wedding invitation questions
February 10, 2011 8:02 AM   Subscribe

Need some advice on wedding invitation related stuff.

Getting married to my sweety mid-May in Michigan. I have been putting off thinking about wording, etc and would love some advice. I have two somewhat unrelated questions about invites...

1.) Reception will be in an enclosed tent (has sides and heater) and there will be many bands and drinks and fun in a big historic barn (well insulated, new roof, no heat). There will also be a bonfire outside and general outside things and it could be COLD. It's in Michigan, so it could snow. It could also be 70 degrees. We want to prepare guests for the fact that it is outside and could be cold in the event that they do not understand that. Do we say something on the invite to the extent of, "reception to follow at awesome farm, please dress accordingly"? Do we do the word of mouth thing? Is saying it is at a farm enough? I want to stress that most of our guests live in Michigan so they may know that it is cold or whatever but they may not totally understand that they will be outdoors quite a bit. (However, if it is REALLY cold we will just do everything in the tent)

2.) Here is some more background...

Invite includes multiple pieces already:
1. invite with our names, date, location
2. map with hotel info, church info, reception directions
3. response card so we know who is coming and what they want to eat

We would also like to include something in the invitation that asks folks to send us a picture through the mail or computer of themselves (either as a couple, with their dog, with something they love, a picture that represents love to them, etc.) with the hope that we can take said pictures and hang them with clothespins around the tent or barn (haven't decided yet). example of what it would look like
How the hell do we do that? Is it asking too much? I think it would be really cool if like everyone does it and totally lame if only 3 people do it. We want to really encourage folks to do it but I do not want to spend a lot of time tracking people down to do this. I'm hoping with with all the picture sharing that goes on at facebook it could be relatively easy. So....hivemind...what do you think?

additional info: we don't have and we don't want a "wedding website" because honestly I have tried to set one up and they are obnoxious in many ways. Also, not everyone we know is tech-savvy and we want to be inclusive.
posted by janelikes to Grab Bag (17 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I think that if you indicate something like "Reception outdoors, weather permitting" along with the reception directions, that might be enough to trigger people to bring a jacket. Particularly if they are familiar with the Michigan climate.

As for the pictures-I think this is a lovely idea. But if it were my family and friends, I would get craptacular buy-in. They are just a lazy bunch. So I'd do it myself if I were you. Hit facebook and start grabbing photos to use of the people you love. I did this to make a tablecloth for the cake table at my wedding using old wedding photos of all our family members. It was a big hit, but if I'd relied on everyone to bring one, no took me months to hunt those photos down. Maybe ask your parents what photos they have-maybe even use older ones intentionally that they might have copies of so you don't have to hunt everyone down individually? I like the idea though-and congrats on getting married.
posted by supercapitalist at 8:08 AM on February 10, 2011

I think asking for photos in the invitations is overkill- it's your project, don't make it everybody else's. I think going through the family photos you have access to, pulling things from Facebook, and e-mailing the friends who use e-mail and would know how to e-mail you some shots should be enough to get you what you need.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 8:11 AM on February 10, 2011 [2 favorites]

Oh, and the advantage of a wedding website is that it buys you some time. Your wedding is 3 months, so you need to get your invites printed and mailed in the next month. Putting stuff about the church, the reception venue, etc., on the website might be easier than designing all the cards you need to contain that info to print to paper.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 8:13 AM on February 10, 2011

Mid-May? I think the "Reception outdoors, weather permitting" phrasing that supercapitalist suggests is more than sufficient. If it's at all cold people will anyway have brought jackets, no? This becomes more important if your wedding and reception is in Northern Michigan or the U.P.
posted by tivalasvegas at 8:28 AM on February 10, 2011

I'm not sure that "dress accordingly for a farm" will be interpreted as a warning about cold -- you might end up with a barn filled with guests dressed as, you know, farmers. Instead I'd include a short small note on the map/directions piece that says something like: "Weather permitting, we're planning a bonfire and some other activities outside the barn, so please bring some warmer clothes just in case -- it can get pretty chilly at night in Michigan, even in May!"

And I recommend that you ditch the photo project (nice as it is in concept). It's going to be work/stress for you whether you're trying to wrangle submissions or do the project all yourself... and it honestly won't ultimately make the slightest bit of difference in your guests' (or your) pleasure at the event. Just enjoy.
posted by argonauta at 8:37 AM on February 10, 2011 [2 favorites]

I would say something more than "reception outdoors, weather permitting". To me, that could mean tables and a dance floor in a field, and I would dress differently for that than I would a bonfire. so I would say "Reception following - bonfire included!" or something. Also, I would consider buying/rounding up some cheap blankets to keep near the bonfire.
posted by dpx.mfx at 8:40 AM on February 10, 2011 [1 favorite]

I've seen people include a card with a description of the venue if it's unusual - perhaps a little history of the place or the area, and end with a few lines about the conditions.
posted by punchtothehead at 8:42 AM on February 10, 2011

"We would also like to include something in the invitation that asks folks to send it asking too much?"

