Monday, March 18, 2013

All About Mailing for Weddings

Q: My fiancé and I live in a different state from where the wedding will be held. We are sending the invitations ourselves. Is it absolutely necessary to mail the invites from my parents’ hometown? They live six hours away!

A: Even if your parents’ names are on the invites as the wedding’s official hosts, you can still mail the invites from -- and ask guests to respond to -- your own out-of-state address. If you’ll be the ones keeping track of the guest list, this makes sense and is absolutely appropriate.

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Q: I’m 26 years old and have been living on my own for a few years now. Is it OK to put my return address on our wedding invitation and respond card envelopes, or should I still use my parents?

A: This is a question we get asked quite often. Technically, invite responses should be sent to the wedding hosts, and the hosts are traditionally the people whose names are at the top of your invite. So if your parents’ names appear before ''request your presence'' or other words of invitation, tradition dictates that the return address be theirs and the respond cards should also be sent to them. If you and your fiancé are hosting, use your return address on the envelopes.

While this is partly a matter of tradition, it may also be one of practicality. Perhaps you’re holding the guest list and would like to check off names as the responses come in, it would make more sense if the cards were sent directly to you. If your mom is going to keep track of the guest list, it makes more sense for responses to go to her, even if you’re ''hosting'' the wedding. Look at your situation and do what makes the most sense and is most efficient -- it won’t make a bit of difference to your guests.

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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.