Invitation Anatomy 101 - Optional Components II - Part 3 of 3

Almost there! This is the third lesson of my "Invitation Anatomy 101" list of articles. Remember, this article continues the listing of common Optional Components typically seen in invitations. While many examples are directly relevant to wedding invitations, I've tried to be broader to include the general invitation and corporate invitation components as well.

If you haven't already done so, I highly encourage reading my article "Invitation Anatomy 101 ? Typical Components" first. This article continues from "Invitation Anatomy 101 ? Optional Components I":

Optional (or Additional Components) CONTINUED:

6) Seating Cards

  • Seating cards may be used to identify the proper spaces each guest should be seated at. These cards may be made for both the ceremony/formal event and reception. For weddings, ceremony cards are also known as 'pew cards', whereas reception cards are considered 'place cards'.
  • There are many variations of seating cards. Some seating cards are simply number cards, while others may only discern 'bride's side' and 'groom's side', or main auditorium, balcony level (for annual meetings), etc. Some seating cards can even state each guest's full name.
  • Seating cards are usually small in size and may be folded horizontally. They usually match the invitation style exactly or coordinate with the theme and colours of the event or company logo (for corporate events). There are countless style options and variations available.

7) Thank You Cards

  • With respect to weddings, it is not only proper etiquette, but an expectation that the newlywed couple sends out Thank You cards. Your guests' wedding or shower gifts should be acknowledged in this form (even in addition to other personalized expressions of gratitude).
  • Thank You cards have evolved over the years. The traditional card used to be a small book-fold card no bigger than 3"x 5" containing a small handwritten expression of gratitude on one side, and a wallet-size wedding picture on the other side.
  • Some modern alternatives include: Postcards that features a collage of wedding pictures on one side and a gratitude expression on the reverse; Cards that emulate the style and format of the invitation but contain the gratitude expression instead (picture may or may not be included); or the utilization of digital picture printing or even electronic Thank You cards.
    • Note: Electronic Thank You cards should always follow in conjunction with printed cards.

  • Nowadays, less couples are opting for the inclusion of photographs in their Thank You cards. Since the trend is towards smaller more intimate weddings, supplying photographs has become a permissible omission.
  • Companies may also wish to send out "Acknowledgement cards" to express appreciation to their guests for attending their event. I have seen the use of Acknowledgement cards/Thank You cards for smaller, more elite VIP events where guest lists may include diplomats, industry leaders, top company executives, politicians, and other dignitaries. Besides being a great reminder and advertising opportunity, it's also proper etiquette. Oftentimes, an appropriate gift accompanies the Acknowledgement/Thank You cards.

8) Residence Cards (or Change of Address Cards)

  • For the post-wedding couple: Residence cards (also called "At Home Cards") are an elegant way to communicate your new home or residence together to all your friends and family.
  • These are small cards that may be sent with invitations or shortly after the wedding. They should include your names, your new home or residence address, phone number, and move-in date.
  • For companies: Change of Address cards are critical to companies planning a major location change. Change of Address cards can stylishly inform your key business partners and clients of your new location. Address Cards have a better chance of getting noticed and acknowledged over common email, faxes, etc. They can easily save a lot of aggravation, time, and money - not to mention added exposure to clients and potential clients.

9) Website Cards

  • First, a bit of background: Many companies offer 'free web space' on the internet where you can design a website using some generic templates. Some companies are wedding-themed and offer couples an easy and 'low-tech' way of constructing a "wedding website." The advantages of a "wed site" are numerous. You can personalize a space on the internet that is accessible by anyone in the world. You can update it with pictures, wedding details, gift registry information, quotations, letters, stories, and even solicit creative contributions from family and friends.
  • Website cards are physical cards that can be included with your invitations directing your guests to your "wed site". Essentially the cards contain your names, the website address (http://www.) and your email address(es).
  • For companies: By now, most companies have websites (those that don't will surely get one to stay competitive). However, when companies first launch websites, a lot of money often gets thrown towards creative ways to market the website to the desired audience. Website cards ? created much like miniature Announcement cards could be elegant and stylish and like Change of Address cards, they would get noticed. Nowadays, since most companies have a website and plaster it everywhere all over their letterheads, promotional items, and literatures, website cards have a role as a revived nostalgic marketing tool from the past.

10) Electronic Cards

  • Theoretically, any of these components ? including invitations ? can be created and sent electronically. While the possibility of exploring electronic alternatives to physical cards is a tempting one, it is not recommended. The dreams of a "paperless society" remain just that. What I mean is that nothing appropriately replaces stationery and physical invitations.
  • Also, the proliferation of spam, unsolicited emails, virus email attachments, ad-ware, and spy-ware poses problems for the future of Electronic cards: 1) Filtering software may inadvertently delete an electronic card attachment or notice before its received, 2) Email is still not accepted as a 'formal' alternative to traditional invitations, 3) Given the 'cyber-battle' with spammers, email invitations suffer credibility and image problems, 4) Email screams frugality which undermines the nature of formal invitations.
  • Weddings are still considered formal and traditional events. Even if every one of your guests is an active user of the internet, electronic cards and greetings (if sent) should always be sent in conjunction with traditional invitations.
  • Acceptance of electronic cards as substitutes for invitations or invitation components is not yet a reality and will likely remain so for the foreseeable future.

