The best way to set the tone of your wedding is with stylish invitations that reflect you. While the most stylish-looking wedding invitation is going to cost, the good news is that if you make the effort, spreading the news about your pending nuptial bliss can stay within your budget.

Here’s your guide to starting and setting the right wedding tone.

Wedding invites: The write touch

How to pick the general look of your invites and the design details to take note of.

The style of your wedding very much decides the look of your invites. Do you want a modern or traditional wedding? Will it be held in- or outdoor? If you’ve already decided on your fabric or colour, use these in the invites to reflect an overall theme. 

The right paper goes a long way in putting across “the feel” of your wedding. So do think carefully on your paper choice.

Pearlised paper, or paper with shimmer effects feels rich and looks luxe. Wood-free paper, or paper made with “recycled” paper looks more muted and modern – just the thing for an eco-friendly couple and wedding. Likewise, a thick, matte stock card comes across as a modern card with understated luxe.

As important as the shape and size of your invite is the style of lettering (industry pros call this a typeface or a font, when it’s a family of typefaces). The best way to decide on your font? Look at loads of published materials such as brochures, magazines, as well as design sites on the Internet.

A good wedding font is one that is just a little bit more ornate than those used daily, yet it also needs to be easily read (too cursive fonts will also require bigger sizing and can take up space).

Generally, a wedding invite can work with a maximum of two different fonts – one that is easily read, and therefore suitable for “detail” information such as date, time and venue. A second font can be more ornate and is used for the bride’s and groom’s names. Alternatively, you can also stay with just one classic elegant font and use different font sizes to differentiate the invitation wording.

A quick lesson in Font 101: Fonts are generally divided into three groups – serif (those with “tails” on the end of the letter), sans-serif (those without) and script (a fancier or cursive type, similar to handwritten script). Each font effects a different feel and look.

Most wedding invitations now are more casual-chic in look and wording. While not a bad thing, it does, however, take away some of that formal feel that helps to add to the “grandness” of a wedding.

If that’s not what you want, use a more formal tone in your wording, make sure your invite is accompanied by RSVPs, and programme order, etc. Accommodation and transportation information, in particular, is a must for overseas guests, so remember to include these too.

Most local card shops now offer both off-the-rack and bespoke cards – the difference is just in the prices.

Off-the-rack cards: refer to ready designs that the shop already offers, with prices averaging from $3 – you just order what you need with basic changes to names and details.

Bespoke cards: cards that are completely customised for your wedding with price depending on how complex the design is and the number of cards ordered. Some couples choose bespoke cards because they can include cultural touches, such as the use of words from other languages or mehndi-inspired designs that some Indian couples choose to incorporate.

DIY cards: With DIY cards, some couples find that they can save money (again, depending on the materials used); but the time needed may not be practical especially if you have a large guest list or are busy at work. However, you can consider DIY for other stationery items such as Save-the-Date, menu or place cards.

Be very realistic with DIY; besides the time factor, you’d also need to consider that ideally, all your wedding stationery should carry off one thematic look for a stronger impact. Whether that is possible with DIY (and impending stress as the big day draws nearer) is a question you’d need to think about very carefully before you start.

Big with wedding invites now: Envelopes that come with lining – essentially another piece of printed paper (usually tracing paper-thin) that lines the inside of the envelope.

Why have it? It helps add weight and bulk to your envelope, giving it a more luxe feel, and it’s another way which you can use to carry through your wedding theme. An envelope with lining will naturally cost more than its regular counterpart, with prices ranging between 50 to 80 per cent more.

A full set of wedding stationery runs the gamut from invitation to table cards. Unless your pockets are very deep, few couples would actually customise the whole works. So understand the different parts of wedding stationery and methods of printing to weed out what you may not need.

Order invites and other stationery; if you’re getting yours specially printed, all artwork should be settled or in the final stage and ready for printing. Get 10 per cent more invites than you need in case of spoilage or last-minute additions to your guest list.  

SIX MONTHS BEFORE: Send Save-the-Date cards, especially if you have guests from abroad.

THREE MONTHS BEFORE: Send invites and RSVPs for overseas guests; or start sending if you’ve a large guest list.

TWO MONTHS BEFORE: Send local invites and RSVPs.

EIGHT WEEKS BEFORE: Send B-List invites.

ONE MONTH BEFORE: Chase outstanding RSVPs.

This article was originally published in Her World Brides March-May 2011.