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Wedding planning with Marcy E. Thornton
Pomp and Postage Stamps
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    In my last column, I discussed how flowers could make or break your wedding, should you choose to include them. This week’s is the first of two columns dealing with something that you absolutely must have in one form or the other: wedding correspondence.
    Few things evoke the “this is how it’s done” vibe more than wedding invitations, (which are really only the tip of the stationery iceberg). Rather than feeling utterly drowned by all the paper weights, fonts and envelope stuffing, try to approach your correspondence with enthusiasm!
    This is not to say that you should be grinning like an idiot as you lick your seven hundredth envelope. Just try to remain positive, and remember: your invitations are like clues you give your guests. A properly worded invitation not only tells people that you’re getting hitched at this location on this date, but also who’s hosting your shindig, how formal it will be, and if children are invited. Not bad for a few pieces of paper!
    But before I jump into all the details, there are a few things to remember when considering correspondence. First of all, wedding invitations must be mailed six to eight weeks in advance, so order them well ahead of time. This goes double if you want anything fancy, like engraved lettering. Secondly, be prepared to spend a little money. Whether you go for a professional printer, or you bravely choose to make your own, you really get what you pay for when it comes to stationery. The difference between $400 and $600 becomes blazingly apparent when your guests are “cordially indicted to the wedding of John Typo and Jane Misprint.”
Try This
    In her “The New Book of Wedding Etiquette: How to Combine the Best Traditions with Today’s Flair” ($12.71 at, wedding expert Kim Shaw strongly suggests tailoring the invitation to the wedding.
    “You don’t want a lacy, detailed, extravagantly decorated invitation for an outdoor picnic-style, casual ceremony,” Shaw said.
    “Just as most things relative to your wedding, invitations will vary with your taste and style of your overall wedding.”
    The best way to determine how formal or informal to make your invitations is to think about what you foresee the groom wearing. If your groom is going to be in a top hat and tails, then opt for a fancier, more traditional design. However, if your beloved will be wearing a cowboy hat and a wrinkled pair of blue jeans, then elevated language on the invitation would be downright sacrilegious.
    “The most traditional and most formal type of invitation is either a folded large sheet or a smaller single sheet. The paper should be very heavy and either ivory or white. For the most formal invitation there should be no embellishments with the exception of a raised plate mark or the bride’s family’s crest or coat of arms embossed without color,” Shaw said.
    “The invitation should be engraved (on the first page of a folded sheet) in a roman typestyle with black ink. There should be two envelopes, both addressed by hand.”
    Luckily, not everyone is expected to adhere to such strict standards of layout. Unless the Queen of England will be attending your wedding, you’re safe to play around with colors and embellishments to personalize your invitations, according to your color scheme and price range. Note however that extras like raised or colored text do add to the bill.
    Shaw recommends ordering all of your wedding correspondence at once. That includes wedding invitations, envelopes (outer and inner, if you’re going formal), reception invitations, reply or RSVP cards, wedding announcements, place cards, wedding programs, and even monogrammed stationery for the bride’s “thank you” notes.
    Ordering everything at once will head off snafus like mismatched colors, et cetera. As for how many invitations to send out, a really good rule of thumb is to invite three times as many people as you expect to attend. For example, if you’d like a cozy little gathering of 30 of your closest friends and family members, go ahead and invite about 90 people.
    Next week, I’ll discuss exactly how to word your invitations so that your guests don’t get confused, angered, or offended.  

    Marcy E. Thornton is a senior English major at GSU, and is engaged to become Mrs. Carl W. Bonebright in September of 2008.  She welcomes any tips, comments or questions via e-mail at
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