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Thanksgiving Cards for Business

The kids are back in school and the leaves are beginning to turn. The hustle and bustle of the holiday season will soon be upon us.  Every year we worry that we will not be able to get it all done including sending out those once a year holiday cards.  For businesses this is a great time of year for the opportunity to thank our customers for their past patronage and also a great time to market our products for a future purchase BEFORE the great rush of the holiday season.  Thanksgiving cards for business will give you a head start before the competition.  Why wait for Christmas greeting cards.  Thanksgiving cards give you an edge above your competitors.

1.  Be the first to get in front of your competition and reach customers shopping for your products and services.

2.  Get the attention of your past patrons before they succumb to holiday overload.

3.  Send a genuine message of thanks to your customers to thank them for their patronage.

4. Lighten your own marketing advertising schedule by getting your message out early and letting you give your full attention to November and December business.

There is an abundance of Thanksgiving cards for businesses out there.  They represent many themes beyond the simple message of thanks.  There are beautiful scenes with wonderful Fall colors. Some Thanksgiving cards feature patriotic messages with Old Glory which will coincide with our Presidential election season.  Some Thanksgiving cards show reflective themes with streams and lakes with sunlit trees of gold and orange.

At Invitations For Less we have exciting news for those businesses that wish to take advantage of this business opportunity by mailing Thanksgiving cards to their clients. Be sure to act soon to get the best offers.

  1. All of our Thanksgiving cards from Birchcraft Studios and Carlson Craft are discounted 30%.
  2. All orders for Thanksgiving cards for businesses placed by September 30th will also receive FREE return address printed on the back flap of the envelope.
  3. In addition, addressing of your envelopes will be professionally printed at a special discount rate of 25% off.  That is only 75¢ for each Thanksgiving card envelope. Folding, stuffing, stamping and mailing services are also available.  Contact us for the details.

Act now to take advantage of these offers. Don’t let the competition get to your customers before you do.

Remember!  The early bird gets the worm.

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Correct Postage for Wedding Invitations

“So how much will these cost to mail?”  This is the most frequent question we are asked.

Most brides and grooms will formulate a “Wedding Budget” when planning a wedding. For the stationery part of the budget they can include things like save the date invitations, wedding invitations, thank you notes, wedding ceremony programs, menus and place cards.  Another key ingredient to this budget is mailing postage.  More times than not the budget is underestimated and most particularly in the postage estimation.

Early this year the United States Postal Service rolled back the cost of the 1 oz letter rate to 47¢. As I understand it, the previous higher rate was originally initiated as a temporary increase and the 47¢ rate was destined to return as it has.   This was a good thing for the 2016 brides who are mailing an average of 150 -250 mailing pieces. However, many wedding couples fail to estimate the correct postage cost of the wedding invitation.

Forever Hearts – 47¢

Wedding Stamp 68¢

Wedding Cake – 68¢

A typical wedding invitation consists of the invitation, a reception card and a respond set which includes the mail back envelope.   When it comes to postage different factors will decide on the cost of the mailing. Weight, size, shape, thickness and addressing orientation all need to be considered before you run out to buy the prettiest stamps.

The following diagram and explanation taken from the USPS website (www.USPS.com) describes the domestic requirements for mailing a letter. Your wedding invitations need to fit into these requirements but some will not. When they don’t fit these requirements a surcharge, more commonly knows as the “nonmachinable surcharge”, will be added to your basic postage.

POSTAGE REQUIREMENTS for a LETTER

The following is a list of the nonmachinable characteristics:

–  It is square (minimum requirement is 5X5 inches which is not usually a problem with wedding invitations unless they are DIY)

– It is too ridged (will not bend easily)

– It has an address parallel to the shorter dimension of the letter ( addressing horizontally on a vertically tall envelope)

– The length divided by height is less than 1.3 or more than 2.5 (odd shape)

SO HOW MUCH ARE THOSE STAMPS?

Probably the most common factor to consider before the nonmachinable characteristics listed above is how much does the piece weigh. The great majority of wedding invitations weigh between 1 oz and 2 oz. A 1 oz rate stamp is currently 47¢ and the 2 oz rate is 68¢. But, if you have any of the above nonmachinable characteristics the postage will increase to 89¢. And don’t forget the respond return envelope which will take the standard 47¢ stamp.

My best advice to my brides and grooms is to take a complete set of your invitation, including directions, accommodations or other details you might want to include, to your post office for the official calculation of postage. DON’T pre purchase your stamps before you have the wedding invitations evaluated by the post office.   You could make a costly mistake. Or worse than that, they could be returned to you “postage due”.

