I’ve been speaking with other Invitation Professionals and we’ve been pondering these discussions…
How much do invitations cost??? Very difficult question to answer as first, how many do you need? Will there be reception cards and accommodations cards? How about your thank you note cards, placecards, napkins, programs, etc? Unique Invitations by Deborah carries all of these items along with cake toppers, flower girl baskets, ring bearer pillows and so much more. Along with the pricing, do you require Letterpress, Foil, Shimmer paper, Thermography, Laser cut, Ribbon, Pockets? All of these styles cost differently, depending on the printing method. Ideally, you should make a consultation where you will be able to touch and feel and see in person the invitation you like and not be determined by a photograph on your computer. Often, the photos look better and sometimes, worse than in person. No surprises this way and you have a person you can communicate with, check for errors, advise you in the correct path. In your experience, are Chevy/GM/Ford/Porsche/Cadillac/Benz the same cost? Do you expect them to be the same? Invitations aren’t either.
“The Invitations Just Go In the Trash!” First thing – the invitation is the first introduction to your special day! It sets the tone of what your guests should expect. Also, your guests will be looking at your invitation for 2 months beforehand so it’s not being trashed for quite a while. It may also be saved for a momento, framed, photographed for your wedding photos. You can put it into a shadow box with other wedding mementos from your wedding/event. While talking about going in the trash, what about the flowers, leftover food, napkins, and everything left at the end of the fabulous event? Your invitations actually get more bang for your buck as it’s cherished for much longer than anything else being used.
I hope that this article puts a light into some of your thoughts of your invitations. I would be delighted to work with you on helping you get your special invitation if located in Philadelphia, Suburbs, South Jersey or Delaware.
Schedule your free consultation today!! I look forward to hearing from you.
Wedding invites or any occasion invites got you going crazy? Find out how to avoid these oh-so-stressful wedding planning snafus.
Top 5 Invitation Mistakes and How to Avoid Them
Whether you’re having your wedding invitations custom designed or even if you’ve decided to go it alone, purchasing invites can be an oh-so-trying process. Hopefully, you will not feel that way when working with Unique Invitations by Deborah. Between the timing, cost calculations and diction, it’s hard not to lose track of something and make a mistake. Need some help? Here’s five things you definitely want to avoid:
1. Have Realistic Budget Expectations Avoid wedding invitation “sticker shock” with planning and research. Before you get your heart set on the “perfect” invite, determine your estimated number of guests as well as your bottom-line budget. Also, don’t forget to consider the cost of postage, addressing, and any additional stationary you may need (such as thank-you notes) when making calculations. If you get the invitations addressed with your invitations, it will match perfectly (type and ink color) and if your list is correct, you will know exactly how many you need and not make mistakes.
2. Don’t Procrastinate! A very common mistake in the wedding invitation process is not allowing enough time to choose, purchase AND print the stationary. Invitations should be mailed, ideally, eight weeks in advance, and printing often takes 3-4 weeks. So when should you order them? We say start the process no less than six months just to play it safe. Doing everything yourself? Take the amount of time you think you’ll need and triple it. (After all, you just never know if things will take much longer than expected.) FYI…I was addressing envelopes years ago and NEVER had difficulty – this one time, my printed decided to constantly jam. I needed to reprint everything and the new envelopes cost me $35.00. That’s a lot of jams.
3. Order the Correct Quantity “Correct quantity” not only means too few invitations, but also too many! When placing your order, be sure to account for late additions to the wedding, lost invites and keepsakes. It’s generally suggested that you order 10-15% more invites than you think you need. Quick tip: Avoid ordering too many invitations by organizing your guest list by couple and family rather than individually.
4. Avoid Typos (Duh!) Proofread, proofread, proofread! Ask your grammatically-inclined family members and friends to read over your invitation proof a gazillion times, and even when they have given you the thumbs up, look over it one more time. How embarrassing would it be to send out an invitation with your mother-in-law’s name spelled incorrectly? (Can you say mortifying times ten?!?) Remember the movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding??? I highly recommend a proof of your invitation and Unique Invitations always gives you a proof of your order before finalizing. I had a client years ago who forgot to put “Dr.” for her father-in-law. We had to reprint the order. Expensive mistake.
