Even the most simple of designs includes a few extra pieces (namely an RSVP card and envelope), before you start adding on things like envelope liners and bellybands. For couples having a destination wedding in particular, the sheer volume of information often requires an additional card, called an invitation insert or an information card. But what is it for? We asked our experts to spill on the details.

An information card or invitation insert is a useful way to share extra information with your wedding guests, without crowding the main invitation full of logistics. The invitation itself should list your names, your wedding date, the location, the start time, and the dress code — and that's it. Want to share anything more? That's where the insert comes in.

If you're having your ceremony and reception at two different locations, your invitation will list the ceremony location and then should say "reception to follow." The time and location of your reception sometimes get their own insert, especially if you want to include directions or parking information for the venue.

For any pre- and post-wedding events that won't have their own invitation mailed separately, put the date, time, and dress code on an insert (i.e. "Please join us for a welcome party the night before the wedding! Meet us at the hotel bar at 8 p.m. for cocktails and desserts."). If you're hoping to get a specific R.S.V.P. count, you should either send an invitation in the mail or send out an e-vite.

See more: When is it Okay to Put Registry Information on Wedding Invitations?

Having a shuttle to transport guests to and from your ceremony and reception? While you may not have the exact shuttle times figured out before your invitations are sent, put a note on the insert that specifies that the shuttle will be available (or that it's required and that they shouldn't plan to drive to your venue).

The insert can also provide an overview of travel options, such as the name of the nearest airport and the names, websites, and phone numbers for any hotels where you've reserved a block of rooms. Be sure to include the reservation code if your hotel requires one!

And of course, this is the perfect place to put the URL for your wedding website. Encourage guests to check it out for even more information!

We Want a Small Ceremony, But a Large Reception — How Should We Word Our Invitations?

 Etiquette, Invites & Stationery, Wedding Etiquette, Wedding Invitations and Stationery  Comments Off on We Want a Small Ceremony, But a Large Reception — How Should We Word Our Invitations?
Oct 062016

Who knew creating a guest list would come with so many rules? From deciding if you'll have a B-List to when to those send save the dates, there are a lot of things to keep in mind — and that's all in addition to how the guest list you create will impact the feeling of your wedding day. If you've always dreamed of an intimate walk down the aisle, or fell in love with the tiny church down the street for your wedding venue, the thought of having hundreds of people at your ceremony may seem like a tough pill to swallow. So can you create a short-list for the ceremony, then invite a larger crowd to your reception later that day? Here's what our experts have to say.

While you should never invite guests to just your wedding ceremony, with the reception you have a little more flexibility. Especially if you're planning to say "I do" in a much smaller space than your reception venue, it can sometimes be the only way to include everyone in your wedding day. It does, however, require that you communicate very clearly with your guests and plan your timeline accordingly.

First things first, you can either print two invitations (one inviting a smaller group to both your ceremony and reception, and one inviting the rest of your guests to the reception only) or, to keep costs a little lower, have your main invitation printed with the reception information, then include an insert card for the smaller group of guests who will also be invited to the ceremony.

On the invitation, instead of inviting guests to witness your marriage, the wording should say that guests are invited to a reception in celebration of your marriage — this implies that you will already be married by the time they arrive. The insert card can more specifically invite guests to your wedding ceremony. It should list the time and location, and conclude with "Reception to Follow." On your wedding website, you can either list the ceremony information and specify that the ceremony will be family-only, or you can opt to keep the ceremony information private and add a little more information about how you are inviting guests to join you for a celebration after you've exchanged vows.

Planning your timeline correctly is also important. Make sure you allow ample time for you and your ceremony guests to arrive at the reception, ideally at the same time as the rest of the guests so the party can get started. If your reception invitation calls for a 6:30 start time, you may want to have the space ready and the bar open closer to 6:00, just in case guests begin to arrive a little bit early. Then the two of you can either jump right into cocktail hour, or have your band or DJ introduce you formally before dinner so you can spend some time greeting the rest of your guests.