About the author:

Kathy is the co-owner of Invitations For Less.  She and her husband Dan have been  consultants to wedding couples for over 35 years.  They enjoy working with clients to help them mail the most beautiful invitation for their special event.

Postage stamps shown are courtesy of the United States Post Office and can be purchased online at their website.

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Same Sex Marriage Wedding Invitations

Next Thursday, August 1st, 2013 marks a momentous day in the state of Minnesota. It is the day that couples of the same sex will be legally able to exercise their right to marry.  At Invitations For Less we have been helping gay couples design their Commitment Ceremony invitations for years.  How will this change our business?  Probably not that much.  The biggest change will be wording on the wedding invitations.  These couples will still commit themselves to each other as they have in the past but now they will use the words “wed” and “marriage”.  It really will be a small change on wedding invitations but a big change to their lives ahead.

Some wedding invitations and save the date invitations are being marketed to promote the LGBT theme with rainbow colors

or the silhouette of two men or two women. We also have these designs for those same sex couple who wish them.  These choices are really no different than the heterosexual couples who prefer birds or hearts on their wedding invitation.  It all comes down to style, theme and preference.

My personal feeling is that the wedding invitation choices of gay couples will not vary greatly from those of male and female couples.    I suspect we will see the same requests as we have in the past.  Pocket wedding invitations,  traditional wedding invitations, photo invitations, engraved and letterpress wedding invitations, traditional  and  vintage invitations, rustic invitations, invitations with birds, roses and hearts. . .  Whether gay or “straight”, all these couples still represent two people who fell in love, want to get married and share the first day of their new life together with friends and family.

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Place Cards for Entrée Choices

Place cards serve multiple purposes.   They are used at Weddings, Bar Mitzvahs, Graduation Parties, Christmas and Holiday Parties as well as Corporate events.

Place Card Varieties

Place Card Varieties

They advise your guest on where to sit but they can also advise the wait staff what meal to serve your guest.  Many of my wedding invitation customers are not sure how to effectively address these place cards and still make them appealing and coordinated with their wedding  decorations.  Actually, there are many ways to do this.

The simplest way to accomplish this is to write your guest’s name on the center of white or cream colored place card, designate the table number in one of  the bottom corners and the entree choice in the other corner.

Basic Entrée Place Card

Basic Entrée Place Card

If you want to add a little more color to the task, you can use alternating paper colors for the place card. Or, you can layer your place card with a base card “tent” of alternating colors and mount your written place card on the top.  The alternating colors of the base card will designate the entrée choice.  For example, purple could mean beef, silver could mean fish and so on.  Just be careful to make the colors easily distinguishable. Black base layers and navy base layers would not be a good option.  Be sure to clue in the caterer about the “code”.  It will also give the caterer the heads up in case any of their staff is color blind. Yes, seriously, this has happened.

Layered Place Card

Color Layered Place Card

One of my most recent options for designating entrée choices at your reception or social event is to use a little “bling”.  The position and/or color of the bling will be used to designate the guest’s entrée choice.  Place a colored crystal or pearl in the corner of your place card.  Depending upon which corner or which color will help the serving staff to know what meal to serve.  Upper right corner can mean chicken while lower right could mean vegetarian.  Different colored crystals in the same corner can also do the trick.  This is an elegant option while remaining very functional.

Place Card with Bling

Place Card Bling

Use and enjoy different options. Weddings, Anniversaries, Christmas parties, Graduation parties, Bar and Bat Mitzvahs, can all use place cards.  Make the design uniquely yours.  Be creative and still be functional.

Next week I’ll give you some more ideas on Table Number signs and some alternative options.

Happy event planning!

 

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RSVP – Entrée Choices

Entrée choices?  You had no idea something so simple could get so complicated.

Checkerboard Fusion Invitation

You have picked out the invitation and have the wording figured out but what about the RSVP?  You are giving your guests a choice of what they would like to eat. Oh and yes, those vegetarians and the children’s meal.  How do I know who wants what??

For a situation with entrée choices there is one basic element that your respond must accomplish.   A total number of chicken and a total number of fish just doesn’t do it.  It doesn’t tell you which person is having which meal.  It leaves you with a guessing game for the place cards or even more awkward. . . a server who has to ask each guest what they ordered.  How many people can remember what they actually requested 3 weeks prior?  And besides, that chicken placed across the table looks better than the fish they think they requested.