5. Use the Right Postage This one seems like a no-brainer, but don’t assume your invitations require the standard postage amount. Compile one complete invitation including any enclosures, and take it down to your local post office to have it weighed before placing postage on the envelope. Ask the post office to verify the size of the envelope. Sometimes what seems like a standard size isn’t and you don’t want your envelopes returned. You should also ask the post office about any upcoming postage increases as you may need to buy the Forever Stamp, which is good no matter how many increases are made through the U.S. Postal Service.
Please let me know if this was helpful. I’d love to hear from you.
When coming for your Free Consultation, I will show you my numerous catalogs (tell me when to stop). Many have variations you can choose from to kick up the invitation to a more eye-popping level.
Shown is actually a Bat Mitzvah Invitation which I made into a Gorgeous Wedding Invitation. The bride wanted peacocks. I don’t have this without the backer card as it is truly beautiful. Shown below are other varieties such as a teal, purple or white shimmer pockets. What’s nice about pockets is you have all the parts (response, reception, accommodations, etc) contained and kept neatly together. I have a wide selection of backer cards and pockets to show you how it will look before you order.
Heres a beautiful Shimmer Bar/B’nai Mitzvah invitation shown with and without the backer card (layer behind). Both are lovely, it’s up to you. The backer card gives it a little umpf!
To kick it up a notch further, I tried it with different pockets. (Note – the cards are not glued down).
The first one (blue) shows just the invitation on the blue shimmer pocket. The next photo shows the invitation with the shapphire shimmer backer card on a white shimmer pocket.
Here’s a totally different style – This is named a Sep n’Send invitation. It comes in many different styles and papers – shown is a beautiful shimmer. It comes in one full sheet with perforations which separate very easily. The pricing is great as it’s an ensemble and one price covers almost everything.
What’s especially nice about the Sep n’Sends is they fit in the pockets perfectly. I broke this apart and inserted it (again not glued) in a purple pocket to see the difference. Both are lovely.
See the difference? What are your thoughts? I would love to hear from you.
Note: Not all invitations I carry work with the pockets but variations, even changing the type, ink color, layout, are endless.
Schedule your free consultation today where I can make magic by helping you design your perfect invitation for your special day. Remember, the invitation sets the tone of your event. I look forward to hearing from you.
Forget tallying chicken vs. beef or fretting over the cost of a sit-down dinner. Food stationsare a creative way to showcase the character of the new Mr. and Mrs. while wowing guests and pleasing an array of picky palates. Let guests feast their eyes and bellies on late-night nibbles, like French fries and sliders, or exquisite starters such as oysters and ceviche. If you hail from the South, why not amuse guests with shrimp and grits or barbecue sliders paired with a smoky bourbon. We’ve got 23 stylish, sophisticated and downright fabulous food stations to share with you and your guests’ taste buds.
