Invitation Math 101

(via Wedding Invitations Online)

Invitations are easy, right? Mostly right. They aren’t especially difficult, but sometimes it’s a good idea to take an extra moment to think things through. I, for one, could have taken an extra moment to consider just how many invitations I really needed. I added up how many people I was inviting and… let’s just say that a moment’s reflection would have led to a lot less serious overbuying. What can I say? Math has never been my strong suit. At least I didn’t get too few.

So here are a few tips to help you navigate the math minefield you may not even realize you’ve entered.

Let’s start with an easy one, shall we? How many invitations will you need?

Start with your guest list in front of you. Every single person (that’s a person who is unmarried and living alone or with an unrelated person) gets an invitation. Each married or cohabiting couple gets one invitation. Every family with children under the age of sixteen gets one invitation. Each child sixteen or older and still living at home is treated as a single adult and gets one invitation.

So if your Aunt Marcy and her grown daughter April are both invited, they each get one invitation, even if they live in the same place. On the other hand your friend Dave, his wife Joan, and their adorable eight-year-old triplets get one invitation between them. But if Joan has a seventeen-year-old son from her first marriage, he gets his own invitation.

Your boss, Linda, and her live-in girlfriend Mary get one invitation between them, because they are a couple (this would also apply if Mary were Martin). But your sister Karen and her platonic roommate Carol each get an invitation since they are just friends. This, my friends, is how etiquette affects math.

So work out how many invitations that adds up to. Now round it up to the nearest higher multiple of 25. Why? Because wedding invitations – for whatever reason – are ordered by twenty-fives. And always round up because you want to leave yourself room for mistakes. Trust me, you will write the wrong thing on at least one envelope. If you order the precise number of invitations you need, you will wind up ruining at least one envelope and spend the rest of the evening wailing and gnashing your teeth in despair. You might even rend a garment or two. Don’t put yourself in that position.

Now we come to postage. One invitation, one stamp, right? No, not right. First off, take one of your fully stuffed invitations to the post office and have them weigh it for you. You may find that once all the inserts are inserted it weighs too much for one stamp… or even two. If the invitation is oversized, unusually small, oddly aligned, or features a large satin bow on the outside, it may not be able to go through the standard machines and need special handling. Those things also mean extra postage. And don’t forget that even if the completed invitation is an average size, and doesn’t weigh more than a standard letter, you’re still going to need a stamp on the RSVP card envelope.

That means that at absolute minimum each invitation is going to require two stamps. Many will require more than that.

Math isn’t romantic to most of us, but it’s a darn useful skill. Be sure to exercise it when planning your wedding.

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