11) Registry Cards

  • Not just for weddings anymore ? gift registries can be made for baby showers, graduations, retirements, anniversaries, house-warming parties, etc.
  • Many retail companies accustomed to registries print and offer their own special 'registry cards' that displays their logo. A registry card announces an active registry with a retailer.
    • NOTE OF INTEREST: There is still some controversy over whether information regarding gift registries is better communicated through word-of-mouth rather than through invitations. At present, gift registry cards are quite normal and ubiquitous in the wedding invitation world. Ultimately, it is a personal choice to make.

Again, the list could truly fill several more pages easily. New components are being created all the time to fill the need to communicate specific messages through an invitation method. Also, other factors such as religious and cultural traditions may be incorporated into these or additional component of your invitation. Remember, part of the uniqueness of custom invitations is the personalized elements that make your invitation ? uniquely yours!

Laura Paladino's work has been featured locally and nationally across print and television. Her public and commercial clients range from brides to wedding and event planners to celebrities in Canada and the United States. For additional articles and resources, information on Laura Paladino, her invitation design collections, or her select bridal boutique products and studio services, visit

In The News:

pen paper and inkwell

cat break through

Anniversary Gift Guide

An anniversary gift is the opportunity to show your loved... Read More

Planning a Special Wedding Shower

The wedding shower is a traditional party of the marriage... Read More

Inside Secrets On How To Stay In Love

My husband Bill and I have just had our 37th-wedding... Read More

Weddings - Wedding Plan - Wedding Planner Tools - Ten Essential Tips

Getting Married? Congratulations! You just set the date for the... Read More

28 Things That Really Do Matter In Marriage (Short Shots On Living An Exceptional Life)

In my opinion, these things matter...1. Valuing commitment over instant... Read More

The Definition of Love

I saw real love while working at a cozy, candle-lit... Read More

The Second Time - Another White Wedding?

That first wedding was a dream, a gorgeous long white... Read More

History of the Wedding Favor Box

The wedding favor box carries on the timeless tradition established... Read More

Thoughts from Deik and Kims Wedding, for You and Your Marriage

Deik and Kim, remember that marriage is a COVENANT relationship.... Read More

Cheap Wedding Party Gifts

Thanking your wedding party with special gifts is a favored... Read More

Saving Money on Your Wedding Reception Using Reception Themes

Just like weddings, receptions are often theme based as well.... Read More

A Unique Diamond Engagement Ring ? In Platinum

Diamond engagement rings for many years typically came in the... Read More

Hey, Where Do I Put My Speakers? Unique Venues Require Unique DJs

If your wedding or party is being held in a... Read More

Reduce Marriage Problems: Go and Wake Up Your Luck

At one time or another, most of us have had... Read More

Planning A Backyard Wedding

So many couples are planning to have their wedding at... Read More

Chicago Wedding Receptions

There are two major events that you have to plan... Read More

Low Budget Wedding Reception

The reception alone will bust your wedding budget if you're... Read More

Wedding Planning: Involve your FiancÚ in 10 Easy Steps

He's popped the question. You've chosen a date. And now,... Read More

Getting Married? What You Should Do With Your Checking Accounts and Credit Cards

Marriage is a wonderful thing, but planning the wedding is... Read More

How To Choose Your Wedding Cake

One of my favorite parts about the wedding, is the... Read More

Dallas Wedding Receptions

The most important day of your life is drawing near... Read More

Choosing a Wedding Date ?- When You?re Feeling Indecisive

He ? or she ? asked, and you answered in... Read More

Sending Out Your Wedding Invitations

It really doesn't matter if you are planning to have... Read More

Creating A Wedding Budget You Can Afford

The most important part of planning a wedding is setting... Read More

Man Made Diamonds, The Affordable Alternative

Diamonds may be a woman's best friend, but modern man... Read More

Jewish Wedding Rings - Traditions and Customs and How to Buy Smart

In a traditional Jewish wedding ceremony, Jewish wedding rings play... Read More

Todays Wedding Is Brought To You In Association With ...

With the cost of today's weddings spiraling to astronomical levels,... Read More

Current Trends in Wedding Photography

Wedding photography is an evolving field that requires artistic talent,... Read More

Top Ten Reasons to Plan a Destination Wedding

You and the one you love are dreaming of an... Read More

Brad Pitt - Jennifer Aniston Marriage Undermined by Inappropriate Friendship with Angelina Jolie

Speculation continues about the break-up of Brad Pitt and Jennifer... Read More

New Findings on Happiness Have Implications for Rocky Marriages

Not only do individuals who follow Time Magazine's "Eight Steps... Read More

Weddings Las Vegas: Popular Ceremonies

Are you looking for a las Vegas chapel to make... Read More

Common Format Of A Wedding Reception

The following article can be copied but you must keep... Read More