1. Pancakes and Waffles: Have you ever thought about having your soiree in the morning? Or maybe you and the groom just absolutely love brunch? Picture this: A waffle bar complete with bowls of fresh fruit, dollops of whipped cream and a drizzling of local maple syrup. Add in mini quiches, piles of bacon and steamy hash browns. Do it! (via Weddings in Winnipeg)
2. Buttermilk Biscuits: Keeping on with the brunch wedding, now we look to the South for a little down-home inspiration. Marvel guests with an assortment of buttermilk biscuits filled with smoked turkey or honey ham and then pair them with your favorite sauces and jams. (via Andre Winfrye Events)
4. Mimosas: Your wedding reception will surely pop with bright hues from fresh fruits and a little bubbly. This colorful mimosa station sets the stage for the perfect wedding toast. (via The Party Dress)
5. Charcuterie and Crostini: A feast for the eyes and the bellies of reveling guests — charcuterie, olives, dips, spreads and crusty bread… by now your mouth is watering. (via Heirloom LA)
6. Caprese Cones: A handheld spin on an Italian classic — charm guests with a delightful display of caprese salad, served inside of a savory, waffle cone. (via Luxirare)
7. Pizza: Good food, great drinks and amazing friends top the charts. Make everyone’s day with a slice of their favorite pie… pizza pie, that is. (via Style Me Pretty)
8. Pasta: A pasta station with assorted noodles, sauces and toppings ensure that everyone eats exactly what they want. Buon appetito! (via Sarah Whitmeyer)
9. Wine and Cheese Pairing: Who doesn’t love wine with cheese? Take this classic pairing a step further and set up a station that matches the bride and groom’s favorite fromage and vino combinations. (via Alchemy)
10. Short Rib Sliders and Bourbon: Speaking of perfect pairs, what’s not to love about a smoky barbecue slider and a swig of bourbon to wash it all down? Serve your fave barbecue in a mini slider alongside a shot of a smoky bourbon. (via The Bridal Circle)
11. Tacos and Tequila: Finger foods are nothing new but marrying them with a mini cocktail is! Say, salud to the bride and groom with tacos and tequila shooters. (via Love and Lobster)
12. Chicken and Waffles: Honey-drizzled buttermilk waffles, crispy fried chicken and sweet maple syrup make for an excellent late-night food station that will surely gratify your guests. (via Nonsense and Sensibility)
13. Sliders and Fries: Do you want fries with that? If your guests are going to be dancing well into the night, be sure to replenish them with this American staple: Mini sliders and fries. (via A Style Collective)
14. French Fry Bar: Speaking of fries, keep your wedding night fryin’ high with your favorite deep-fried combo. We’re not talking plain old French fries and ketchup. Bring on the crinkle cut, shoestring, wedge, sweet potato or regular potato fries, and don’t stop there. Complete your French fry station with toppings and dips like truffle oil, aioli, sea salt, blue cheese, gravy, chili and don’t forget to pass the ketchup! (via Southern Bells Wedding)
17. Pad Thai: Offer your guests a little bit of everything and spice things up with a slurp-worthy Asian noodle bar. (via Creative)
18. Sushi: Freshen up wedding food with a gorgeous display of hand rolls and nigiri. (via Wedding Window)
19. Seafood Ceviche: Residing seaside? Offer a local, seafood ceviche complete with the bride and groom’s favorite catch. If you happen to have a destination wedding in the tropics, showcase the location with fresh mango, avocado and crunchy corn chips. (via Pure Joy Catering)
20. Clambake: Just like a day at the beach — fun, flavorful and carefree. A clambake food station is sure to make a splash. (via Catherine Ray)
21. Oysters on the Half Shell: Delight guests with the decadence of raw oysters. The subtle meatiness and briny juice make it hard to have just a few! Complete your raw bar with a unique mignonette, granita or serve alongside individual bottles of Tabasco. (via Southern Weddings)
22. Whiskey Tasting: Some grooms have a cake but really distinguished grooms have a whiskey bar. Outfit yours with a bartender that knows their stuff and can offer little tastes to parched guests. (via Harwell Photography)
23. Champagne: What’s a wedding without a little bubbly? Toast to your day with a classy and fun bubbly station. This one is particularly effervescent. (via 100 Layer Cake)
Recently we’ve received many invitations and I’ve spoken to my clients about things they’ve noticed and had to share…
When choosing your invitation specialist, ask them questions…Normal ones are: what’s the turnaround, how long does everything take..More important is: Do they stand by their work? What’s the procedure if an error has incurred? Errors are rare (with Unique Invitations), but we’r
e human and you should ask as mistakes happen occasionally.
Recently, my client showed me a beautiful, very expensive invitation that her mother liked that she’d received. She told her mother that there was no time. She said “of course there is!”. She later checked and no, there’s no time on that beautiful invitation. This should NOT have happened.
We received an invitation that I thought, for sure, it was ordered online where you do not get any guidance or suggestions. If you ordered through Unique Invitations by Deborahonline, I will not process an order until I’ve proofed it and made any suggestions. The state on the invitation was abbreviated. If you look at any etiquette book, the only abbreviations allowed are Mr., Mrs. and Dr. Streets, Avenues, Apartment and States should ALWAYS be spelled out.
Another client I was speaking with, when I asked her about informal notes (thank you notes with your name on it which you can use again later), she stated that she Never received a hand written thank you note before. We need to teach/guide people on more graces and etiquette.
