The Wedding Series – Informal to Casual Invitations

“Think left and think right and think low and think high.
Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try!”
~Dr. Seuss


Happy New Year! To new readers, welcome! With this entry I am resuming my Wedding Series by wrapping up the topic of wedding invitations; if you’d like to start at the beginning of the Series, please click here. To my regular readers, welcome back.

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The informal wedding invitation, while containing the same information in a straightforward way as the formal invitation, permits the wedding couple to express themselves with color, paper texture, wording, shapes, sizes, graphics, etc. Just as Dr. Seuss has said, the only limits are the “thinks you can think up”! Some examples of elegant informal invitations can be found at The informal invitation can run the gamut of colors and styles.

My husband, Ted, and I chose to send flyers out to our wedding invitees, the idea of which we got from a business associate of mine when we received her and her fiancé’s very clever wedding invitation flyer in the mail. Our flyer was printed on yellow bond and contained a vintage graphic with varying type sizes and fonts with a simple message:

Come Celebrate The Wedding Of
Jeanne Grunberg and Ted Nelson
On (Date) At (Time)
At The Bronx Zoo
Ceremony and Party Immediately Following
On Wildfowl Pond Terrace
R.S.V.P. (with address and telephone number)

As we were thirty-somethings at the time of our wedding we both felt that we wanted to do something out of the ordinary, having attended many traditional weddings and desiring a different experience. We are both animal lovers and I had spent a decade volunteering at the Bronx Zoo; when we were invited by that organization to marry there we jumped at the opportunity (back then, marrying at the Bronz Zoo was a novelty and a great privilege, but now the Bronx Zoo officially offers wedding packages). We designed a wedding that was very “us.” And although marrying in the zoo sounds a bit zany, our wedding could be described as casual elegance; there were still some traditional components as well as delightfully contrasting elements such as guests arriving by limousine, being greeted with glasses of champagne that they sipped while strolling among wildlife exhibits that were kept open after hours just for our wedding. My husband and I selected the music that was played on our sophisticated (back then) stereo system and we were married at the edge of the Wildfowl Pond with about 60 dressed up guests gathered around us while all manner of water fowl wandered among us, giving new meaning to the phrase, “stepping on one’s toes.” Our party immediately following was held in the adjacent staff and members’ dining room; guests danced, dined on the most delicious Italian food compliments of Ted’s best man’s Italian restaurant and partook of the beautiful and delicious wedding cake created by my mom who was a professional cake master. Our wedding was a bit different for the times and a popular TV reality show of that era wanted to feature it; we were flattered but declined because we did not wish to have the distraction at so important an event in our lives. But, to get back to the topic at hand, our invitation flyer fit the style and mood of our wedding.

Thus, designing your invitation to reflect who you are, your styles and interests, and the mood of your wedding can grant you a great freedom of expression. Remember, though, that “informal” does not necessarily equate with “inexpensive.” Some informal invitations can be just as or even more expensive than traditional formal invitations, depending on just how creative or elaborate your “thinks” get!

Sites That Offer Fun and Different Ideas

I must admit that I had fun exploring the following sites, which offer interesting wedding invitation ideas:

Bollywood Style

Boston-Inspired Invitations (could be any city, though)

Celebrity Invites

Celebrity Photo Invites

Movie Poster Invitations

More Movie and TV-Inspired Invitations and Save the Dates

Modern Ideas

You can also have fun with the Reply Card, and although I wouldn’t recommend all the wording on this particular one,  you might be inspired by some of the ideas, albeit using proper taste and decorum!

More Fun Ideas

In their book, The Essential Guide to Lesbian & Gay Weddings, Tess Ayers and Paul Brown offer a number of “alternative” invitation suggestions that I find delightful for either gay or straight couples. Here are a few excerpts:

  • “You’ve been together for twenty years and have finally decided to have a commitment ceremony? Send time capsules of what the world was like when you met…”
  • “Send a kite along with the invitation to a relaxing ‘Sunday in the Park’ reception.”
  • “Get copies of an appropriate 45 rpm record (yes, they still exist), such as Bette Midler’s ‘Chapel of Love’ and print bogus labels for the B side, telling all about the who, what, when, where, etc.”

[Speaking of 45 rpm records, here’s where I slip in a clever and shameless plug for my husband’s audio/video restoration service (Permanent Record) and YouTube (feel free to subscribe, you might enjoy this!) page.

Now back to our regularly scheduled topic!

Informal Invitation for the Small, Intimate Wedding

When your wedding is small and intimate but you want to maintain some formality, it’s entirely appropriate to send hand-written invitations on fine note cards or papers using black ink. If you wish to follow tradition, either the bride or her mother should send the invitations. The envelopes should be addressed in the same manner as you would a regular formal invitation. Usually formal engraved or printed wedding announcements are sent after the wedding to a larger number of family members and friends.

Email and Phone Invitations

Email — or the e-vite — certainly is an environmentally sound and inexpensive method and they can be very clever. But there are downsides: e-vites have not been fully accepted and by using this method you might be viewed as lacking sophistication and being out of touch with propriety. In addition, many people don’t check their email regularly nor even use email. Thus, if you wish to use a wedding e-vites it should be for very small and casual weddings and after ensuring that invitees have email accounts and actually use them; if most do you may send a handwritten invitation to those who do not.

The phone should be used only when a wedding is being put together in haste, such as when members of the military are being deployed suddenly and wish to marry before that occurs; if there is time in such instances a hand-written reminder may be mailed, emailed or hand-delivered immediately following the phone call. And, again, formal wedding announcements may be sent to a wider audience by either the wedding couple or their parents following the wedding

In whichever direction your creativity takes you, just remember to exercise decorum and impeccable taste!

Until next time,


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