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    Pro Tips on Creating and Sending Invitations

    By Jacques Oskanian–

    First impressions matter, making tangible invitations sent out for weddings and other special events all the more important. Here is some advice that I have learned over the past three decades at my business, Hyegraph Invitations & Calligraphy.  

    Establish your timeline.

    “Save the Dates” should be mailed out six to nine months ahead of your wedding to allow adequate time for your guests to request paid-time off, book accommodations or flights, and, if needed, to find a babysitter. The Save the Dates commonly include your names, wedding date, city and state of the wedding, and your wedding website. Invitations are then mailed out two to three months prior to your wedding, closer to three months prior for destination weddings and out of town guests. All of the specific details should be included in your invitation suite, such as the time, venue name and address, reply cards, directions, shuttle information, accommodations and more. We also recommend ordering your “Thank You Notes” at the same time as the invitations. When guests are unable to attend, they often send a gift right away, and it is always nice to be able to send them a thank you note shortly after.

    Pro Tip: Keep in mind that you should only send one invitation per couple or household. While you may be inviting 200 guests, after you break your list down into addresses, you may end up only needing 125 invitations, give or take.

    Choose a style and stick with it.

    Your invitations will set the tone for your event, and offer your guests a preview to your big day. Starting online is a great way to find out what you like, and don’t like, about invitations. Save photos to your phone, clip magazines, or bring print outs to your consultation to give your stationer a better idea of your taste and style. Unfortunately, “elegantly rustic and whimsical with a touch of shabby chic” may mean different things to different people, so those inspirational photos will be super helpful to narrow down your vision.

    Consider how your invitations should feel, literally.

    Have you thought about how you want your invitations to feel? Engraving, letterpress, foil-stamping, thermography, and embossing are just some of the printing processes available to you. Some are raised, some are indented into the paper, and some add no texture at all to the print. On top of that, certain printing processes will lend themselves better to certain types of paper. Your stationer is an extremely valuable resource for help with all of the different combinations, and will have physical samples for you to see, touch, and feel in person.

    Give thought to how envelopes will be addressed.

    With your invitations complete, you will be eager to mail them out. Before you can begin sealing those envelopes, however, you will have to get them addressed. If you plan to use a hand calligrapher, make sure to order extra envelopes as they will typically require anywhere from ten to twenty-five percent overage. We at Hyegraph specialize in digital calligraphy, which is machine printed directly onto the envelope (no label). We have several hundred fonts to choose from, and can custom match your desired ink color as closely as possible. The best part is that it’s only $1.00 per envelope for black ink, and a quick 1–3 business day turnaround.

    Postage is important, too.

    Before you go and order 125 of your favorite butterfly stamps, be sure to take one complete and assembled invitation set—outer envelope, inner envelope, invitation card, RSVP card, RSVP envelope, reception card—and any other enclosure cards to the post office to be weighed. Other factors that may contribute to the final postage cost are irregular shape(s), bumps, and thickness. More often than not, the full invitation set is going to cost more than just one Forever stamp to mail, and you really don’t want to get 125 invitations returned for insufficient postage. However, given that you have a standard weight and size rectangular RSVP card, that RSVP envelope will certainly be a regular Forever stamp.

    Pro Tip: Don’t forget to also check the postage rate for any international guests you might have.

    Jacques Oskanian is the owner of Hyegraph Invitations & Calligraphy in San Francisco, specializing in digital calligraphy, invitations, stationery and more. Hyegraph is celebrating their 30th Anniversary this year! Jacques can be reached at or by phoning 415-626-0461. For more information:


    1-PHOTO Fred and Jaime (1)Frederick Sullivan and Jaime Botello, who oversee the Weddings & Occasions page for the San Francisco Bay Times, are the talented wizards behind Sullivan-Botello Events ( and SnB Party Rentals (650 -877 – 0840 , Both are Certified Wedding Planners with extensive experience in creating memorable, personalized events for special occasions. Their rental service is incredible, offering everything from beautiful gold Chiavari chairs to LED dance floors, and all at competitive prices. They are the creators of the Gay Vanity Wedding Show and are longstanding members of the Golden Gate Business Association, which is the nation’s first LGBT Chamber of Commerce.