There is a lot of flexibility in what pieces can and should be included in an invitation suite. While a few pieces are vital, stationery is designed to fit your event and what you need, uniquely.

“The typical invitation suite includes what we call The Basics: invitation, reply card and envelopes for both. Most clients will also have a details insert of some kind, and some order a custom map.”

Save the date

Save the dates are traditionally mailed 6–12 months prior to the wedding, and let guests know a date and the general location of the wedding. They are particularly helpful if you and your partner are hosting a wedding with out-of-town guests, or if you’re planning a longer engagement. By sending these cards, guests will know they weren’t forgotten, and will have advance notice to start making arrangements and securing their spot on your special day.

Because they are often sent early in the wedding process, most of the details and decisions for the wedding will not be finalized, and that’s okay! When sending save the dates, the only things you need to know are a firm date, the city/state of the event, and a general sense of how the day will look and feel.

Be sure to include:

  • Names of couple
  • Wedding Date
  • City, State
  • Venue Name
  • Wedding Website (Optional, although if you’ve already gotten your wedding website up and running, this is a great place to show it off and give your guests a place to go for all their questions)

Main Invitation

The main invitation card lies at the heart of each invitation suite. Traditionally, invitation wording has fairly strict etiquette. However, if you’re hosting an informal event, the etiquette can loosen a little. You can read more about invitation wording in the etiquette section of this guide.

Since the design of the main invitation suite happens closer to the big day, there’s more opportunity to bring in elements from the event itself. If you’re ordering custom stationery, your designer could incorporate a floral illustration using the varieties of flowers that will be used in the centerpieces, or use envelopes that match the bridesmaids’ dresses. View the invitation suite as a bridge between concept and reality, and use it to express your vision in a different format. The opportunity for creative design choices increases when you incorporate additional cards in the suite.

Be sure to include:

  • Who is hosting
  • Names of couple
  • Date and Time
  • Venue
  • City (State is optional)

Response Cards and Envelopes

While technology has opened up doors for how guests can RSVP, traditional etiquette calls for a good, old-fashioned response card. Usually the smallest card in the suite, a response card includes a line for the guests or a hired calligrapher to write their names and mark whether or not they’ll be attending the event. Some response cards also include a section where guests can select their meal preference (a large majority of venues nowadays allow guests to choose their entrées tableside, but if that isn’t the case with yours, then here’s where you’d do it!), and in recent years, it’s become good practice to include a line where they can write any dietary restrictions.

The corresponding envelope should be pre-addressed to whoever is collecting response cards, AND include postage as well. No matter how pretty the invitation is, people can get lazy and lack the motivation to mail that baby back in! If you make the process of responding easier with a stamp already on it, more guests will get the picture and do their best to drop it in the post in a timely manner. Mailing invitations in the proper time frame, so that they don’t have too much or too little time to reply, will increase the amount of people who respond as well.

Be sure to include:

  • Reply by Date
  • Line for guests’ names
  • Boxes to mark attendance status
  • Dietary Restriction Line (Optional)
  • Meal selection (Optional)

Illustrated Maps

When ordering custom or semi-custom suites, some designers offer illustrated maps. These cards are a fantastic way to show off your venues, and create a statement piece worth remembering. While most guests will opt to use a GPS to find their way, illustrated maps can give a general sense of where venues are located within a city. Not to mention, they’re really fun to look at!