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Wedding Invitations

Wedding_Invitations_1There's a classic Seinfeld episode in which the fiance of George Costanza, happily working on sending off her wedding invitations, keels over and dies -- a victim of the poisonous glue on the cheap envelopes George made her buy. Not only is this an object lesson to brides everywhere, it's proof -- given his reaction and later actions -- that George is a self-centered slimeball (as if any further proof were needed). While Seinfeld plays the situation for laughs, the episode at least acknowledges the existence of wedding invitations -- a rare occurrence in those fantasy approximations of life that we call fiction. In real life (such as it is), it's hard to underestimate the importance of your wedding invitations. In many cases, they're the formal announcement, the banns and first notice, that you plan to hitch your star to someone else's.

Like most things about your wedding, your wedding invitations should reflect a combination of your personal style and your chosen wedding traditions. Once you've put together your guest list -- which is sure to be a trying exercise, especially if you're trying the limit the size of the wedding party -- you'll have to decide how you want to present yourselves to your prospective guests. It's true that you'll probably want to call them up first, but this doesn't replace a formal invitation. After all, people love to have something that they can hold onto, examine, and paste into their scrapbooks; and besides, a formal invitation lets you include everything from special instructions on the style of dress to directions on how to get to the wedding ceremony location.

The chosen style, colors, and theme of your wedding should all come through in your invitations. Whether they're elegant engraved invitations written in a calligraphic font on creamy parchment, or colorful foil-inlaid monstrosities that fairly scream, "Tacky!", the invitations will have a good bit to say about both you and your groom, and the approach you're taking to your impending nuptials. Traditional and staid, or flashy and flamboyant? That's up to you, and it should be reflected in the invitation. Your invitations also should offer explicit cues as to precisely the type of ceremony and reception your guests should expect. Will it be champagne, caviar, and ballroom dancing at the reception, or Cold Duck, Cheez-Whiz, and boot-scootin'? That's what your guests really want to know.

There's a vast array of choices out there when it comes to wedding invitations. No longer are you limited to the formal, the plain, the traditional. If you want to have a NASCAR-themed wedding, there are NASCAR-themed wedding invitations -- and if you can't find any, someone is sure to be willing to print some up for you. You'll also have to choose from a plethora of ink styles and colors, as well as fonts. Whatever you choose, you should keep these items in mind when selecting your invitations:

- The setting. Your invitations should reflect the wedding location, whether you've planning a Hawaiian beach wedding or a church wedding back home.
- The color scheme. Formal and conservative, or colorful?
- The theme. Star Trek, NASCAR, traditional white wedding -- the works.- Ethnic or religious aspects. There's a big difference between a traditional Greek wedding and a tradition Chinese wedding, and you should make your guests aware of the option you've chosen.
- Photos. Would you like to include photos of the happy couple with your invites, or cute and cuddly children?
- Budget. If your wedding budget (and especially your wedding invitation budget) is limited, what you really want may as well be pie in the sky. On the other hand, you should get the best invitations you can afford, if only to put your best foot forward. But be careful of those cheap envelopes.

Keep in mind that you don't necessarily have to go through the trouble of designing everything yourself, although that's indeed an option if you have any of that snazzy greeting card software that's so popular these days. In normal circumstances, however, it's easier to head to a bridal supplies shop, either online or off, where they're sure to have a wide selection of wedding invitation templates you can look over and choose from. Failing that, a standard print shop may be able to supply you with the kind of wedding invitations you're looking for. Here's what you should always include on your invitations:
- Your names, and who you're the children of (especially for first marriages)
- The date, time, and location of the ceremony
- The location of the reception
- Type of dress expected
- An RSVP request (with phone number, if necessary)

You can also include a card or printout with other relevant information, such as directions to the church or reception hall. Just keep in mind the basic elements for your invitations, and that part of the wedding planning, at least, should turn out just fine.--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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