Always proof your order thoroughly. When you deal with Unique Invitations by Deborah, when possible 95% of the time, I will sit with you and make you a proof instantly and then e-mail it to you to show your family/friends and be sure everything is perfect. Check to see if you like the wording, typestyles, layout…I will then make any changes needed so that your invitations are perfect!
I would be delighted if you would contact me to schedule your free consultation where I will let you see, touch and feel the invitation you’ve chosen. You can then see why one invitation is more expensive than another and see the true beauty of the invitation. Often, online does not show the true beauty of the invitation. Sometimes it looks the same but often it looks nicer or not as nice on your computer.
Call/e-mail/text me today to chat about your exciting event!! I look forward to hearing from you.
As those who follow me on Social Media know, my husband and I attended 2 fabulous but totally different weddings this weekend, both 3 hour drives from starting point.
The first one was a great friend son’s wedding at the Four Season’s Baltimore. Fabulous hotel, helpful staff everywhere to accommodate you. Apparently, awesome labels are the latest thing so this article is sharing goodie bag suggestions along with their labels/tags.
At the wedding at the Four Seasons, there was a beautiful bag stuffed with goodies. Not shown but always a plus is water bottles, Advil (which I used), Altoids, there were even plastic silverware and napkin for the bundt cake.
Above is just a sampling of what was in there. We didn’t want for anything before the wedding.
At the conclusion of the wedding, the wedding cake had these beautiful labels. Thanks so much Sammi and Corey!
Off to the second wedding in Long Branch, New Jersey. It was the wedding of my husband’s first cousin’s son and his lovely fiancee. It’s a very beautiful quaint shore point. One thing that really impressed us was this touch in their lovely bag… I love the sand dollar and the salt water taffees were very cute. Thank you Wendi and Evan!!
On the outside of their bags was this adorable tag…
In their bag were the usual water bottles (which I greatly appreciate). They had great goodies but my favorite was this little mesh bag with first aid items. Great touch!
The favor bags at the wedding had M&M’s to match their red, black and white colors and these cute bags with tags.
These weddings, like I said, very different but with very thoughtful touches even before the weddings. We had a blast at both! First with friends, the second with family whom we don’t see enough of.
Very tired and much to do so I’m going to say farewell. I hope you enjoyed this blog post.
I’d love to hear from you with your thoughts, comments, to make an appointment….
Recently we have been invited to numerous weddings/events and I have some envelopes from the past too. Below shows an envelope printed by the Invitation company and looks lovely and totally matches the invitation. It’s clear to read so that it will be delivered, the State is spelled out as etiquette advises – everything is done perfectly.
This envelope below was addressed on the computer and as you can see, it took a beating through the mail. Didn’t look so fabulous when it arrived. The State wasn’t spelled out either. I also advise going for hand stamping from the post office and hopefully, it wouldn’t arrive so dirty.
The above envelope is quite lovely. Only thing the printer wouldn’t do now (this was from a few years back) is they prefer not printing in gold or light inks so that it’s crisp and clear to read. Notice that the addressing matches the invitation perfectly.
If you don’t go the route of printing your envelopes, the above is the next best option (I always thought), using a clear label and printing it in a large, clear script font. Again, the State is not spelled out and it was not hand stamped and arrived quite dirty. If interested, this is a great reason why inside envelopes are a nice thing as it keeps your invitation clean.
These are the most convincing reasons to get your envelopes professionally addressed – The above came handwritten. If handwriting your envelopes, I highly recommend purchasing a fine tip calligraphy pen, practicing printing on a 45 degree angle and write your addresses with this. It’s won’t look professional, but will look a LOT nicer than a simple pen. (I used to do calligraphy). The one next to it is a plain white small label, it isn’t centered, it’s not large print, it’s not in script, State is abbreviated and it looks like an advertisement or something like that – NOT a Wedding Invitation.
Here’s another thought I have – we received an e-vite for an event. I highly DO NOT recommend this at all and would prefer any of the above envelopes with invitations to that. With an e-vite, we do not have an address to send a present, we don’t have a printed copy to bring with so that we arrive at the correct location. An e-vite may be ok for casual things, maybe, but the printed invitation is always BEST.
