You’ve already taken the plunge, now it’s time to share the news so your friends and family can save the date and RSVP. Rather than mail paper invitations, couples are increasingly using electronic invitations to announce their nuptials.
Some might say that sending a wedding e-vite is tacky, oh-so-millennial and does not reflect the elegance of the event at hand – many wedding etiquette experts would encourage putting calligraphy pen to paper for a traditional wedding invitation — but holding to this paper tradition is fast becoming a thing of the past. Electronic invitations can save you time, money and are an environmentally friendly alternative.
Electronic invitations have also stepped into the 21st century from a design perspective, and there is no shortage of stunning options to suit your personal style. Enterprising couples can design their own electronic invitations or use templates, the majority of which are designed by the same people who create printed wedding invites. These electronic invitations are often animated and look like the real thing—they typically come in an envelope you can “open” and feature coordinated envelope liners and cards—allowing your guests to feel the excitement of a traditional invitation while keeping your design consistent across all your wedding-related activities.
However, sending an e-vite to a momentous event such as your wedding isn’t quite the same as sending an invitation to a barbecue or a birthday party. An electronic wedding invitation still needs to reflect your sensibilities as a couple, look great and, of course, be informative. We’ve developed the following guide on how to send e-vites, including some of the best free and cheap sites to send your wedding invitations.
Why should I send an e-vite?
Perhaps the biggest reason to go the electronic route is cost–printed wedding invitations can easily cost $1,000 or even up to $8,000 depending on the size of your guest list and quality of your invitation. A digital invitation, however, will run you about $100. Further, many digital invitation platforms allow you to easily manage your guest list and offer a space for notes. They’ll also save you a trip (or multiple trips) to the post office.
You’ll also be saving time for your guests, as well as those who can’t make it. Most e-vite platforms will let people to RSVP immediately and send a message along with their yes or no reply.
When is it appropriate to send electronic invitations?
Weddings traditionally require a number of paper items: save the dates, invitations with RSVP cards, invitations to engagement and bachelor parties…the list can (and often does) go on. As our world and standards of communication become increasingly digital, sending out paper invitations for each event can seem anachronistic and too time-consuming. Electronic invitations provide an easy solution to the wide variety of events you might host around your nuptials.
Even though e-vites are a decade old, ethicists and the wedding industry still have mixed views. Some experts believe that electronic invites are not appropriate for weddings but suffice for wedding-related events such as a bridal shower. Some more traditional folks believe the seriousness of a wedding requires paper, opining that paper invitations are the first impressions guests receive about your marital aesthetic.
Invitation specialist Marc Friedland suggested using paper invitations for formal weddings and electronic invites for more casual affairs. Some wedding etiquette specialists have suggested sending wedding invitations by snail mail and using electronic invitations for save-the-dates, rehearsal information and bachelor/bachelorette parties.
As you’re sure to have realized by this point in your wedding planning activities, everyone has an opinion (or three) about how you’re supposed to do things. While your wedding is an experience meant to be shared with loved ones, it’s your and your partner’s day. Advice about electronic invitations from sticklers to convention should be taken with a grain of salt; digital natives are changing notions of what is traditional and still looking sharp while doing it.
Who should I send an e-vite to?
Before sending out an invitation, try to get a consensus about what will work for your guests. Although e-vites might be great for tech-savvy couples and avid email and electronic calendar users, they may be difficult for older attendees or those without access to the internet. A happy medium may be sending out electronic invitations to the majority of your invitation list while saving a handful of paper invitations for guests who would most likely want one. Sites such as Minted offer custom printed invitations at a very reasonable cost, regardless of how many invitations you need to be printed.
Using electronic invitations can create additional problems – particularly when some invitees open your e-vite and delete it, or simply forget to respond. If this is a concern, and you don’t want to spend time following up with wayward potential guests, keep an eye out for companies that offer read receipts for your invitations and online reminders.
Unlike a Facebook event invitation, experts suggest keeping your guest list private.
When should I send out e-vites and what should I include?
You don’t have to send out save the dates (though you should if you have a destination wedding or expect a lot of out-of-town guests), but it’s customary to send out these invitations six to eight months ahead of your wedding. The official invitation should be sent out about eight weeks before the event. If you chose to forego STDs and only send invitations, give guests at least six months notice and send a reminder as the big day gets closer.
Whether you choose to send a single e-vite or go the traditional route with a save the date, let your guests know the date, time and location of the wedding, a wedding website if you have, and the names of the bride and groom, of course. If you’re hosting a destination wedding or a weekend of events, a save the date should include hotel and travel information, as well as an itinerary and dress code if there is one. If you’re only sending an invitation, note that additional information such as meal preference can be found on a wedding website.
Etiquette dictates that couples refrain from putting any information about registry or gift preferences on an invitation. Such information should be saved for a wedding website.
Should my e-vites have an RSVP deadline?
While you might be dutifully crossing off items on your mile-long wedding to-do list ahead of a several very strict deadlines, your guests might not be as prompt with their replies. Some websites will allow you to set a cutoff date for RSVPs and send reminders to those you haven’t heard from.
However, figuring out the right RSVP deadline is more personal. Three to four weeks in advance of your wedding is a solid RSVP date and will keep your head from spinning. Another good standard would be making the RSVP date approximately a week ahead of the day you need to give the caterer a final headcount.
Best online wedding invitations & templates
Gone are the days of boring, poorly designed e-vites. Dozens of sites boast sleek designs and customizable templates to match your wedding colors, and most are very user-friendly.
Paperless Post offers a variety of e-vite options, from simple and classic designs to invitations designed by wedding mainstays such as Vera Wang. Invitations vary by price – there are free options, $6 e-vites and the cost increases the more customization you want – the site allows you to choose designs that can be sent electronically via snail mail. Greenvelope has a huge selection of e-vites, each of which is highly customizable. You can work with a designer for an additional charge and a portion of every sale is donated to the nonprofit Mountains to Sound. Both sites allow you to track RSVPs and send messages to guests.
Pingg has over 140 designs and charges by single use or $30 a year for an unlimited number of designs, which means you can send all your wedding-related invites for a fraction of the cost. Although known as a wedding website host, GLO also offers paperless invitations and guest list management.
Where to find free online wedding invitations & templates
Free doesn’t have to mean cheap when it comes to e-vites. Several sites offer completely free wedding invitations with various levels of customization for cost-conscious couples.
Evite has a variety of free invitation options, most of which are in a banner format with customizable details and RSVP tracking. For a fee, the site also offers premium, customizable invitations. Note that Evite’s free invitations will show ads to your guests. Punchbowl has a variety of paid options to monthly members, but the site’s free invitations – which you can edit to suit your needs – are also good looking. Adobe Spark offers templates and a free invitation design platform that allows you to place graphics, text and type one step at a time.
Wedivite is an all-in-one invitation platform that can also serve as a couple’s wedding website, where guests can RSVP, get directions and even send gifts. The site allows you to create and send custom invitations through email Facebook, Google+ or a unique URL. 123invitations has a smaller number of free designs but is also a viable option.