See More: Is There a General Wedding Ceremony Outline That We Should Follow?

BRIDES Chicago: 5 Luxury Wedding Invitation Designers in Chicago

 Chicago, Illinois, Invites & Stationery, Local, Wedding Invitations and Stationery  Comments Off on BRIDES Chicago: 5 Luxury Wedding Invitation Designers in Chicago
Sep 112016
winter inspired stationery

Photo: Courtesy of Alicia Swedenborg

Finding a wedding invitation designer that delivers your exact vision can be tricky. Luckily for our Chicago brides, we've rounded up skilled designers that pay close attention-to-detail with laser focus and sophisticated creativity. Here are the top wedding stationery designers in Chicago for all of your wedding needs.

1. Quintessence Papers
Offering invitations and everything-in-between, this luxury Chicago stationer continues to provide Windy City brides with connections to some of the best resources in the industry through their renowned products. With a wide variety of completely custom pieces, Quintessence Paper's personalization and customer service continues to set the bar in stationery excellence. Read real brides' reviews here!

2. With Grace

This award-winning boutique is one of Chicago's premiere designers of all things invitations, stationery, and unique gifts. Targeting wedding production, With Grace's nearly 12 years of experience has propelled it to be a leading Chicago business in the wedding industry.

See More: Create The Perfect Wedding Invitations With One Of Our Favorite Local Vendors

3. Pulp & Ink
Often labeled as one of Chicago's most timeless examples of contemporary elegance, Pulp & Ink creates fashionable, innovative stationery. Categorized as a one-stop-shop for all things handwritten, this luxury company is renowned for its unique service of handcrafted calligraphy. Read real brides' reviews here!

4. Olive & Violet
Through her custom invitation design and printing services, founder Taylor Crowley delivers one-of-a-kind invitation designs using some of the stationery industry's most modern printing styles. With a resume of over 12 years of experience working in Chicago as an event planner, Crowley continues to utilize her valuable on-site planning experience to blend with her passion for creativity and wedding invitation creation. Read real brides' reviews here!

5. Pixie
With a company goal of "bringing back the personalized touch of a simple piece of mail," this Chicago designer continues to provide couples with exquisitely crafted special occasion invitations for all of their most memorable milestones.

Still haven't found the stationer of your dreams? Find even more options on our Local Vendors page!

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5 Hacks to Help You Crank Out Thank You Notes Quicker

 Invites & Stationery, Wedding Invitations and Stationery  Comments Off on 5 Hacks to Help You Crank Out Thank You Notes Quicker
Aug 202016

Photo: Getty Images

If the worst part of planning a wedding is the actual planning part (kidding, well, kind of!), then the second worst part definitely has to be writing the thank you notes, especially if your big day wasn't exactly on the small side. Ugh, kill us now! It's like the work never ends even after the wedding is over and done with. So of course, like any other bride, you want to get those thank you notes over and done with as quick as possible. But procrastination sounds so much better right now. We know, we know; it's tough! Fortunately, we've rounded up five helpful hacks that will encourage you to get those thank you notes out in a jiffy and lift a weight off your shoulders at the same time. So yeah, it's a win-win!

1. Address your thank you notes with the invitations
Kill two birds with one stone...or uh, something like that. Chancey Charm Atlanta wedding planner Brie Owens recommends investing time beforehand and addressing your thank you envelopes at the same time as your invitations. "Bring the bridesmaids over to help and take a photo at your reception or engagement session with a thank you sign that you can send with a brief thanks!"

2. Buy a return address stamp
Just trust us on this one; it's crucial! Chancey Charm Charlotte wedding planner Miranda Tassi agrees. In addition to pre-labeling your envelopes and return address ahead of time, to be super speedy, she suggests ordering a fun return address stamp with your new name on it. That way you can avoid having to handwrite your address. Plus, you can use it on invitations and RSVPs too! Etsy is a great place to get these on the cheap.

