Trends don't always become traditions, but the following current wedding customs seem to have real staying power.
Today's marriage ceremonies often blend elements that have special meaning for couples, especially multi-cultural or inter-faith weddings. Intimate and individualized, today's couples look to signature colors, monograms (their first initials), and motifs to set their theme, starting with their save the dates and invitations, and carrying through to their programs and seating cards.
Sharing the Costs
Wedding expenses are no longer the exclusive responsibility of the bride's parents but frequently are shared by the couple, and even the groom's parents. Understanding the financing is one key to defining who the hosts are -- an essential piece of any wedding invitation.
High Tech Weddings
The internet plays a growing role in registries, vendor selection, and even invitations. Wedding websites are the perfect place for photos of the couple, travel information for the wedding, and registry links. For some events, such as bachelor/ette parties or showers, an e-mailed invitation among close friends who all use e-mail regularly could be convenient and appropriate, but e-mailing wedding invitations and thank-you notes is still an etiquette faux pas -- paper please!
Save the Dates
Save the date cards are fast turning from a trend into a tradition. It's not necessary for save the dates to match the other wedding stationery themes, making them the perfect place for couples to get as creative as they like. Mail to guests as soon as the wedding date is known (the location may also be included), but know that any guest who receives a save the date must receive a wedding invitation.
Variations in Color
Traditional white or ecru still reign, but color is blooming not only in bouquets and floral arrangements but also in brides' and grooms' attire, reception decorations, and invitations and announcements. Once taboo, black-bordered wedding invitations can be quite chic -- just keep the typeface jaunty to avoid somber references.
Grooms are now as likely as brides to be active participants in wedding planning and decision making. Couples often take mutual responsibility for everything from choosing the guest list to financing to writing thank-you notes.
New Invitation Wording
Invitation wording is no longer bound to the confines of tradition. Any wording that a couple deems to be respectful of their guests and true to themselves will be fine. As a practical matter, invitations should read as a correct grammatical statement, and should include all information guests will need to know, such as who is hosting, the date, time, and location, and how to reply. To see examples of non-traditional invitation wording, click here.
Encore and Family Weddings
Nearly forty-five percent of today's weddings are "encore" events, meaning that the bride, groom, or both have been married before. More remarrying couples with children actively involve them in the ceremony. This can be reflected beautifully in the invitation and program wording, setting the family tone for guests. Click here to read more about encore weddings.
Reply Cards and E-mail RSVPs
Once unheard of, reply cards are a convenient way to encourage guests to respond, and to keep track of their responses. Be sure to stamp and address the reply envelopes. Requesting wedding replies via e-mail or phone is fine. Add this information below the RSVP on an invitation. Providing an alternate method to e-mail (snail mail or phone) is considerate of those who aren't comfortable with or don't use email. Read more about reply cards here.
Some traditions never go out of style. A few that hold true: No mention of gifts, even "no gifts, please," is made on a wedding invitation (sharing a wedding website on an enclosure is fine, and that site may offer registry information). While attire information such as "black tie" may appear on a reception invitation, it is not printed on a wedding invitation -- the style of the invitation and the time of the ceremony should tell guests what they need to know.