Friday, April 19, 2013

Introducing, the infamous, M.

Photo by Envelopments

Your wedding invitation ensemble sets the tone for your entire wedding {where have you heard that before?}. When your guests open it up, the colors, motifs, and style all influence their expectation of your special day. They should feel nothing but joy and excitement for you as they turn to the response card to inform you they will be sharing in your wedding day when… “M____________? What does that mean?”

On most traditional invitation response sets you will see, the ominous ~ “M_______________”.   We have been asked numerous {ok, really it’s countless} times what does that mean?  Why is that there?  Many individuals, maybe even you, do not know what it stands for or why it is used. So, we decided it’s time to let the cat out of the bag! 

Allow me to introduce the infamous, M.

The abbreviation RSVP is actually a French phrase, “répondez vous sil vous plaît”. This translates to “reply if you please”. The use of the RSVP was a French tradition adopted throughout the years to become a standard invitation practice. It is polite and follows proper etiquette to inform the wedding couple, by their specified date, if you will be able to attend their big day or not {Please always send back your RSVP!}

The “M____________________” is used to dictate who is submitting the response. The letter “M” stands for “messeuir” or “madame” in French, which in English translates to “mister” or “misses”. 

More modern brides have opted to replace the “M” and just simply state “Name{s}”.  This takes all the guess work out and simply states what you are looking for. 

You may have even come across some RSVP cards that do not have a designated space to write your name.  It may look like a big blank space or empty area below the response deadline.  This is actually done intentionally for you to hand-write your response to the couple.  It’s creating a more personal interaction between the couple and the invitees.  Sometimes, especially if you cannot attend their event, you may want to write a little note showing your happiness for the couple and expressing your congratulations.  You can always do so on the back of the RSVP cards or inside if they are folded notes {Hint, that’s why some RSVP cards are folded notes vs. just single panel cards!}.

So the next time you see the “M________________” on a response card for any important event, most importantly for a wedding,  you can respond with confidence knowing you are completing it correctly by just signing your name on the line. 

Photo by Envelopments

Friday, April 12, 2013

The Mysterious Double Envelope... Where did it come from?

Photo by Envelopments

Love a good mystery?
Ever wonder the origin of the mysterious double envelope? Today, it is still standard practice for the use of double envelopes in almost any wedding invitation suite. The outer envelope is used for addressing and mailing of the invitation, while the inner envelope is used to specifically invite those individuals who you would like to attend the ceremony and reception. 

 In order to find the purpose of this old-time tradition, we must go back to some of the earliest examples of wedding invitations. In the Middle Ages, illiteracy was profound among the populations of the world. There were few social classes wealthy enough to afford reading and writing skills. Up until the middle of the 1700’s, most families would employ a town crier to announce the happy wedding day amongst the crowd in the town square. All who were in attendance for the announcement were invited; otherwise the news was merely spread through word of mouth. 

For some of the royal families, who could afford the luxurious matrimony practices, invitations were hand written using calligraphy from trained English monks. This practice was extremely expensive and therefore rarely done, especially considering not many of the population could read them. On many of these invitations the family crest would be present so that the many illiterate individuals would be able to identify who was getting married.
Back in those days, the postal service was still a new idea. Because of the available modes of transportation, items were either sent by horseback, horse and carriage, or even sometimes by foot. This was obviously not the cleanest, nor the most reliable delivery system. The mail would become covered by dirt, roughed up, and many times torn considerably throughout the process. Because of this, the double envelope was born! 

The use of the double envelope was employed to ensure the invitation, which was such a large expense, remained intact. The post would be delivered to the maids or servants of the household. They would then shed the dirty and torn outer envelope to leave the crisp and clean inner envelope, which was then handed to the specified invitees.
Nowadays, the postal service is extremely more reliable {and might I say, cleaner!}. However, this practice of the double envelopes is still used to present the formality of the occasion. Not only are you able to specify your guests on the inner envelope, but the number of envelopes used dictates the formality of your wedding and sets the tone for what the guests should expect. 

So now that you know the origin of the double envelope, you can appreciate the royal tradition, standard, {and cleanliness!} that it brings to your wedding invitation suite.

Saturday, April 06, 2013

Why you should say "I Do!" to Save the Dates

Should I or Shouldn't I?
Save the Dates are, in this humble designer and stationer's opinion, a no-brainer!  What a simple and great way to announce your engagement, your wedding date AND give advance notice to your out of town guests.  These little cards {or magnets} are a wonderful idea and should be invested in whenever possible.  Are they a must have?  No, probably not.  So if you are being conscious of your budget this could be a saver.  However, for around $1 each, a Save the Date announcement can also give you and your guests the peace of mind knowing they have your date and important information to make travel arrangements and plans.

The Do's and Don'ts
When do I order, and send out, my Save the Dates?
Do prepare to send them out early.  Some wedding timelines only suggest 5-6 months before the wedding.  This is fine if the wedding is local with mostly local guests.  However, if you are having a destination wedding, the majority of your guests are out of town, your wedding falls on a holiday weekend or during a popular wedding month {October is giving June a run for it's money!}, you may want to send them out sooner.  We, at the Birds & the Bees, recommend ordering them 8-12 months before your big day. {Yes, I'm someone who likes to plan ahead - thanks Mom!}

Who do I send Save the Dates to?
It's a good idea to send them to all your guests.  If you choose to be more selective with your mailing, just be sure that whomever you send a Save the Date to should also receive an invitation. {Hint...this means you'll have your guest list and count done early and that helps in all the rest of your planning!}  Be sure when you address the envelopes, you only address it to those that are invited to the wedding.  This gives you another opportunity to politely imply "No children, please" from the beginning, if that is what you are planning.

What do I put on my Save the Date?
Save the Date information should be simple.  You want to make sure you have these key elements:  Your names, the wedding date, general location {city/state} and your wedding website if you have one.  {Hint...Wedding websites are GREAT!  They connect your guests with up-to-date information and are handy for directions, accommodations, etc. for planning ahead! offers wonderful free websites for Brides and Grooms}  And that's it!  This isn't your invitation, and you don't need too much information, you just are giving your guests a heads up.

What should my Save the Dates look like?
There are two theories of thought on this.  This will be the first thing your guests see for your wedding so some stationers may suggest a more elegant or traditional Save the Date to set the tone for the big day.  A more common thought is to save that for your invitation ensemble and just have fun with your Save the Dates!  Be colorful, slap on a cute pic {Hint...great place to use those engagement photos!!} and show off your personalities through fun designs.  While your invitation should also be a reflection of you as a couple, it's usually a more formal appearance and shows what the wedding ceremony and day will be like.

Popular Save the Date styles include magnets.  Magnets are great because people put them on the fridge {Hint...they can be used to hold up your wedding invitation when receive it!}.  They are relatively inexpensive and easy to have photos added.  Be sure you also receive an envelope.  You don't want to order magnets from a company that does not also include the envelopes, because most of the time, it's hard to find a standard envelope to fit the magnet!

Save the Dates are a relatively new tradition.  They have become a "must have" for some brides.  The purpose of the Save the Date has stretched beyond just weddings as well, large corporations and organizations have seen the value in this simple little message for their events too.

So, are you planning on sending out Save the Dates?