Enclosed within your destination wedding invitation should be a response card including a self-addressed, stamped envelope or instructions regarding the method of reply which might include your phone number, email, or wedding website. Just remember, that not every guest is wired. So if you choose an online RSVP, make sure to have another option for those guests.
If you choose not to include a response card, include a line on the lower left corner of the invitation that says “R.S.V.P.,” the date by which you need the response, and the method by which they can respond (mailing address, phone number, email address, or website). This helps to ensure that the bride and groom and/or wedding planner have an accurate count of the number of guests expected to attend. An additional benefit of response cards is that they can also include the guests’ meal preferences so just the right amount of food and drinks are ordered.
Smart tip: Since people sometimes forget to write their names on the reply card, number your guest list, and then lightly pencil the proper number on the back of each reply card before tucking it into the addressed invitation.
HOTEL AND TRAVEL INFORMATION
Locating a hotel (or two) that’s convenient and affordable for your out-of-town guests is a common courtesy; you can pass this along using an insert card. You needn’t include all the features; just give the basic room rate, plus contact information. If you have negotiated a deal with an airline for discounted travel for your group, include this information here as well. And don’t forget the airport code, for St. Thomas, it is “STT.”
RECEPTION CARD AND/OR RELATED WEDDING EVENTS
When the reception will not be held immediately following the ceremony or at a venue other than the ceremony site, a reception card is used. This allows you move extra information like the time or location onto another sheet and keeps the invitation clutter free.
In addition, many destination weddings include more than just the ceremony and reception. Consider including a schedule of optional events and their locations such as welcome drinks, a night on the town, and a morning after breakfast just to name a few. This information can go on the wedding website, but that is not a substitute for a direct invitation. If everyone is not invited to everything, use separate invites or enclosures. Bear in mind, if guests travel for your wedding, they should be invited to everything except the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner.
AN ATTIRE CARD
Guests sometimes wonder what to wear to a wedding; you can tip them the wink by adding a line to the lower right corner of the invitation indicating “black tie” or other information. You can skip the attire card all together by including this information on the schedule of events.
A map may or may not be a helpful addition to a destination wedding invitation suite as many guests may use a taxi service to get to your wedding events or you may plan on providing transportation. But a nice aerial map of the island is always a charming addition to a St. Thomas destination wedding suite.
Several online map services will help you make one. If you want a more organic, creative touch, add artistic touches by tracing over a printout of your map, see if your calligrapher can create a map for you, or search for a graphic artist on ETSY.COM.
YOUR WEBSITE INFORMATION
In the technological age, I don’t recommend mentioning the wedding website on your invitation. I think the invitation itself should be as clutter-free as possible, but a business card sized enclosure with the web address for your website is a great idea. Not only can you avoid including enclosures all together; you can also have more information available on your site than would ever fit into your destination wedding invitation suite.
AT HOME CARD
Since a change in marital status is often accompanied by a change of address, and sometimes a change of name, this small card is a way to let people know how to contact you — and how to address you — after the wedding. The title usually reads: “At Home,” and was followed by the date you would return from your honeymoon, or your wedding date itself: “After May 22, 2010.” Nowadays, you can include your cell phone, e-mail address, and website, if you wish to share them. I think this is a great addition to any wedding invitation suite as it adds a little tradition to even the most modern invitations.
THINGS TO OMIT FROM YOUR INVITATIONS
The slips of TISSUE PAPER that find their way into invitations originated when all invitations were properly engraved (the ink can smudge, and the TISSUE PAPER keeps things neat). People who chose other printing methods included the tissue paper to camouflage their choice. If your invitation isn’t engraved, leave these out.
Even if your store provides them, do not include little cards that contain information about your registry. And don’t add the registry information to your invitation itself in any other way. It’s impolite for you to start the conversation about gifts. Even if some guests find it convenient, others will think it seems greedy. Ask family and friend to spread the news when people ask; you can also put this information one level down on a wedding website, and mention it to anyone who asks you directly.