This can be a point of stress for brides. There are so many etiquette rules when it comes to your invitations. Thankfully, over the last few years the rules have become easier, and there are plenty of websites you can reference to make sure your wording is just right for the occasion. Depending on if you and your groom are paying for the event, or your parents (or his) or any combination of these, the invitation wording changes. Also, the wording varies depending on how formal you want the event to be. Again, my best advice in this department is to do a little online research before you get to the point that you need to make a decision. You don't want to feel rushed into anything, and the more time you have to look at options, the more confidant you will be in your final decision. Click here, or here for some help in the wording department.
If you decided not to send save the date cards, your invitations are the first "official" part of your wedding that your guests will see. If you are having a theme to your wedding, this can be a great place to showcase that theme, color scheme, or special detail.
This can also be a time to show your "green" style by using recycled materials. It is now common to offer online RSVP options. Just be sure to still offer a way to RSVP by phone or mail for those who are less "technically savvy." You can even create a wedding website for your guests to view with all your wedding details, engagement story, pictures, etc. (More info on your wedding website will come later, I think it deserves a post all to itself!) This is a wonderful way to show you are a "green" bride, while helping those who do all their communication online these days actually respond since it only takes a few clicks of the mouse.
Now to give a little overview on some of the styles that are available. (To make this easy I will use one website for all the examples, but I will give you a few other online & local options. Using a local vendor is a "green" option, and one I recommend if possible. If you can't get what you want locally, or for the price you need, of course shop around, but local is best when available. This is a way to get a very customized look as well.)
Letterpress invitations are a beautiful option. You can order all of your wedding stationary including invitations, reception cards, response cards, menu cards, place cards, thank you cards, etc. in a beautiful letterpress option.
A layered card can be casual or formal. You can also order matching response/thank you/etc. cards with these invitations. The possibilities seem endless when it comes to style.
Thermography invitations are a beautiful option that uses raised ink. It is more commonly used in a formal style, but can be done in a modern or contemporary style as well. Matching stationary for all purposes are available in this style of printing as well.
Pocket Fold Enclosures are a fun option. Everything neatly organized within the envelope. There are, of course, many options available when it comes to color and style, this is just one that I like.
This is of coarse just the invitation, all of the elements (response card, reception card, etc.) come together to create a pocket enclosure invitation similar to this.
A photo invitation is one of the newest options when it comes to wedding invitations. I would say it is for more of the modern, non-traditional bride. It is about as far from traditional as you can get, but it is a nice option if you didn't use your engagement photos for your save the date card...or didn't do save the date cards at all.
Another thing that can add a special element to your wedding stationary is a personalized ribbon or label. You can order these from many stationary sites, and if you have the budget it is a nice touch.
Here are a few other fun stationary sites to check out!
123Print (2011 color trends)
Invitations by Dawn
Papered Wonders, Inc.