Here is a suggestion that we feel works very well:

Please respond by June 15, 2013

If attending, kindly list name and entrée choice below

Chicken Florentine or Minnesota Walleye

Name______________________  Entrée_____

Name_______________________ Entrée_____

If unable to attend, please list name here:

Name_____________________________

We have found very good results with this wording.  But many of our clients are asking also about entrée choices including vegetarian and children’s plates.  You can simply add these choices to the above but please consider the following before you add them on.

1)  How many of your guests are really vegetarians?  And then what about the lactose intolerant, gluten sensitive and people with nut allergies?  Where do you draw the line? Is there a price difference to offer these special dietary entrées?

2) Children’s meals.  You don’t really want a lot of children at your wedding but you have a Flower Girl and a Ring Bearer.  You also have the handful of nieces and nephews that will be coming.  That is all you are intending to invite.  But you put “Children’s Meal” on the reply card.  Even though you correctly addressed the envelope, your co-worker  with 5 little ones under age 8 responded with 5 “Children’s Meal” because you offered it on her reply card.  Now you have to explain to her that the reply card was not referring to her children.  Ouch!

3) You might wonder why we only put 2 lines for the guest’s name on the reply card.  The common denominator for invited guests per household is 2.  The most common invitees are Mr. and Mrs. or Miss/Mr. and Guest.  There are some exceptions but if we add more lines, some people like your co- worker above consider that an open invitation to bring additional people.

4) Some wedding invitation styles of reply cards have designs around the borders which limit the amount of text space.  In this case you can exercise the option of printing on the back of the card or the inside if the card is a foldover style.  This will cost additional for 2 sided printing but it is worth it.  Also, this is not a place to skimp on a typesetter’s proof.  Order one.  You’ll be glad you did.

Well now that you have the reply card wording accomplished, you can sit back and just wait for those little envelopes to arrive in your mailbox.  The next task is to use place cards to identify guest’s seating and their meal choice.  In my next week’s blog I will talk about different ways to identify meal choices on those place cards.

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RSVP Dilemmas-How many are coming???

Elegant Letterpress

You spend great efforts to find the right invitation and then the RSVP falls short of doing the required job – getting an accurate count of the people who are coming.  Why is that so difficult to do?  Well, the answer is in the details!

As I searched my own website at Invitations For Less I found very few samples of RSVP wordings that were acceptable to me.  This really hasn’t changed much in the last 35 years that I have been in business.  I work very hard with my wedding couples to find a wedding invitation that fits their style and budget but that is only the beginning.  Many wedding couples are apprehensive about invitation wording especially with the number of multiple parent issues.  They don’t think beyond to the respond wording which actually requires more thought.  But why should they?  They don’t send out wedding invitations every day. That is why you need a stationer who is experienced in more than just taking your order.

Black Pocket

 

The very basic wording of an respond card must include 3 things:

  • The date to respond
  • The name of the guest(s) responding
  • How many of the guests will or will not attend

Example:

The favour of a reply is requested by

June 5, 2013

M___________________________

Number of persons attending______

Unable to attend____

The date of your response should be directly in the middle of the timeline from the date you mail the invitation and the wedding date.  For the above example the wedding is July 5, 2013 and the mailing date is May 5, 2013.  For those who are curious,  the mail date is usually 6-8 weeks before the wedding.

The “M” line is for Mr., Mrs., Miss etc.  I still remember Michael, the groom I worked with who thought it was for the first letter of his name.  Sorry Michael!  Also note that a blank line used here instead of the “M” will probably return a reply with a blank line.  An alternate can be “Name______________” for those of you who wish to be a little less formal.

The fourth line of the reply above answers the most necessary question for planning.  How many of the people you invited are coming.  This is where you discover if your cousin “Mary” with her 5 children understood that only she and her husband were invited.  When Mary answers with “7” on this line.  You know she did not get it.  But best of all you know BEFORE the wedding so you can do something about it.  Imagine how you would feel if you didn’t know the number and she arrives at the wedding with all the children.  How you diplomatically handle this dilemma will be addressed in a later blog. Stay tuned.

The last line of the reply sample above seems unnecessary to many wedding couples.  You would be surprised how many invitees consider not returning an RSVP sends the message that they are not coming.  Hey folks – “0” is an important detail here.  A missing RSVP sends no such message and requires a need to followup.  This is another unnecessary detail for an event that is already overwhelmed with necessary details.  Please be courteous. Respond promptly either way!