When planning your big day, there are expenses. Some you can minimize and some, I, personally, do not recommend. The company that I deal with has professional addressing which matches your ink color (unless light) and type and my favorite, the ink doesn’t smear. The cost for the outer envelope, after discount, is only $1.12 each – not a lot of money. I also have an awesome calligrapher who is only $1.50 each.
I hope that this is helpful. Contact me to chat, schedule an appointment, pick my brain – I’d love to hear from you. While trying to watch your pennies, I also have a wide range of affordable, lovely invitations – We should talk!
Schedule your Free Consultation today!! Have an awesome day!
Please note…This was taken from my experiences and not all things were DIY but what I could, I did and I saved quite a lot doing it myself and I felt it was less stressful as I knew how it was made and if something was wrong, I knew how to fix it.
Plan Ahead – With anything, if you have the time, nothing is stressful. If you do last minute, Everything is stressful. When I was doing centerpieces for my daughter’s Bat Mitzvah, I needed mylar in 3 colors. The most economic way to purchase this was Christmas door covers in mylar and I purchased them after Christmas at a considerable savings. I cut them out in the summer while watching tv. You often have to think outside the box for the greatest ideas and savings. For my son’s favors, his theme was Super Heroes so when I saw nice duffel bags at Old Navy for $3.95 each, I bought about 50 of them and because of the large purchase, we got a free shirt too. I walked out of the mall with 7 shopping bags and the phone number for their other store in reading to purchase the rest. This will age my son, but we even saw palm pilots which were originally $40.00 and slowly reduced till they were $1.00 each. Again, I purchased 50 of them.
By having plenty of time, you find that things you hadn’t anticipated needed some brainstorming. Like how to set-up something, having a large tote to carry your creations in alphabetical order for the tables or will your candles put white spots on the gentlemens’ suits while holding at the cocktail hour.
If you need to paint something like your centerpiece, foam base or other lovely items, take in mind that you need a warmer temperature for best results to paint and dry outside. Again, plan ahead.
If you are using something that’s battery operated, I highly recommend opening up one, even if months ahead and putting batteries in and turning them on. We opened them up shortly before and had to tweak all of them as they didn’t work and they made quite a lot of noise. In the end, they worked about 20 minutes. When I contacted the company, they said all refunds had to be within a short time after purchase. Oh well – live and learn.
Just the other day I saw something on Facebook where they had these rhinestone wraps on vases, napkins, candles, chair covers, etc. Very elegant. They were selling the ribbon to DIY but were sold out. Again, if you plan ahead, this wouldn’t be a catastrophe but I’m pretty sure I’ve seen similar items in craft stores and even Sam’s Club around Christmas time. Purchase it at a great price and do your magic. I’m sure there are instructions online. Note…if you use it on chair covers, check to be sure it won’t pull on ladies outfits or be itchy. That effect would be ruined on those guests whose clothing got ruined.
Keep your eyes open – you may often see the perfect item for your event and think – way too soon – the savings may be worth it to purchase now. Look in the Wedding idea isle of your crafting store. Often at Michael’s Crafts, they have free instructions for some crafting ideas. David Tutera has some great ideas as well as Martha Stewart. Again, by doing it early, you have time to tweak it and make it your perfect design.
This one is close to my heart…If you want to DIY or online Save the Dates or Engagement Parties or even programs, go ahead. If you want to DIY your invitations, I have a much better idea. If you schedule your FREE Consultation, I will be happy to show you beautiful, elegant, simple, inexpensive invitations which would be printed beautifully and correctly. You can then bling them up, place them in wraps, ribbons – you name it. If you use your computer, you could incur costly jams in your printer, smeared ink, wording incorrect, printing off-centered, and not grammatically correct. I had a client whose neighbor did this as his wedding present to her. They were horrible but she kept her mouth shut and came to me for professional invitations. She mailed her neighbors’ one to them and never said a word. By having the simple, professional invitations, you are still having a diy invitation as you’re doing the cosmetic aspect of it and making a simple invitation stunning and saving a lot of money. Another thing to consider – when you see the diy stationery – it seems really inexpensive but is it??? Look at how much, how many you get and normally, everything is ala carte too so you would need enough Invitations, envelopes, Response cards, Reception cards – do they all match?? In the end, what’s the total price and can you replace the items if your printer goes on the fritz?
