Formal Invitation Elements


When embarking on an invitation project, the first step is determining which stationary elements are necessary. Here is a guide to some common invitation needs:

Save the Date

When inviting guests to a formal event, such as a wedding, a save the date is typically sent at least six months in advance. Save the dates are meant to provide convenience to your guests. Therefore, be sure to include basic event details, including the city, date, and event name, which will allow guests to coordinate their schedules and travels arrangements in advance. It is also courteous to inform guests if a formal invitation will follow and/or if there are any other resources available with additional information (i.e. a wedding website). While save the dates can include any other logistical information you would like, etiquette suggests to not include registry information.

Formal Invitation

This is your opportunity to provide guests with all the information they will need for your event. Remember to include basic details, such as time, date, and location(s) – but don’t forget guests are also relying on your invitation to be a preview of your event. Don’t forget to add guidance for attire, highlight who is hosting the event, and inform guests of any non-traditional elements of the wedding (i.e. an adults only reception). As with your save the date, it is not advised to include any registry information.

Accommodations Card

If you will have traveling guests attending your event, it is important to provide them with accommodation suggestions. If you have a hotel block, make it easy for guests to book their rooms by including hotel contact information and the name of the block. Over the years, accommodations cards have become an optional component – this information can either be an individual card, included on the invitation, or even communicated through your event website!

Directional Card

Help ease your guests’ stress by providing them with directions for the entirety of your event. Provide directions (and feel free to even include maps) to the ceremony, reception, and after-party locations. Make sure directions are clear for guests whether they are staying at the hotel or coming from their homes. Before finalizing your directional card, confirm with your local government of any planned road closures or construction – your guests will thank you!

Reception Card

Reception information is another element that often is incorporated into the formal invitation. However, if your reception and ceremony are held at different venues, it is advised to highlight the location change through a reception card. This card can be very simple – just highlight the location, start and end times, and any venue specific information (i.e. parking restrictions). You can also inform guests whether dinner will be served and what type of festivities will take place.

Response Card

Response cards are a key component to any formal invitation! You will want to make sure the card includes all information that you will need as a host, such as number of guests attending, guest names, dietary restrictions, and meal choices (if applicable). It is also an opportunity to engage your guests in your event. Recent trends have moved away from formal RSVP cards and are starting to get very creative (see some fun examples here). Ask your guests to provide a song for the DJ to play, make your RSVP card a mad libs game, or create an card that can be used as wedding decorations. Finally, don’t forget to make it easy for your guests to RSVP by including a stamped envelope or postcard they can easily mail back to you!

Now that you’ve decided what invitation elements your next big event requires, Paper Bag Invites, located in Columbus, Ohio, can help create customized wedding stationary for you. Just contact us at!

Invitation Elements

Wedding Invitation Timing

You’ve been planning a wedding so the last thing you probably want to discuss is another timeline. The good news is when it comes to invitations we already have the timeline ready for you. Just follow these basic guidelines to correspond with your guests and leave all the hard work up to us!

12 months before the nuptials Develop your guest list
9 months before the nuptials Order thank you cards – you’re about to start attending some showers
7 months before the nuptials Finalize the guest list and collect mailing addresses
6 months before the nuptials Let your guests know to save the date
6-8 weeks before the nuptials Drop your invites in the post
2-3 weeks before the nuptials Have guests return their RSVPs
1-6 months after the nuptials Send your guests a big THANK YOU

Need invitations for your wedding showers? bachelorette party? or rehearsal dinner? We can help with that too!

Located in Columbus, Ohio, Paper Bag Invites creates invitations, save the dates, and thank you notes all personalized to you! Contact us to create your custom wedding stationary.

Hand Lettering

Its no secret that at Paper Bag Invites we adore customizing. From invitations to announcements, we think everyone’s stationary should be unique to them. Needless to say, our love for individuality has also led us to an admiration for hand lettering.

Often confused with calligraphy (the art of penmanship) hand lettering is the art of creating letter designs. Each hand lettering project is a one of a kind creation of customized letters. Thats why we love incorporating this unique art into our designs – so each of your stationery pieces is undoubtedly individualized to you.

Hand lettering can be created in many mediums, including pens, pencils, brushes, markers, and even computer programs. Each medium brings a unique feel to the piece of work – just ask Mike Langley, a sign painter who is “attracted to the human quality” of lettering. Plus, just like any art form there are endless letter combinations and designs that can be created – take a look at Lisa Congdon’s  365 Days of Hand Lettering project.

Think you want to give hand lettering a try? From workshops to books there are many ways to learn hand lettering. If you aren’t interested in learning yourself but want to meet locals who have already perfected the art, let us know and we can put you in touch with some of our favorite colleagues!

Does hand lettering makes you swoon? Check out some of our favorite projects that utilize hand lettering on our Pinterest Board, and don’t hesitate to share your favorite examples of hand lettering with us!

Paper Bag Invites works with local hand lettering artists in Columbus, Ohio to create customized stationery featuring a unique display of lettering. Contact us for your next invitation, announcement, or other stationary needs!


nothing says something as beautifully as hand-drawn lettering