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Compliments of Eugene Kam Photography

WHAT COMPRISES AN INVITATION ENSAMBLE?

Melissa has put together a list for you, below, to browse through to see what coordinating pieces you might actually need or desire for YOUR wedding. Should you have any questions, please feel free to contact Melissa!
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Save the Date
  
Announce with joy to all of your friends and relatives the date and basic location (city and state) of your wedding!
If you are fortunate to have an engagement time span of six months or more before your actual wedding date, you may want to consider mailing a "Save the Date" card. This card is a wonderful aid for out-of-town guests, as it will allow them a "jump start" on cashing in frequent flier miles or planning vacations around their work schedule. All the announcement need contain, are your names, the date, and place. The place should be the city or town of the event and the state (great for determining which airport to fly into). Exact times and ceremony/reception locations are not necessary at this time. They will follow the real invitation.

It is also helpful to include any group airline, hotel or car rental discounts you have set-up. You may obtain group discounts by calling a given company and seeing if they offer group rates. They might even be able to send you their own pre-printed enclosure cards with all the necessary reservation information.

With Hana Hou Productions, the A2 sized "response card" makes a nice "Save the Date" card, as all the necessary information should fit on the card, and any enclosures can be added inside the envelope.
  
  
  
  
the Invitation
  
What everyone waits in eager anticipation for - YOUR invitation!

The invitation is the key to an event. Your invitation is the first encounter your guests will have with your event - and your invitation should be a reflection of you as a couple from the invitation design and style, to the wording, and even down to the font and overall color theme. The invitation announces many things - who will marry, the day, time and place, who the hosts will be (bride and groom or parents) and even what attire to wear (formal or aloha attire). The invitation is typically mailed out 4-6 weeks in advance, and preferably 8-10 weeks if you have not sent out a "Save the Date" card.

  
  
  
  
Announcements
  
WORKING WITH A TIGHT BUDGET, OR JUST DESIRING AN INTAMITE WEDDING? 
Weddings can be stressful, and the stress tends to arise from the costs involved in planning a wedding. Many couples find that the guest list is often one area that needs to get cut. If your family and friends list is large, but your budget and guest list is not, you may want to consider an "announcement card". This card is perfect for all of the individuals who did not land onto "the invited list". Rather than inviting, it announces to them your names, the time, day, date, and/or place of your marriage. Many brides choose to use an almost identical saying from their actual invitation, but change the wording slightly to make it an announcement and not an invitation.
  
  
  
  
RSVP Card or Post Card
  
WHO IS COMING TO OUR WEDDING?

Good question. In order to answer it, you need to include a response card and a self-addressed & stamped envelope for your guests to return to you. Typically the host of the wedding is to whom the response card should be sent. So, for example, if the bride's parents are hosting, then it should be the bride's mother's name and address on the response envelope. If the couple is doing the hosting, then the couples names can both be on the response envelope along with their address. The latter seems to be the norm for orders we receive, where it is the couples who receives the response cards.

The response card "reply date" should be approximately 3-4 weeks before your event, but check with your caterer for their "final count needed by" date.

If you're having a formal sit-down dinner, you need to indicate the meal choices for your guests to select what they'd prefer.

A newer trend is to use an RSVP POst Card with the motif on one side and then the rsvp wording + return address on the reverse.

  
  
  
  
Enclosure Card
  
ENDLESS POSSIBILITIES!

An enclosure card can have endless purposes. The most common use would be as a reception card. If your ceremony and reception are in different places, an enclosure card is used to announce the time and place of the reception.

Another use for the enclosure card, would be to let guests know of a website you have set up with information pertaining to the wedding. Yet another use could be perhaps for notes, such as "please use the provided nanny service during the ceremony for small children". This card can help convey to guests what will happen and what is expected in the case of small children.

Or, if you're from a traditional family, you may use an enclosure card to (1) invite family, friends and the wedding party to the rehearsal dinner, (2) invite guests to a post-wedding brunch, (3) welcome guest to your gift opening, or (4) provide guests with your new address for after the wedding (a.k.a. the "at home" card.

  
  
  
  
Map / Directions Card
  
HOW DO THEY GET THERE?

Along with the invitation is recommended that one includes a map and/or driving directions on how to reach to the ceremony and reception sites. You may also provide information pertaining to parking (valet or other). You may also suggest alternative parking areas, should the designated parking lot be small, etc.

Please be careful with the placement of your map/directions in the invitation envelope. One bride I had, had created a double sided black and white map/directions, printed on a photocopying machine. They were included with the invitation, and the photocopy ink rubbed all over her beautiful invitations while in transit in the mail...It is recommended to have your directions printed on a press to avoid such a problem, or make a fold-over card so no ink is against the invite. The choice is yours, but please do think about the placement and way this piece is printed.

