How about a hairy little etiquette conundrum to start your Monday off right?
This one comes from reader Whitney in Illinois. She writes:
I am having a destination wedding in Mexico in June of 2011 and we are sending out save the dates in about a week. They simply state the date, where the wedding will be and our wedding website. Deposits for group space will be due around mid-November and final payment is due April 15. My question is about the formal invitations: my fiance is questioning the reason for them. Besides the fact that I really want them, if we are sending out save the dates and guests need to make their decision somewhat soon, do we really need them? Guests will obviously have to book their trip in advance, most likely before they receive their invitation. So what would the point of a formal invitation be? We are also having a reception back home in early September. Is it okay to include the information and response card for that in the same invite even though it will be months ahead of time? There’s not a whole lot out there for destination weddings yet so I appreciate any advice you can give me. Thanks so much, Emily!
Great question, Whitney! I’ll admit, I had to think a bit before I came up with an answer that I think will convince your fiance. You’re right – in the age of rampant save the dates, guests generally don’t rely on the actual formal invitation to tell them where to go when. This is the case for many weddings now, not just destination events like yours.
So if not for basic information, then what is a formal invitation for? As wedding experts always say, the style of the invitation sets the tone for the event. In your case, the formal invitation will also serve to get your guests really, really excited to attend your wedding. Have you arranged a welcome dessert reception with marachi band for the first night of your wedding weekend? Tell them about it! Is your ceremony going to be on a cliff overlooking the ocean or on the beach with the sound of waves? Tell them about it! Since you only included the bare bones details in your save the date, you have plenty of reason (and room) to expound upon the adventures awaiting your guests in Mexico on the actual invitation. In addition, for a destination wedding, the bride and groom often like to include auxiliary items in the invitation such as a suggested packing list or sightseeing opportunities.
If you need some pretty pictures to get your fiance on board, look to Ceci NY for inspiration — she does beautiful destination invitation suites.
Lastly, even though it’s another mailing to send out, I would suggest sending out your at-home reception information at a later date. As you said, it’s so much later than the destination part of the wedding, and I wouldn’t want the information to get lost in the shuffle – and excitement! – of Mexico.
I hope that answers your questions, Whitney! Readers, weigh in — do you, too, think a formal invitation is necessary in this circumstance, or would you suggest something else? We’re all ears!
Photos in header by Millie Holloman, photos in post by Kate Headley