3. Use a template
That can be easily customized, of course, says Chancey Charm Houston wedding planner Skylar Caitlin. "Simply swap out the name, the specific gift and how you plan to use their gift." Done and done.

See More: 9 Fabulous (and Free!) Wedding Décor Items to Bring From Home

4. Get your partner involved
Ah, now this one's definitely our favorite hack! Cut the number of thank you notes you personally have to pen in half by assigning your hubby a bunch to do on his own. He might grumble at first, but just remind him that you pretty much planned the entire wedding so it's really the least he could do. Normally, the way it works is he would write the thank you notes to his friends and family and you to yours. You can split up cards for mutual friends to make it fair.

5. Do a bunch in one sitting
If you're one of those people who, once you're in your flow, you can't stop won't stop then we suggest plopping down at your kitchen table on a Sunday (perhaps with a bottle of wine or some mimosas) and getting busy writing thank you notes. Chances are, once you get started you'll get in your groove fast and the mood to write, and crank those cards out in no time flat. Do this for one Sunday or a few Sundays and you'll be done in no time flat.

Here’s How to Make Writing Thank You Notes Enjoyable (Yes, Enjoyable!)

 Etiquette, Wedding Invitations and Stationery  Comments Off on Here’s How to Make Writing Thank You Notes Enjoyable (Yes, Enjoyable!)
Aug 142016
how to write thank you notes

Photo: Minted

Let's face it: Writing thank you notes gets a very bad rap as being utterly boring. Why? "Because," says Diane Gottsman, etiquette expert and owner of The Protocol School of Texas, "most of the time it is boring." But it doesn't have to be. Here, with Gottsman's tips, it can actually be an enjoyable and efficient experience. (Seriously!)

Keep a running list.
The thing that could drive your crazier than a stack of blank thank you cards? Not knowing who to thank for what. "If you have to stretch to remember who gave you what gift, it makes the task much harder," says Gottsman. Instead, "keep a list of who gave you what so that you can reference the gift as you write out each thank you note. A little prior planning will make writing thank you notes much easier and less stressful."

Reward yourself.
Gottsman recommends you mix a cocktail or brew a pot of calming tea before you get to work. "Creating an environment that is soothing and ceremonial often is an incentive to get creative," she explains. Just give yourself a large enough spill-zone so you don't endanger your thank you cards.

Share it with your spouse.
As newlyweds, you may not be ready to spend a moment apart. So make writing thank you notes a team activity, during which you can get some quality time together. "Share a glass of wine each night and split the job up until it's complete," says Gottsman. Not only will you enjoy the time together, but, "when someone else is doing it with you, time goes by more quickly and you feel like you aren't going it alone," Gottsman says.

See More: 3 Tools to Help Write Wedding Thank-You Notes

Inspire yourself.
One of the easiest ways to turn a tedious task into something fun is to use luxurious items. "Get inspired by using beautiful stationery and a nice pen," Gottsman says. For some, that could mean using an inexpensive fine point felt pen, while others could use this as the excuse they've been looking for to learn the art of calligraphy. "Personally, I enjoy writing much more when I am using items I love," she says.

Eliminate distractions.
You may be tempted to play the TV in the background to force the time to go faster. But turning on the tube "can also distract you from finishing the task if you stop to watch your favorite parts of the show," warns Gottsman. And dragging out this task won't make it any more fun. Instead, "set a short time limit of total concentration without favorite love scenes from your Netflix account," Gottsman suggests.

Don't put pressure on yourself.
One reason thank you note writing might not be fun is if you worry about writing the perfect words. "Your thank you note does not have to be a novel," Gottsman says. "Knowing what to write and understanding how to do it efficiently takes the dread out of the gesture. Just make sure and hit these marks: use their name, thank them for the gift, mentioning specifically what they gave you and how you plan to use it or enjoy it, and close with a desire to connect in the future."

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