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Helpful Hints...Invites!

Invitation styles and prices: Invitations are available in thousands of styles: traditional, contemporary, and custom designs, some with double envelopes, or a folding invitation sealed with a sticker.

The cost of invitations will depend largely on the quality of the paper. When it comes time to select your invitation, pick the one that best suits your tastes, personal style, and budget; remember that it's the first official presentation of your wedding.

Ordering your invitations: Ideally, you should order your invitations three to four months before the wedding to allow enough time for delivery and addressing. Some shops offer last-minute printing in as little as a week, or even a single day. Invitations should be sent three to four weeks before your wedding. Ask if you can get the envelopes in advance for addressing; having an addressing-and-stuffing party can be a fun time-saver.

Wording the invitation: When you order, be sure to work with a shop that specializes in invitations. Its expert staff can help you fill out the complicated order forms, and will help you with correct wording for the invitation.

Correct spelling of names: Etiquette books cover proper addressing of both inner and outer envelopes. Before addressing your envelopes, make sure you double check on your master list for the CORRECT spelling of names.

Engagement announcements: They are always good to send, especially to out-of-town guests.

Calligraphy and addressing: Invitations can be calligraphed by machine or by hand. This adds a very personal touch to your invitations.

Wedding announcements: If you choose to send wedding announcements, select a style that will complement the invitations sent earlier. You may wish to include your new address and other personal information.

Design your Master Guest List to serve many purposes: Include space to record the dates that invitations are sent and responses received, as well as the number of guests expected for each invitation. You can use the same list to record dates that you send thank you notes.

Where do you draw the line with the guest list? The bride and groom and their families first develop a "wish list" of guests. Then the list is narrowed down to the attendance for which you have budgeted. Usually attendance will be between 60% and 75%, whether family and friends live in town or not. A good rule of thumb to narrow down the list: if you haven't made contact with people in the last year, leave them off.

Single friends and guests: If friends are single, you are not obliged to invite a guest or escort. If you do decide to include their guests, find out their names and addresses and send them separate invitations; we do not recommend adding "and Guest" to an invitation. If an unmarried couple is living together, then you can send one invitation with both names listed alphabetically.

Don't forget to send invitations to wedding party members: Remember to send invitations to the special people playing a role in your wedding: parents, grandparents, clergy, attendants and immediate family. You can send an invitation to yourself so that you know when guests will receive them.

Number of invitations needed: When determining the number of invitations to order, combine lists from the bride's parents, the groom's parents, the bride, and the groom. The mother of the bride or the bride should discuss the number of invitations available to the groom's family with the groom's mother. When the lists are compiled, additions, deletions, and corrections can be made by anyone.