Saturday, March 16, 2013

Addressing Wedding Envelopes and Other Questions

Q: We are inviting approximately 200 people to our wedding this June. Although a majority of our guests live locally, there are about 15 percent who do not. My question is: Should I send invitations to the ''out-of-towners'' prior to sending to our local friends and family? I am also considering sending save-the-date cards, but wonder if everyone on the guest list should receive one of these or just those who will have to travel long distances to share our day with us?

A: The fact that you’re thinking of these things, shows you are very considerate and pay attention to the details; just don’t run yourself ragged with worry. There is no reason to have two separate mailing dates for your invitations, especially if only a small number of your guests live out-of-state. Our recommendation here is to send save-the-dates to those you feel need the extra notice. These should be sent four to six months prior to your wedding. Send your formal invitations to all on your guest list eight weeks before the big day.

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Q: I know that you normally send out invitations at least six weeks before the wedding, but a majority of our guests will be coming from out of town. How early should I send invites to give them time to get the lowest airfares and hotel rates? Also, how should I handle reserving hotel rooms for our guests? We are getting married in Florida in April, the time of year considered "peak season" -- how can I save our guests some money? Considering the cost, should I pay for my bridesmaid dresses, accommodations or airfare?

A: Kudos to you for being so on top of things! You’re guests and wedding party will be grateful. The best thing for you to do in your case -- especially if your wedding is being held in a tourist destination -- is to send out save-the-date announcements with travel and accommodation information as soon as possible. A save-the-date should be simplistic and offer only the necessary information. Because your wedding is during peak season, you should contact hotels that would serve well as a home base for your guests. Inquire about discounted group rates and reserving blocks of rooms. Once you have nailed down the accommodation details, simply let your guests know they should mention your wedding when they call to make their reservations.

Paying for airfare, accommodations or wedding party attire is totally up to you. Doing so is a wonderful gesture if you can afford it, but it is not mandatory. Footing the bill for all three would be costly, so you might consider covering just one of the expenses. For example, you could pay for their plane tickets or find inexpensive accommodations for them (i.e., staying with local friends or relatives), and let them pay for their dresses.

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Q: A cousin of mine got married recently (her first, his second). Her husband has a son from his previous marriage. We are hosting a major event and would like to invite his son, as there will be other kids attending that are about his age. How should we address the envelope to include him, or should he receive his own, separate invitation?

A: A separate invitation for kids is only required if they are 18 years old or older. Traditional addressing of the outer envelope would be ''Mr. and Mrs. John Doe'' (or John and Jane Doe). The children’s names are not shown on the outer envelope. Addressing of the inner envelope would be ''Mr. and Mrs. John Doe'' with the children’s first names beneath their parents. There is nothing wrong with putting ''The Doe Family'' on the outer envelope, but the recipient may not interpret ''family'' the way you intend it to be, so therefore it would be best to stick to traditional addressing.