A wedding card is just a card, right? “Wrong”, insisted a friend vehemently.
If eyes are the windows to your soul, then wedding cards are the tone setters to your wedding, she claimed.
To others, spending exorbitantly on something that would likely be tossed into the trash as soon as the wedding is over is hardly sensible, let alone justifiable.
So are invitation cards really the tone setters for your wedding event? Perhaps. As lightly as some may take to this issue, most cannot deny that it could be the one that sets the first impression on what’s to come.
Social Media Platforms – A Replacement?
In this era of social media, getting something across to the whole world is but a click away. Since your friends and relatives are all somehow connected to social media, it might cross your mind to send invitations using the various platforms.
But hold that thought! While it may seem convenient to send invitations this way (particularly if you have a small guest list), you don’t want to be labelled “tak ada adat” (not adhering to Malay cultural practices or decorum).
You want to appease the hearts of many, especially the older relatives and make them feel special as invitees to your event. You want them to attend your wedding, in person, to celebrate one of the most important moments of your life.
Surely, you don’t want them to be spurned off by an impersonal social media invitation.
Four ‘Cs’ To A Wedding Card
These days, wedding cards take many shapes and form. Couples are literally spoilt for choice, from having them specially made by design houses to having them personally created using available software.
Whatever your preference, the following considerations might help to narrow down your choice before making that all important decision on your wedding card.
In choosing a colour, some might choose to go towards what is trending at the time of their wedding. This is of course not necessary as there is really nothing wrong in going with your favourite. However, incorporating your wedding theme colour into the card would be a good start to what your guests can expect at the reception. To your guests, it’s like a peek into your wedding theme.
Although there’s no hard and fast rule on choosing the colour of your card, a little knowledge on the psychology of colour can do no harm. Indeed, colour has been proven to be an element that can have influence on people’s thoughts.
In Malay traditional culture, the colour yellow symbolizes power and in the past, is only reserved for royalty. It is no wonder then that we often see cards in gold, a derivative of yellow. While solid yellow might be too glaring for some, you can combine it with more subtle colours like grey or white for a more subdued look.
Blue, on the other hand, evokes a sense of calm. This is probably the reason why some would go with baby blue for their cards.
A few years ago, violet seemed to be the colour of choice for many couples. Pastel violet combined with white can be soothing to the eyes and be carried further into the whole theme of the wedding. Pastel choices however require careful selection of font colour so your wedding details would not somehow ‘get lost’ in your wedding card.
For a garden wedding reception, the colour green with traces of white might not be a bad choice.
Black, as they say, is an absorption of all colours in the spectrum. With its darkness, it might be a turn-off for some. However, done tastefully with the right-coloured fonts and wordings, it can be an elegant piece.
Some may not realize this, but coupled with colour, the design of your card could be a reflection of your character. Whether you are the kind who goes for simplicity, classic/elegance, contemporary or cute could transcend into the final outcome of the card.
While a simple design emphasizes more on the information on the wedding, classic/elegant designs could be achieved with traditional songket or batik motifs.
Some contemporary designs play around with floral motifs so successfully that they achieve that fresh look, that could cast a lasting impression on the receiver.
For a light-hearted mood, you might want to go for cute designs that generally includes animated characters. A word of caution here though. Be careful when using characters such as Hello Kitty as you might be breaching some copyright laws.
As part of the design, you also need to consider the thickness of the paper used. Wedding cards are generally printed on 220 to 280 gsm paper. The higher the gsm the thicker the paper and more costly they may be. You can also choose various types of paper from marbled to glossy to matte. Again, the fancier the paper is, the more expensive your card will be.
As for dimensions, it is typical to have cards in 80mm by 155 mm (rectangle) or 152mm by 152 mm (square).
I personally don’t think the choice of the dimension is going to affect the ultimate design or look of the card. The onus is on the design house to combine the dimension, the design as well as colour to achieve the optimum in the look of your card.
Content and Clarity
Next comes what could be the most important part of your card – the content.
Your card may just be in English. But for a more ‘inclusive’ card, you might want to go bilingual.
Before deciding on the information that goes into the card, what most people forget to consider is the type of font to be used. Too small or closed together and your guests might have to squint to read the details. Too big or curly-fancy and your guests might be put off. So choose a font type that is easy on the eyes for the general reader, whether they use glasses or not.
In addition to the names of the bride and groom, another must is to include the names of the couple’s parents or representatives. This is to provide your guests a ‘central’ point of contact should they have questions about your wedding.
Some might want to include a prayer of supplication in the hope of getting blessing. I have reservations about this, especially with verses quoted from the Quran. While people may be honoured to be invited, it does not mean that they will treat your card with the same dignity. You can’t prevent them from tossing your card around and to me, that is utter belligerence.
If for some reason you want to include a prayer, have it in English and/or Malay.
Clarity on the date, venue and time cannot be stressed enough. Rather than having these details in prose form, I would suggest that these details be broken down and printed in bullet form like:
When important details are placed distinctly, it would create a mental picture in the receiver’s mind and more likely to stay in their memory. In addition, it makes for easy reference should they forget these details.
You might be thinking to include a map to the venue and certainly this can be helpful to your guests. Again, do provide a legible map so that your invitees do not need to whip out their magnifying glasses just to read it.
It would also be helpful if you could provide directions to the venue via public transport. For guests who would be driving to your wedding venue, it would be good if you could provide information on where they can conveniently park their vehicles.
Generally, Malay weddings are whole day affairs that last from 11:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. However, should yours be a sit-down reception, clear instructions on when guests are expected to be seated and the deadline for RSVP must be included. This is to give yourself enough time should you need to make confirmation on bookings or seating arrangements.
The last but certainly not the least ‘C’ is of course cost – your budget. The cost depends on the design and the number of cards you want printed. It is difficult to quote a ballpark figure on the price of say 1,000 pieces of card, without factoring in the design, type of paper used and the number of pieces you want printed.
A point to note however is that as much as you might want to have a ‘memorable’ card, you also need to consider the budget for other expenses of your wedding.
Delivering Your Wedding Cards
Once your card is ready, the next thing to do is of course get them out to your invitees.
It is common these days to have them mailed to your guests. As inconvenient as it may sound, I would recommend to have them personally delivered to close friends and relatives.
Mode of delivery might appear trivial but I have had an acquaintance who refused to attend a wedding just because the card was not personally delivered to her. Therefore, this can potentially be a delicate issue and weighing in on the consequences, I feel close friends/relatives should be invited personally.
The next question is when to send your card. If you send your card way too early prior to your wedding date, your guests might forget. If you send too close to the date, they might already have plans (particularly if your wedding is held during a peak period or over the school holidays). You also need to give ample time for those guests who would be flying in for your wedding.
There is certainly no perfect timing to send your invitations out but as a guide, sending your cards six to eight weeks before the big day should suffice. Your guests can mark the date in their calendars and you would not be stressed out on invitations.
As a guide, here are some pointers that you might want to consider before finalising your card :
- Check and re-check on the details such as names, date and time. To say that you must be meticulous in the information contained in the card is an understatement. Don’t falter on spelling or grammar because people tend to remember blunders.
- Go for designs that suit your budget. If you are concerned about cost, go for wedding packages that include card invitations. You might not have much choice on the card design but the good thing is you don’t have to scout around and wrack your brain for that ‘perfect’ card.
- Set the date to collect your cards such that you have ample time to give them out to your invitees later.
To many, a wedding card may appear as just a piece of paper. While you don’t have to break the bank to have a decent card, be mindful as you work on it because it does say something about you.