Wedding venue? Check. Catering? Check. Wedding theme? Double-check. You and your significant other have gotten down most of the wedding details…except for one…who do you invite? Your great-aunt Paula you’ve only seen twice in your life? What about your college roommate you last spoke with two years ago? A co-worker you recently met?
This is perhaps the most stressful part of planning a wedding. You don’t want to leave anyone out. At the same time, you need to come up with a guest count you (or your parents or in-laws) can afford. Then there’s sending the invites: when should you send them? How many guests will RSVP? How do you create a beautiful wedding invite to with your garden wedding theme?
Luckily, we’ve got the answers. Read on to learn how you can seamlessly bypass the wedding politics, create a stellar seating chart, and have the wedding of your dreams—all thanks to some strategic wedding invites.
Why Wedding Invitations are Important
For one, wedding invitations make the first impression; guests to get a sneak peek of your wedding and reception. It’s also one of the first steps in establishing you and your significant other as a soon-to-be married couple.
Then you have the wedding politics. Professional, well thought-out invites leave nothing to assumption. The people you send the invites to are the guests who will be attending your wedding. The invites also allow you to cement an official guest count. That way, you know how many meals to order and how many tables and chairs to set up. Plus, sending the invites well in advance gives you time in devising a seating chart everyone will enjoy come the wedding day.
What to Include in the Invitations
Traditionally, wedding invitations include:
- wedding invitation
- an accommodation card for out-of-town guests
- response card with an addressed envelope so guests can easily send back a RSVP
- directions to the wedding and/or reception
- reception card listing the date, time, and location of the reception
However, your wedding invitations don’t have to all of this information. At the minimum, you should include your name and your significant other’s. Not to mention the date, time, and location of the wedding venue. It’s also important that you add a RSVP date (3-4 weeks before wedding date) so you won’t be left waiting until the last minute for RSVPs.
Questions to Answer Before Designing and Sending out the Invitations
Establish some ground rules before sending out the invites, as you don’t want to cause unnecessary stress weeks (or days) before your big day.
Here are some questions to answer that will save you from the sleepless nights:
- How many people will you be inviting to your wedding?
- Are you having a wedding and reception? Or one or the other?
- Who’s paying for the wedding?
- What’s your budget?
- How many of your guests are out of town? How many are local?
- Do you want kids to attend?
- Will you be helping out with accommodation for out-of-town guests?
- What’s the wedding date?
- Can guests bring a plus one?
Addressing these questions before sending the invites will save you awkward conversations with guests. And spares you the trouble in calling up guests to confirm they can or can’t bring plus ones. Or that you’d appreciate it if children only attended the wedding reception.
Incorporation Your Garden Wedding Theme in Your Invites
Here’s the fun part: how to decorate the invitations to match your garden wedding theme. Depending on your budget, you have a couple of options. You can go the standard route and order invitation from a professional wedding stationery company. You could also hire a friend or friend-of-a-friend who works in graphic design to create them for you.
If you’re trying to save your budget for bigger ticket items (i.e. wedding venue, videography, catering…), consider e-invites. Several companies offer free options, where couples can personalize a free template and email to guests. Some companies even offer free RSVP tracking so do your research if you’re interested in this route.
However, know that you may not have access to all templates, which means you may not be able to incorporate your garden wedding theme into your wedding invitation design. If this is a priority for you, we recommend that you do the former…or consider DIY invites!
DIY invites offer the best of both worlds. They’re inexpensive and are a creative way for couples to infuse their garden wedding them into the invite. For example, you can sprinkle in pressed flowers or hand paint flowers on the cards. Know that, while DIY is fun and allows for total creativity, it does take more time. If you’re low on this, it’s best to hire a professional or consider a free template.
When to Send Out the Invites
The best rule of thumb: the sooner, the better. Traditionally, send out your invites 6-8 weeks from the wedding day. Factor in the time it takes for guests to receive the invite, especially out-of-town guests.
If Aunt Jill lives in Alaska and you’re sending invites from California, it’s best to send Aunt Jill’s 5 days before sending out the invites to local guests.
Also, the sooner you send out your invites, the more time guests have to respond back whether they’ll be attending or not.
What to Expect
You’ve decided on the guest count: 200 people. You’ve sent out the invites. Now what? First and foremost, you need to expect that not every guest will attend: can’t find a babysitter, used up vacation days, you name it.
In general, around 85% of local guests and 55% of out-of-town guests will be able to come. Doing the math, if 150 guests are local, 127-128 will RSVP yes. Out of the 50 out-of-town guests, you’re looking at 27 to 28 who will make the trip. Adding these figures together and you’ve got an estimated guest count of 154.
However, keep in mind that 1-2 RSVP guests may pull out of the wedding because of a last minute event. At the same time, 1-2 guests may be able to secure their plane tickets and make the trek.
Having an estimated guest count, to begin with, prevents you from feeling stressed, and can start creating seating charts based off of the estimation.
Chasing Down No-Response Guests
Life happens. Guests forget to respond. Or, like it or not, RSVPing is one more thing for guests to do. Which means some may put it on the backburner and focus on more pertinent, in-the-moment tasks.
With the wedding fast approaching, it’s understandable that you want to finalize your guest count and cement an official seating chart.
Look to Your Parents, In-Laws, and Significant Other for Help
But what do you do when guests don’t RSVP yes or no? First, see if any no-response guests are friends of your parents, in-laws, or your significant other. If they are, it may be best for them to call or email them.
Create a Personalized Email
To save you time, you can send an email to no-response guests, expressing that you’ve finalized the guest count and, given their non-response, assume they cannot make it. Make sure that you end the email on a positive note. You don’t want to come off as bitter, however, you want to set boundaries and alleviate stress.
Also, you don’t know, you may receive last-minute responses from no-response guests saying they can, in fact, make it.
Make the Call
Talking on the phone is more personal than sending an email. Especially if these no response guests are friends of yours, call them to see if they’re coming. Again, they might have forgotten to respond. A short, 2-minute reminder call may be all you need to see if they’re coming or not.
Wedding invitations don’t have to be a stressful experience. It just takes a little planning and some follow-up to secure a guest count.
At the end of the day, wedding invites help you keep track of who’s coming and who’s not. Not sending invites (or not keeping track of them) can spell out wedding disaster, as only 19 out of your 100 guests show up.
To prevent this from happening you can email bi-monthly reminders, giving guests updates on the wedding progress and informing them of the wedding countdown.
Taking proactive steps in advance saves you the stress days before your wedding day.
- Wedding invitations are important; they give guests a sneak peak of your wedding
- They also help establish you and your significant other as a soon-to-be married couple
- Not to mention, invites help you stay on top of guest count and bypass wedding politics
- Before sending them out, answer difficult questions beforehand (i.e. number of guests, are children invited, budget, etc.)
- Incorporate your garden wedding them into your invites by hiring a professional wedding stationery company or a graphic designer friend
- Or DIY the invites for a personalized garden wedding touch
- Send out invites 6-8 weeks in advance
- Create an estimated guest count (85% local guests, 55% out-of-town guests)
- Chase down no-response guests via other’s help, personalized email, or a phone call
For more information on wedding invitations for your garden wedding, contact us! Know that we also offer all-inclusive wedding packages to bring down your budget while providing the wedding of your dreams.