The reply wording I discussed today is the most basic but not every bride and groom have the same need.  Entree choices, vegetarian and special dietary needs as well as children’s options are used quite a bit these days. The most popular respond wording today incorporates the option of entree choices.  This response is a little more complicated.

Next week I’ll discuss the RSVP Dilemma for entree choices.

Remember. . . If you have a wording issue that you are struggling with, don’t hesitate to send your questions to me.  You might be surprised how many other brides and grooms are struggling with the same issue.  I am happy to help.

Raisin Pocket

Posted in Wedding Invitation Wording | 5 Comments

Color Trends 2012

Carlson Craft has just announced that the following seven colors are projected to be “hot” this year in fashion, interior decorating, and design. That means they will be also be seen as popular choices of brides (and grooms) for their wedding colors. Ranging from black to begonia, here is peek at those colors we believe you’ll be seeing quite a bit of in 2012.

Black – Black tie affairs are making their way back on the scene, but today’s brides are bringing “black tie” back with personality, elegance and meaningful traditions. Boring and black tie may never be used in the same sentence again.

Malibu – This versatile shade of blue adds a touch of tranquility no matter how it’s used. Combine with lavender and pale pinks for a soft, feminine quality or with light browns, silvers or grays for a taste of the southwest. The sky is not the limit with this beauty!

Coral Reef – Watch for this color to make a splash this year as a top choice for weddings. With vintage weddings being popular, coral reef fits in nicely for a soft and subtle feel with just enough punch to stimulate activity and encourage socialization.

Begonia – This happy shade of pink brings forth feelings of youthful fun and excitement. Incorporate the light-hearted color of begonia to generate feelings of relaxation, acceptance and contentment. Here’s to good health and a good life!

Freesia – This elegant lilac purple with silvery undertones creates a peaceful, calming feeling for those exposed to it. Freesia soothingly tones down and blends the stability of blue and the energy of red for a tranquil, honest and reflective hue.

Tangerine Tango – Destined to be the sassiest little number of the year, this reddish-orange hue is here to boost our energy levels and spice things up a bit! Pairing the power of red and the warmth of yellow, you’ll be dancing all year long!

Apple – If you’re looking to grab some attention, you might consider a luscious color like red apple. The earthly color red is full of energy and power and when accented with a color like green apple, you’ve got a hot new color combo!

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“No Gifts Please” or the Bridal Registry

  • “No Gifts Please”

You are now getting married and combining 2 established households into one.  You really don’t want to add another can opener or toaster to the mix.  How can you tell your guests you don’t want any of those normal things?  The blunt answer is that you don’t on your wedding invitation.  The only thing you can request is their presence at your wedding.  The guest decides how to respond with their presence and/or their present.  To say ‘No Gifts Please” is neither appropriate or polite.  I know you mean well but you are essentially saying that you EXPECT a gift which should never be taken for granted.   A better approach is to spread the word verbally to friends and family rather than the command on your invitation. In conversation you can explain how you are combining 2 households into one and will probably need to let some things go.  You can even talk about your plans for saving enough money to make a larger purchase for some new furniture. You are conveying your wishes in a much better and more subtle way.  And best of all, you are not putting yourself in the position of offending someone who may have already started that monogrammed afghan.  Aunt Mildred would faint!

 

  • We Are Registered At. . .

OK, so you spent hours at Target and Bed, Bath and Beyond to put that bridal registry together and you want to tell everyone to check it out.  After all, why did you put yourself through all that if it wasn’t to tell your guests what you want for gifts.  Bridal Registries are wonderful things and very helpful to your guests but they should never be part of the wedding invitation.  Once again, word of mouth is the best way to get the word out.  With the world of wedding websites being so popular – this is another great way to get the bridal registry to your guests.  You can say something like, “For more information about us and the wedding , please visit our website at WWW. . . .”. This way you have invited your guests to view all details about you and your wedding.  When they get to the website, they make the choice to look at your registry sites.   You have made it available to them but they make the ultimate choice to view it.  Once again, subtle and polite.

Weddings are expensive affairs and most invited guests who are able to attend will send a gift.  But remember, as the person doing the inviting you should never EXPECT a gift.  It is the ultimate choice of your guest.

Until next time . . .

 

 

 

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How much does it cost to mail?

Postage to mail a wedding invitation is always a topic of concern to most wedding invitation buyers.  The bride and groom  will come into our showroom and look at all the varieties of invitations from pocket invitations to photo invitations.  Many couples will state up front that they only want to see invitations that will mail for the current 1 ounce rate of 44¢.  Being perfectly honest with them, we will tell them that the great majority of invitations will need the 2 ounce rate of 64¢.

