The MoBster Diaries

Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Global Wedding Invitation

Many brides and grooms have family and friends who live across an ocean or a US border. To get that wedding invitation from AnyTown, USA, to AnyCiudad, SomewhereElse, not only takes wings and jet fuel, but a correctly addressed envelope, as well.

Not quite sure of the right way to address an invitation for, say, Botswana, Taiwan, or Norway? Well, you could start with the US Postal Service's Addressing International Mail for tips about address placement and general addressing rules. This site will help you with the basics.

But I stumbled upon a site for International Address Formats that proved a huge help during a recent wedding invitation project where 50% of the guests had addresses overseas. What I like about this site is that it gives a country by country listing of addressing protocols, important since there are so many variables, country to country.

Sometimes the street number comes before the street name, sometimes after. Sometimes the postal code should be on a line by itself, sometimes right after (or before) the city name. Knowing the specifics will ensure your invitations arrive in a culturally-correct, timely fashion.

So if you have one or two or a slew of overseas folks on your guest list, double-check your addressing protocols with a trusted source, like USPS or the International Address Format site. That jet fuel needs all the help it can get!

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posted by MaryB at | 5 Comments

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Should Wedding Invitations Be Hand-addressed?

Simple answer? Yes.

I’ve heard all the arguments against hand-addressing and for pre-printed labels: nobody pays attention to the envelope, handwriting etiquette comes out of a pre-typewriter/computer age, anyone who cares about a label stuck on an envelope is petty. Well, the list goes on and on. Just follow some of the online discussion groups. It’s enough to sadden the heart of a lover of pens, inks, and fine paper. Sigh.

But let’s put this to a simple test.

You go to your mailbox, pull out a stack of mail, and start flipping through it. Bill, bill, flyer, ad, flyer, hand-addressed envelope, bill, ad, bill. Which one comes to the top? Which one do you open first, even if you don’t recognize the handwriting? I guaran-damn-tee you that hand-addressed envelope gladdens your heart in a way that no pre-printed label (even if from a friend) does. 

Why is that? Because it’s personal. It’s warm. Real ink on real paper. Someone took the time to address a card, letter, or invitation to you. Even if the script is hard to read, that’s the envelope that gets your attention. And isn’t that the feeling you want from your friends and family as they pull your wedding invitation from their mailboxes? “Oh, boy! Something wonderful!”

kate baptism addressing 4Your wedding invitation is the most important invitation you’ll ever send. You’ve spent hundreds of dollars on just the right paper, printing, design, and shape of these invites. It takes a wizard to assemble all the pieces correctly, tucking those darned thin tissue separators in-between the various response cards, directions, reception meal preferences, etc.

And you’re going to slap a pre-printed label on this work of art? Well, you may as well run off a few hundred “Come to Our Wedding” flyers on the old Xerox machine. All the expense for lovely paper and printing is for nought.

Elegant Scribbles Variety (v)If you have lousy handwriting, don’t want to bother, or are short of time, you have several options:

Call in your friends! Or family. You must know someone with lovely, readable handwriting. Ask a friend or two, a cousin, even friends’ mothers, to hand-address your invitations. Folks are always asking you “How can I help” in the run-up to your wedding, so take ‘em up on it. Have an invitation-addressing party (no wine until everything’s addressed!). This is your least expensive option. However, I suggest a gift card or bottle of wine as payment for this valuable service.

Call in a calligrapher. This is the most expensive and time-consuming route, but there is some beautiful, interesting calligraphy out there. Check online for a calligrapher near you. Most have websites with samples of their work.

Call in a hand-addressing service. I say this not in my own self-interest as partner in a handwriting/addressing service called Elegant Scribbles. Hand-addressing services are available in most places, or, like Elegant Scribbles, can serve clients in other locations. A hand-addressing service is sort of the best of both worlds – you get lovely hand-addressed invitations at a fraction of the cost of a calligrapher, plus a quick turn-around time.

Square LogoOf course, Elegant Scribbles would love to help with your invitations, but even if you opt for a friend, a calligrapher, or a local hand-addressing service, I beg you to hand-address those glorious wedding invitations of yours.

People will notice. Whether they admit it or not.

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posted by MaryB at | 1 Comments

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Hardest Part of Planning a Wedding

The guest list. There. Simple as that.

Not the dress. Not the caterer. Not the ceremony and reception venues. Not crazy vendors (though they do come in a distant second).

I guess you could argue the hardest part is finding a life-partner, but you should have that sorted before planning the wedding. If you're the only one contributing to the guest list, the level of difficulty goes way down. But usually two sides are building that list. And those two sides may have 3, 6, 12 people contributing names and addresses to one half of the list. Why, the pressure's enough to cause the stoutest constitution wither.

The very foundation of the service we offer at Elegant Scribbles - hand-addressing invitations - is the guest list. We cannot put pen to fine paper stock until we have a list to work with. Which means that your timely invitations can't be assembled and mailed. Until we have . . . The List.

Pulling that list together takes more time and effort than selecting, ordering, and receiving that lovely stationery. The guest list, after all, is a budget issue. How many people can you seat in the wedding venue or afford to feed and water at the reception? Once you determine the bottom-line number of folks you can invite, then the battle really begins. Prepare yourself for bargaining, pleading, and the downright ruthless striking off of names. Also be prepared for missing addresses, errant zip codes, and interesting spellings. Quadruple-check everything.

You may have always thought your best friend's last name was spelled "Green," only to find out that it's really "Greene." Better check that. Is it your aunt, your uncle, or both who rate the title Dr.? Better check that. The zip code for Boise doesn't look quite right. Better check that.

Wedding invitation addressing protocol is quite complex. Most stationery comes with the proper way to address outer, inner, and response envelopes. To get an idea of what you'll be facing etiquette-wise, check out resources online. One of my favorites is My Gatsby, but wedding sites like The Knot and Wedding Wire can clue you in, as well.

Many brides build their list on Excel or some other spreadsheet, or type them out using Word or a similar word processing program. Some use wedding websites like The Knot to create a database of names and addresses (and more). However you choose to do it, make sure it's easy to read and access. And that you've quadruple-checked the details. Once that's done you're ready to address the invitations.

Yep. It's easy-breezy as soon as all the names and addresses are on the spreadsheet or database. I wish you all good luck with it, brides- and grooms-to-be!

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posted by MaryB at | 0 Comments