Set the tone with the proper invitations for your affair
Vicky Katz Whitaker
Creators News Service
When it comes to wedding invitations, design and delivery can be as important as the message.
"Invitations set the tone and create expectations for what the event may be like," said Allison DeMuelder, CEO of Invitation Consultants, an online invitation company. "If you send a wedding invitation with casual flip flops on it and expect everyone to come dressed in tuxedos, then your invitation may be giving off the wrong vibe."
The fact that an informal invitation can go out without raising an eyebrow is testament to the sea change in the way etiquette is being defined by today's internet-savvy generation, said Alex Lluch, author of best-selling wedding planning books including the popular "Complete Wedding Planner and Organizer" ($30, Wedding Solutions Publishing, Inc.) and founder of wedspace.com, a networking site for vendors and couples.
Lluch has seen several factors at work that have been forcing couples to change the way they do invitations. One way to do this is to use online tools in place of paper. "Obviously this is a fast way to save money on printing and postage," he said.
Many web invitations, he added, "allow guests to RSVP online, which can save the bride and groom time and energy." However, he added that not all couples feel comfortable with e-mail invitations. "Many couples really enjoy having the printed invite as a memento of their wedding, as do many guests."
To get both and more, many couples are turning to pingg.com, whose free services and ties to Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia allow them to create and send stylish e-mail invitations for free. For a fee, the website also can professionally print and mail the invitation to any address worldwide, send it by text message to a mobile phone or even distribute it to a social network on sites such as Facebook and Twitter.
"In developing pingg, we were taking a modern approach to online invitations and event planning," explained the site founder, Lorien Gabel. "Our first concern was to create online invitations that were one-of-a-kind and appealed to today's savvy users who have their own individual style."
While formal invitations may have morphed into something less than the traditional white or ecru with black ink style that once set the standard, some basics still apply:
* Include a response card (either enclosed in the printed invitation or through an online site).
* Provide directions and other pertinent information.
* Send the invitation out six to eight weeks before the event.
"Nowadays anything really goes: color, font, shape, size, formality. With weddings, it's now about personalization and the invitation is introduction to your wedding style," said Jennifer Napier, onewed.com's marketing vice president.
No matter how much advancement there is in technology, Napier thinks printed invitations will be around for a while. "I do not believe we will forgo the paper invitation anytime soon. What technology has offered are more beautiful do-it-yourself invitation options."
Award-winning wedding planner Joyce Scardina Becker, president of Events of Distinction in San Francisco and author of "Countdown to Your Perfect Wedding" ($17, St. Martin's Griffin), recommended a save-the-date card be sent first, which she brands "invaluable" in light of today's busy lifestyles. The official invitation, she added, "should carry through the concept you originated with your save-the-date card."
Rena Puebla, owner of Coast Concierge Service in Newport Beach, Calif., finds that by the time they come to an invitation shop, brides have already done their research. "They already have their wording, layout and their programs in place." However, it's not uncommon, she added, for couples to make decisions together on all elements of their wedding plans, including invitations.
In fact, DeMuelder recommended choosing the invitation style, color, and wording as a couple -- "because that is what married life is like or should be like."