Hana Hou Productions can help you create a custom map and layout to coordinate with your invitation design selection. A one time design fee of $55-$75 applies (depending upon size and detail of the map). This does not include material or printing. Minimum order is 50.

  
  
  
  
Thank You Card
  
GIVE THANKS!!

Before, during and after the wedding, you will be receiving gifts. It's good to keep on top of things and write a thank you note as soon as a gift is received so that you're not overwhelmed with writing 25+ thank you notes at one time after the wedding.

Even if you'd like to include a photo from your wedding day with the note (as is customary), you can still write the notes before the big day so they're ready and waiting for the photos. Make sure to ask your photographer about turn around times.

When writing a thank you note, you should make mention the gift given (if any), so that the person knows their gift was received. It's a nice personal touch to think of something creative to say about each gift you received, despite the fact that it might have come from your registry.

Some couples choose to order their notes with a pre-printed message inside and place it on the table at each place setting at the reception as an advanced thank you.

Thank you cards can also double as a "Save the Date" Card, with the words "Save the Date" on the front, and your wording inside.

  
  
  
  
Ceremony Program
  
WHAT WILL HAPPEN WHEN DURING THE CEREMONY OR RECEPTION? 
A wedding program is a must to helping your guests participate in the ceremony. The program can list the flow of the ceremony (readings, songs, lei exchange, etc), the names of the attendants, the names of the parents, the officant, the musicians, a note about where to go for the reception, etc. Many guests tend to hold onto programs as a momento, and if you are an avid scrapbooker (or just like saving things), this is a must for your collection! It is a nice touch to look back ten years later and see what the flow if your day was like on the day of your wedding.

You can have a post-ceremony program to help guest determine the flow of the evening from the tossing of the bouquet, to the cutting of the cake. You can also use it to describe cultural items such as a hula, your 1001 Cranes, or a Chinese Lion Dance.
  
  
  
  
Menu
  
WHAT WILL YOU BE OFFERING YOUR GUESTS?

A simple table menu placed on each plate, or even one for each table, will let your guests know what to choose. A menu helps to add a nice finishing touch.  

  
  
  
  
Place Card
  
HAVING A FORMAL SIT-DOWN DINNER OR LUNCHEON?

When having a formal sit down dinner, there is typically assigned seating in which case your guests need to know where you've seated them. At the door to the reception area there should be a table with place cards containing your guests' name(s) and table number.

You may choose to order your place cards blank with no text so that you may write just the guest(s) name(s) and table number, or you can have them printed with your names and wedding date, followed by a line for the guest(s) name(s) and followed by another line for the table number.  

  
  
  
  
Guest Book
  
GUESTBOOK TURNED SCRAPBOOK!

How many brides out there have seen their parents guest books? They probably have it hidden away in the attic or in a drawer somewhere, right? To have a guestbook that you would actually want to keep out and on a shelf or mantle - start thinking and planning!

Here are a few options. At the reception, have a table set up somewhere not in the direct line of traffic (so your guests can have some quiet reflection time), that is dedicated to the guestbook so your guests can sit down and take their time creating their memory. It is a good idea to provide archival photo corners or double-sided mounting tape/squares alongside your "ready to be written in" guestbook and pen(s). You want to make sure your supplies are acid free to avoid yellowing.

Another option would be to ask each guest (using a note or card tucked into your invitation) to bring a favorite photo of themselves with either the bride or groom, or both, or some flat momento (such as a playbill from a play, etc). You can then have all the supplies available that would be necessary for them to attach the picture(s) into your guestbook. Another option would be to have someone not directly involved in the wedding in charge of taking a Polaroid picture of each guest before they sign the guestbook. The guest can then affix the picture into the guestbook themselves and write you their note/wish.

The result is essentially a scrapbook created by your guests the night of your wedding. It will be a personalized momento you and family will enjoy viewing over the years. Be creative with selecting the paper. You can even choose a theme based on colors - the possibilities are endless. sans-serif"

Coordinating guestbooks will soon be available from Hana Hou Productions.

  
  
  
  
Guest Storyboard
  
SHARING!

Let your guests sign a framed storyboard that you can later display in your new home. Based upon your specifications, a story board can accommodate openings for several different engagement pictures of the couple (provided) or just one picture. The white space on the "matt" surrounding the photo(s) can be used for the guests to sign their name and a wish - using an acid-free colored pen of your choice.

TIP: In order to prevent finger print smears on the photo(s), you can have the content of the frame in the following order: matt (single or double), UV Plexiglas, photos, backing. After your special day, you can reverse the matt and the Plexiglas so that the Plexiglas is on the top. Melissa and her husband did this on our wedding day and it worked beautifully. They now have theirs hanging in our living room where we see it on a daily basis as a wonderful reminder of their special day!

  
  
 
 
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