I highly recommend your asking your friends and bridal attendants to help you as it would be faster and would probably be a lot of fun. Make a party of it – food afterwards as you don’t want to ruin your hard work. I had a client who was tying ribbons on her invitations. To make a crisp bow, she measured the invitation and got a wine bottle with the same circumference as the invite and tied around the bottle, slipped it off and back on the invitation. You then have a crisp bow tied with no invitation buckling and a delicious bottle to drink afterwards.
Do your homework, look online at Pinterest and YouTube, Think Outside the Box, make trial samples to see how it looks and how easy it is. Have fun!
Find out if you need a decorator to set-up your creations. Often it’s an insurance thing and you should know ahead of time. If using a decorator, have a clear sheet of instructions of how you’d like things. Also, check with your venue to see if they have any limitations such as hanging things from the ceilings.
Walk around before event to see how everything looks. Be prepared with a tool kit of scissors, stapler, tape, glue gun, first-aid kit (just in case) and anything else you used in your creations. You may even need extras if you have them.
I would love to see what you’ve created and thoughts of my article. I hope that I’ve been helpful.
Check out our guide to addressing wedding invitation envelopes correctly—according to etiquette.
by Amanda Black
Determining the appropriate way to address your wedding invitation envelopes can be a tricky process. As a rule of thumb, the outer envelope of your wedding invitation should be more formal, with titles and full names, while the inner envelope is more informal, leaving out first names or titles and last names (if you’re very close to the guest). Find even more ways to address your wedding invitation envelopes below.
At Unique Invitations by Deborah, you can, on most invitations, use their addressing software so that when they arrive, the invitations are all addressed in the same typestyle and ink color and my favorite, the ink doesn’t smear like calligraphy. The price is excellent as well.
A Married Couple
On the outer envelope:
Mr. John and Mrs. Samantha Holt
Mr. and Mrs. John Holt
On the inner envelope:
Mr. and Mrs. Holt
John and Samantha
A Married Couple With Different Last Names
List the person you’re closest with first on the outer and inner envelopes. If you’re similarly acquainted with both, list them in alphabetical order.
On the outer envelope:
Mr. John Holt and Mrs. Samantha Thuente
On the inner envelope:
Mr. Holt and Mrs. Thuente
John and Samantha
An Unmarried Couple Living Together
As with a married couple, both names should be included on the envelopes, but in this case, each name gets its own line.
On the outer envelope:
Mr. Joseph Hirsch
Ms. Rebecca Strecker
On the inner envelope:
A Same-Sex Couple
Use the same rules you would for any other unmarried or married couple. If the couple is married, list the names on the same line.
On the outer envelope:
Ms. Celine Elgin and Ms. Jacqueline Purcell
Celine Elgin and Jacqueline Purcell
On the inner envelope:
Ms. Elgin and Ms. Purcell
Celine and Jacqueline
A Married Woman Doctor or Two Married Doctors
If a woman uses her maiden name professionally and socially, the envelopes should read:
On the outer envelope:
Dr. Anne Barker and Mr. Peter Underwood
If she uses her husband’s name socially:
Dr. Anne and Mr. Peter Underwood
If both parties are doctors, you can address the outer envelope:
Doctors Anne and Peter Underwood
On the inner envelope:
Dr. Barker and Mr. Underwood
The Doctors Underwood
Those With Other Distinguished Titles
Apply the same rules you use for doctors for military personnel, judges, reverends and so on. If both titles don’t fit on one line, indent the second line.
On the outer envelope:
The Honorable Jane Kelly and Lieutenant Jonathan Kelly, US Navy
Or if they’re both captains in the military:
Captains Jane and Jonathan Kelly, US Navy
On the inner envelope:
Judge Kelly and Lieutenant Kelly, US Navy
The Captains Kelly
Children and Families
Younger guests can be included on the inner envelope of their parents’ invitation by their name(s)—they should not be addressed on the outer envelope. For girls under 18, use “Miss.” Boys don’t need a title until they’re 18—then they’re addressed as “Mr.”
