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In this day of in-dash GPS units and online map services you can embed in your wedding website, a paper map for a single location may seem unnecessary and wasteful. (If you decide not to enclose a map, do include the street address on the invitation.) But when you want to tell your guests about the neighborhood (great restaurants for lunch, the best place to park, sites that are of a particular interest to you), an edited map can be a charming addition.
Several online map services will help you make one. If you want a more organic, creative touch, add artistic touches by tracing over a printout of your map, see if your calligrapher can create a map for you, or search for a graphic artist on etsy.com.
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When the reception will be held at a venue other than the ceremony site, a reception card lets you move extra information like the address onto another sheet -- this is especially useful if you want to include the address. Reception cards used to be enclosed when some guests were invited to the ceremony only; those invited to the reception as well got the card tucked into their invite. But this option is generally considered not to be polite anymore.
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Sharing Your Website Information
In the technological and ecological age, mentioning the wedding website on your invitation is completely acceptable. Place the web address, or URL, in the lower left corner of the invitation, in the spot traditionally used for noting R.S.V.P. information. If your invitation is getting crowded, a business-card-size enclosure can convey this data (it can function as an at-home card as well, giving people your post-wedding contact info for their address book).
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An Attire Card
Guests sometimes wonder what to wear to a wedding; you can tip them the wink by adding a line to the lower right corner of the invitation indicating "black tie" or other information. If the hint you want to give gets a little more complicated (for example, "wear lawn-friendly shoes"), a separate card might be useful.
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Hotel and Travel Information
Locating a hotel (or two) that's convenient and affordable for your out-of-town guests is a common courtesy; you can pass this along using an insert card. You needn't include all the features; just give the basic room rate, plus contact information.
Providing specific travel information to the city itself is generally not necessary. Airline information and road atlases will help people figure out their own travel plans.
If you want to avoid this enclosure all together, you can include all this information on your website. A grandparent who is not online can get theirs from you directly.
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Related Wedding Events
If you've planned extra events for all the guests -- a welcome dinner, rehearsal dinner, a round of golf on Saturday morning, a post-wedding brunch just to name a few -- it's a good idea to put this information into the invitation as well. This information can also go on the wedding website, but that that's not a substitute for a direct invitation.
However, if not everyone is invited to everything, use separate invites. Including those events in the invitation may lead your guests to think that everyone is invited, creating awkward situations when a conversation reveals that someone was left out.
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Even though they're not required, hosts have been providing reply cards in self-defense for so long that now most guests expect them -- with stamps, even. If you decide to use one, you can choose a separate card with self-addressed envelope, or a postcard. Give them a deadline, and a place to write their names and whether they're coming. (Smart tip: Since people sometimes forget to write their names on the reply card, number your guest list, and then lightly pencil the proper number on the back of each reply card before tucking it into the addressed invitation.)
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Things to Omit from Your Invitations
The slips of tissue paper that find their way into invitations originated when all invitations were properly engraved (the ink can smudge, and the tissue paper keeps things neat). People who chose other printing methods included the tissue paper to camouflage their choice. If your invitation isn't engraved, leave these out.
Even if your store provides them, do not include little cards that contain information about your registry. And don't add the registry information to your invitation itself in any other way. It's impolite for you to start the conversation about gifts. Even if some guests find it convenient, others will think it seems greedy. Ask family and friend to spread the news when people ask; you can also put this information one level down on a wedding website, and mention it to anyone who asks you directly.
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At Home Card
Since a change in marital status is often accompanied by a change of address, and sometimes a change of name, this small card is a way to let people know how to contact you -- and how to address you -- after the wedding. The title usually reads: "At Home," and was followed by the date you would return from your honeymoon, or your wedding date itself: "After May 22, 2010." Nowadays, you can include your cell phone, e-mail address, and website, if you wish to share them.
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