Checkerboard Invitation

Checkerboard Invitation

The truth of the matter is that size, weight, shape and thickness play a role in how much you will be charged to mail your wedding invitation or announcement.  The dimension requirements are as follows:

  • Minimum height is 3.5″ by a maximum a of 6.125″
  • Minimum length is 5″ by a maximum of 11.5″
  • Minimum thickness is .007″ by a maximum of .25″

The envelope length is the dimension parallel to the address.  This is a given for most wedding invitation envelopes but if you are using the french flap envelope where the flap is on the vertical side, you will be charged extra. It is considered a “nonmachinable surcharge” by the US Postal Service.

Letters that meet one or more of the nonmachinable characteristics below are subject to the surcharge.

  • It is a square envelope
  • It is too rigid – does not bend easily
  • It has clasps, string, buttons, or similar closure devices
  • The length divided by height is less than 1.3 or more than 2.5


Birchcraft Square Invitation

Birchcraft Square Invitation

Special Attention for the Square Envelope

The minimum size for a square envelope is 5″ x  5″.  This is usually not a problem for the wedding invitation industry since most of them are 7″ x 7″ or larger.  However, as stated above, the square envelope is subject to the nonmachinable surcharge.  In general, the nonmachinable rate will increase your postage from the 64¢ for the the 1-2 oz rate to 84¢ because of the nonmachinable factor.

For most of the wedding invitations that we sell the 2 biggest factors for postage are weight and shape.  The 64¢ is most common because of weight and the 84¢ because it is square.  The thickness is usually not an issue even with the popular pocket invitations.  If concerned about the thickness, simply flatten the contents of your envelope by running your hand firmly across the back of the envelope several times.

Copper Pocket

Copper Pocket

You should always check with your local Post Office before mailing your invitations.  My suggestion is to take them to the window and have them weighed and measured before mailing.  Never drop in the drop box without having them checked first.  You don’t want to have any embarrassing surprises.

One final note about mailing. Don’t forget to stamp your rsvp envelope with a 44¢ stamp.  It is the proper thing to do.

If you have any further concerns about mailing your invitations, contact your local Post Office.  They will be happy to help you. And don’t forget to ask to see the current Love Series stamps.  These are stamps that coordinate with a love theme for the 44¢ and 64¢ stamps.  A nice touch for a wedding invitation.

 

 

 

 

 

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The Anatomy of the Wedding Invitation

Do you know the purpose for all those printed pieces in a wedding invitation?

Birchcraft #S 944

Whenever I work with a wedding invitation customer, whether it is in person here in Minneapolis or with one of our online customers, I am always questioned about the need for all those pieces of stationery that go in the envelope with the invitation.  Today I am going to go over the basic pieces and will hopefully shed light on the confusion.

  • The Invitation

This is the starting place.  The invitation’s purpose is to invite the guests to the event.  It should be the largest piece of the set and it gives the basic “who, what, when and where”.  It is usually inviting your guests to the wedding ceremony but there are cases where it could be inviting them to the reception. It often comes as a single “card”.  But is can also be a “folder” where it opens up without  any writing on the inside.

  • The Envelopes and the Liner

Most often invitations will come with 2 envelopes, an inside envelope and an outside mailing envelope.  The liner is a colored insert that lines the inside envelope. It is a decorative piece that usually corresponds to the colors within the invitation design.

  • The Reception Card

The reception card tells your guests the specifics concerning the reception.  From an etiquette standpoint it can be eliminated and the information is placed on the invitation if the location is the same as the ceremony.  If it is a different location, it should be on a different card.

  • The Respond Set

This piece comes in 2 parts. The respond card comes with a preprinted return envelope that is returned to you with details of how many people will or will not be able to attend your wedding.  With appropriate wording it can also furnish information regarding your guests’ choice of entrée.  We have some great suggestions on how to get a better response with this card.

 

  • Additional Enclosures

The other 2 optional pieces that are frequently enclosed in the wedding invitation are the Direction Card and the Accommodations Card.  The first gives your guests information on how to get to your wedding location and the other gives information about hotel options in the area.

These are the basic pieces to  a wedding invitation ensemble.  You have probably seen these pieces during your shopping or when you received an invitation in the mail, but now you will hopefully understand the individual purposes of each piece.

Stay tuned for future blogs where I will go into more depth regarding wording of these pieces of the invitation ensemble.  In the meantime, if you have a particular question be sure to contact me directly and I will gladly respond.

 

 

 

 

 

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