Mr. and Mrs. Michael Abraham
Daniel, Jeffrey, Miss Brittany and Miss Kelly
Children 18 and Older
They should receive their own invitations (unless they’re living at home with their parents).
On the outer envelope:
Ms. Audrey Abraham
Mr. Jack Abraham
On the inner envelope:
Note: If you don’t include each child’s name, you’re implying that children are not invited. That said, don’t be surprised if some guests still mistakenly assume their children are welcome. If you’re concerned this will happen with your guests, ask your immediate family and bridal party to help spread the word that the wedding will be adults only and add the message to your wedding website. In the end, you may have to follow up with guests who don’t get the message via phone to gently explain the situation.
From black tie to casual, our wedding guest cheat sheet has everything you need to know about wedding attire.
by The Knot
photo by JOSHUA BROWN PHOTOGRAPHY
Has a wedding invite ever left you clueless about what to wear? Don’t worry, the info you need is likely there—you just have to know how to interpret the dress code wording. Whether it’s black tie, white tie or something in between, here’s a basic cheat sheet for deciding what to wear.
If the invite says “white tie”
This is the most formal of all wedding dress codes (think state dinners and the Oscars).
He should wear: A tuxedo, a long black jacket with tails, a white pique vest and a bow tie. Formal black shoes and even white gloves for dancing are appropriate.
She should wear: A formal, full-length ball gown. Glamorous makeup and dramatic jewelry and hair are appropriate.
If the invite says “black tie”
This is the next most formal wedding dress code and usually means the wedding is an evening affair.
He should wear: A tuxedo. A black bow tie, cummerbund and patent leather shoes are also suggested.
She should wear: A chic cocktail dress or a long evening gown. The bride, wedding party or close friends can help answer questions about the appropriate dress length.
If the invite says “formal” or “black tie optional”
The wording here suggests something slightly less formal than black tie. This means that a tuxedo isn’t required, but the event is still formal enough for one to be appropriate.
He should wear: A tuxedo or formal dark suit and tie.
She should wear: A long evening dress, dressy suit or formal cocktail-length dress.
The invite says “cocktail attire”
This is slightly less formal than black tie and black tie optional, which means no tux required for men and no floor-length gown required for women (unless you’d like to wear a long dress).
He should wear:
A suit and tie. Lean toward darker hues in chillier months, and feel free to opt for lighter grays or blues in warmer weather.
She should wear:
A cocktail dress or dressy suit or jumpsuit.
The invite says “beach formal”
This suggests an elegant beach wedding—so dress to impress, but also dress for the elements (sun, sand and water). Anything you’d wear to a nice restaurant on a summer night is appropriate.
He should wear: A summer suit with a linen shirt (no ties required), linen pants (or khakis) and sandals.
She should wear: A formal summer sundress at tea or knee length with flat sandals. Makeup and hair can be natural.
The invite says “semiformal” or “dressy casual”
Depending on the time of the event, you’ll want to dress somewhere between formal and casual. Wear darker, more formal hues for an evening fete; opt for light colors and fabrics for a daytime wedding.
He should wear: A suit and tie, dark or light depending on the season and time of day.
She should wear: A cocktail dress or a dressy skirt and top.
The invite says “casual” or “daytime”
Generally, casual means anything goes—but jeans, shorts and tank tops are probably not appropriate unless they’re specifically noted as acceptable. For the purposes of wedding wear, assume business casual to be on the safe side.
He should wear: Dress pants with a button-down shirt or polo.
She should wear: A summer sundress or a skirt or pants with a nice blouse. Makeup and hair can be natural.
Not sure where to begin with your wedding planning? Take our Style Quiz and we’ll pull together a custom wedding vision and vendors to match, just for you. After that, create a free, personalized wedding website to keep your guests informed (and excited!) about your plans, and a time-saving Guest List Manager to organize your attendees. Even better? You can sync your Guest List Manager and wedding website to update everything at once.