ANNOUNCING YOUR ENGAGEMENT Share your good news with your families as soon as possible - it's only right that they hear it from you first. If you'd also like to announce your engagement formally in both of your hometown papers, contact the lifestyles editor to learn the appropriate way to prepare your information. Ask if photos are also accepted. The simplest, customary form of preparing your announcement is to type it on an 81/2" x 11" sheet. The following sample will give you an idea of how to write your copy:
ORDERING INVITATIONS Order your invitations at least three months in advance to give you plenty of time for printing, addressing, and mailing. If it's a very formal wedding, choose a rich, creamy paper. If it's semiformal, you have many options in paper stocks and colors from which to choose. It's also acceptable to include more personal touches such as a poem, a Bible verse, or other sayings.
ADDRESSING INVITATIONS Create a master list of names in order to avoid duplicates. Make sure all names and titles are spelled correctly and addresses are accurate. Below are some typical examples of different addressing styles. When addressing invitations to married couples, use the following format:
Keep in mind that many women have retained their maiden names or prefer to be called by their titles or professional names. In these cases, you may send one invitation to both husband and wife, putting her name above his on the envelope. Follow the same rule for couples with different last names or unmarried couples living together.
Be sure to write out in full the names of streets, cities, and states as well. Don't send an invitation to a couple and "family." Instead, on the inner envelope, include the name of each child invited as:
Adult members of a family who are over 18 should always receive separate invitations. You may, however, send one invitation to two sisters or brothers living together at one address. Generally, each invited guest should receive a personal invitation to your wedding, so avoid wordings like "and guest." Make an effort to find out the address of the guest and send a separate invitation.
MAILING INVITATIONS Invitations are usually mailed four to six weeks before the wedding. Do send invitations to your wedding official, your fiance's immediate family, all members of the wedding party, and a guest list made up of both your friends and his, as well as other relatives and coworkers with whom you want to share your day. Keep in mind your budget limitations and refrain from letting your list get out of control. Selection may sometimes be difficult, but it is best to stick as closely as possible to your list.
If you haven't received an RSVP by two weeks before the wedding, have a family member call and check. When each invitation is accounted for, tell your caterer how many guests to expect.
POSTAGE FOR INVITATIONS Remember before purchasing stamps for your invitations to go to the post office and have the invitation weighed. Normally the postage will be 42 cents, but if the invitation is large or has many inserts it might require more postage. Also, it is fun to have your invitations post-marked at a special location (i.e. Bridal Veil in Oregon is a popular place). You can either mail the entire finished package of invitations there or hand deliver the package with special instructions.
SAVE-THE-DATE LETTERS Inform out-of-town guests about the upcoming wedding date far enough in advance that they will be able to take time off work or save for the trip if necessary. This letter can also give details about hotel accommodations in different budgets, special wedding rates and whom to contact at the destination and the toll-free number.