Yeah. Lots of people would not already have this on hand, and few would be able to half-ass it into an easy project, and it would loom over them -- I have to do that damned picture for janelikes! Not today because I've got rehearsal, and tomorrow's my only day off this week so I don't want to spend it buying camera batteries, and -- and it would end up a big irritant. And think, how depressing a request for the lonely!
posted by kmennie at 9:01 AM on February 10, 2011 [1 favorite]

Nthing that you're not likely to get much response on the photos, plus some might interpret it as "do our decorating for us."

As for the wording on the invite, I'd definitely include something to the effect of "it may get cold." "Weather permitting" makes me think of rain, and "dress accordingly" makes me think of getting shoes that won't sink into the dirt. I'd probably freeze.
posted by Metroid Baby at 9:39 AM on February 10, 2011

Agreed that asking for photos is probably too much. Even with the best of intentions, people will put off RSVPing until they "have time" to hunt for a photo, and it will get put on the back burner. I think you would find yourself with a lot of late RSVPs or having to call people to find out if they're coming, because of the extra effort it would require to find and send a photo. I totally agree that if you can informally ask friends and family outside the invite, and also mine facebook yourself for photos, that could be really cool.

As for wording on the invites, how about a note at the bottom like, "May in Michigan is notoriously unpredictable -- don't forget to check the weather forecast before you pack!" You could also include something about a tent, barn dance, and bonfire in your reception information to help people understand the level of outdoor-ness they're facing.
posted by vytae at 10:09 AM on February 10, 2011

In addition to the cold aspect, you might think about the footwear aspect. I've been to barn weddings where there was a lot of walking around muddy farm paths, uneven barn floors etc - I knew ahead of time and just wore mud-friendly shoes, but this might be another element to note for the guests.

Put info about the reception on the "reception directions" card. Put it above the directions.

You can say something like: "Reception will be in the historic milking barn on the Happy Acres Farm. We will also be outside on the farm, weather permitting. Note that the barn has a dirt floor." or whatever.

(You can also put a shorter version "Reception to follow in the barn at Happy Acres Farm, weather permitting." or similar on the invitations themselves.)

I have to agree with others that your photo project will probably not get a good response rate, and people might delay sending their RSVPs because they're trying to round up a suitable photo of themselves.
posted by LobsterMitten at 10:16 AM on February 10, 2011

"Weather permitting" would suggest to me that if it's brutally cold, y'all are going inside (which I gather is not the plan). Probably too wordy still, but if it were me, I'd do something like this on the invite:

Location: XXX Address, Pavillion.
(in tiny italic font: While we hope that nature will grace us with her loveliest weather, please be advised that this is an unheated venue. Dress accordingly.)
posted by Ys at 10:45 AM on February 10, 2011 [2 favorites]

I'd go with Ys's suggestion. "Weather permitting" is too ambiguous and makes it sound like you won't have the wedding outside if there is inclement weather.
posted by jlunar at 11:13 AM on February 10, 2011

Regarding pictures: Facebook & other sites like this are your friend! It is very easy to copy a photo (right click, [save as]) and move it to a photo printing site like Shutterfly or Snapfish from the comfort of your home, and have them shipped directly to you via a simple credit card payment. You could then surprise people with your decorative photos. Another way to solicit photos without cluttering up the wedding invite is to target key people & ask by e-mail. Most families & groups of friends have specific people known for their photo collections. A few cwell-chosen contacts could net a disproportionate number of photos.
posted by Ys at 12:47 PM on February 10, 2011 [1 favorite]

I am going to go against the grain here. you know your friends and family better than we do, and if you think a decent number of them would like to participate in the photo thing, you should absolutely do it. I think it would make the event really special and personal. I disagree that its too much work... I've been asked to contribute all kinds of things to handmade community gifts for a bride and groom, which has never annoyed me, and its always been more work than just finding and emailing a photo or two. Look, some people will be annoyed and ignore the request, some people will get really into it and send you ten because they couldn't choose their favorite, and some people will just do what you ask and send something. It will be nice.

If you feel like the photo request makes too many things to put in the invitation, how about contacting people separately for this? If you're having a wedding party, you could have MOH and BM make the initial contact (and nudge people as the date gets close). This would have several excellent features:
1. less work for you if you already have tons of things to coordinate
2. it can come off as "we're doing this awesome easy group gift thing for Janelikes and Mr. Janelikes," which may be more appealing to some people than you asking directly for soemthing for yourself
3. people won't feel like coming to the wedding is contingent on some kind of hippy-excessive-intimacy-participation-thing if they find that kind of thing off-putting.
3. you will get to be sort of surprised when you see all the photos together for the first time

congrats! I think this will be cool!
posted by juliapangolin at 3:57 PM on February 10, 2011

Thanks everyone! I really like Ys advice about trying to spell it out a bit- I too am worried that vague wording will lead to more confusion. I also think I'm going to try to do what I can on facebook for the bulk of my guests and enlist our families for the family pictures. Thanks for all that answered, we're trying to be as community focused and as awesome as possible.
posted by janelikes at 5:30 PM on February 10, 2011

Do be aware of file size when snagging photos from Facebook: Low res photos (eg from cell phones) come out *very* grainy, which can be a nasty shock if you've just paid a chunk of change for a bunch of them printed out. They do often look respectable in wallet size, though. You might place a trial order before you go crazy to get a feel for how things will look.
posted by Ys at 6:03 AM on February 16, 2011

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