Wedding expert Aleit Swanepoel offers advice about wedding invitations
When should you send the invitations?
If your guests are local, you can send a save-the-date by email 3 to 6 months in advance with the date and ask them to indicate whether they can make it or not. This will eliminate resending invitations. Guests living overseas need 6 months to a year to plan and make travel arrangements. You can send the invitation out 6 weeks in advance if numbers are high to cut down guest numbers.
What should the deadline be for RSVPs?
This is the couple’s preference but the norm is either 6 weeks before the wedding or one month after delivery.
Should you include your gift registry on the invitation, and if so, where?
South Africans like to include this on the invitation. However, I recommend creating a wedding website that includes additional details such as dress code, dietary requirements, map, RSVP and gift registry instead of having this on the save-the-date.
How do we describe dress code on the invitation?
Be very specific. Specify separately for ladies and gents. Dress code can be themed, e.g. ‘urban chic’ or ‘winelands cocktail’. If your event is formal, be specific. Say ‘black tie’.
Do we have to include a partner on every invitation?
It’s not ethical to invite people to an evening event on their own. It’s also not safe these days and uncomfortable to be without a plus one. However, if there is a large young crowd who are mostly single, place them as a group at a table and ensure you have a shuttle service so nobody drives home intoxicated.
In the case of a traditional wedding with different ceremonies, are these all listed on one invite? Or does one send separate invitations?
Send separate invitations. Send an electronic invite for the traditional wedding and a formal invitation for the white wedding.
Paper or email? Which is best?
Email invitations are more eco-friendly, but receiving a hand-delivered invitation is charming. If you do, use recycled paper.
My rule for the guest list is simple. If they don’t even know the name of your pet, they shouldn’t be invited!