Invitations | UK Wedding Blog

facebook-profile-picture By Emily

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At long last we’ve collected our invitations! By the time you read this post, I hope we’ll have sent them out too—indecisive as usual, we’ve left things a little late and now it’s a bit of a mad rush to get things going on a reasonably timely basis.

Wedding invitations were one of the first things my mom and I looked into after I got engaged last summer, but when it came down to it Ben and I very nearly skipped print invitations altogether. There are so many gorgeous options out there, but once I realized how expensive our wedding was going to be paper invites started to seem like any easy thing to cut.

After all, it’s so much easier to go electronic all the way. No gathering addresses (assuming you’re a  terrible Millennial like us and don’t keep many on file), no addressing envelopes, no figuring out postage, no fiddling with RSVP cards. And there are lots of great templates out there; you’re certainly not stuck with a boring plain-text email in Calibri.

My mother, however, had other ideas. She feels that a wedding merits old-fashioned printed invitations, and since she volunteered to cover the costs and handle the addressing—the two biggest cons for me—I thought I might as well give way to her preference. While it’s true that your wedding is really about you and your fiancé, it can be nice to let parents (or other close relatives) weigh in on some points—especially the ones they care about much more than you do. This is doubly true for us, since our respective sets of parents are covering most of our wedding costs. And Ben and I weren’t against print invitations; we just didn’t care to put much into them ourselves.

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So off we went to Bowne & Co., Stationers. Located in NYC’s historic downtown Seaport District, Bowne is not only New York’s oldest printer—it’s also the city’s oldest continually running business, dating all the way back to 1775 (which may not be all that in the UK but is pretty impressive by American standards!). The sense of history appealed to me, as did the fact that it’s a small local business of the sort we’re trying to patronize for as many of our wedding needs as possible. They are in fact so local that they print everything on-site in an old-fashioned letterpress, which you can see if you pop into the shop—in addition to custom stationery, they also sell fun ready-made cards and other printables.

Onto the invitations themselves—once my mom had me convinced to go the paper route, we headed down to Bowne for a consultation. We looked at dozens of fonts, hundreds of ink colors, and more paper weights and envelope styles than I’d ever dreamed existed. I wanted something simple—invitations with ribbons and lace and frilly script aren’t my style; I’m more into clean and contemporary with a classic touch. We talked about what we did and didn’t like, and then we went on our merry way to wait for a couple sample designs on our preferences. You can see what we ended up with: a single font whose name I couldn’t tell you to save my life, blue ink, simple border and floral graphic. It fits my aesthetic nicely, and I think it’s a good match for an outdoor summertime pub wedding.

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We didn’t go totally old school, though. In the interest of keeping things simple (and costs down), we went for a simple one-sheet invitation that includes just the most basic information. It directs guests to our wedding website, where we’re listing a lot of the information that might traditionally be included on inserts—things like travel information and a link to our registry. We’re also asking our guests to RSVP via the website—given that our guests are split between the UK and US (not to mention a handful of other countries), I think it’d be too much of a hassle to deal with actual response cards. I’m a little nervous about how this will go, but I’m hoping it’ll lead to a higher-than-average response rate, given that most people will probably find it easier to make a few clicks than to mail a physical card back.

I’d love to hear what you’ve decided to do about invitations. Did you take the old-fashioned route or go electronic—or take some kind of hybrid approach?

  • We’re going the printed invitations route, and when I finally pull my finger out I’m hoping to illustrate them myself (inspired by the menus at Jack’s Wife Freda!). RSVP will definitely be via e-mail though – my brother and his fiance had such an issue with their RSVP cards, they ended up having to e-mail everyone anyway!