Wedding Invitation Etiquette: Notifying Guests When Details Have Changed

You've ordered your dream wedding invitations: letterpress printing in your wedding colors on beautiful earth-friendly cotton paper and envelopes meticulously hand addressed by a professional calligrapher. You've had them weighed, carefully-matched-vintage postage-stamped and hand-canceled at the post office. Your guests received them and have all responded with exceeding joy that they'll be celebrating with you on your big day.

And now, you have to change your wedding date.

Real Card Studio's Sugarcane destination wedding invitation: hand lettering, letterpress printing and quatrefoil shape.

I recently read this post, by the Modern Latina Bride blogger, regarding a change of date for her up-coming wedding. She was so happy with her invitations, and then distraught when she had to change the wedding date and felt like her invitation efforts were a waste. I have to disagree. Although it feels quite disastrous when you have to make a change, your guests are not feeling a fraction-- if any-- of the distress you are over the trouble of changing it. Unless the date change effects their ability to attend, it's much less troublesome for them than it is for you.

How do you best notify guests of a major change to your event after mailing the invitations? While e-mail and wedding website updates are tempting, I think these should augment your efforts to inform guests of the change, but the official change notification needs to come in the manner in which they were originally invited: by mail.  

The update mailing should not be a duplicate of the invitation with just the changes; guests may not notice the difference and assume you just mailed it twice and not get the message that things have changed. The notification should, however, look like it could have been part of the original invitation package.  You've gone to the considerable cost and effort to brand your event, and your guests will recognize the update as part of the original message if it looks the same.  Ideally, print the new information as if it were, say, a reception card mailing with the invitation: using the same paper and ink colors, design elements and typestyle. If you don't want to splurge for letterpress printing a second time, as long as it still matches, a less expensive print method is acceptable.

If guests have already replied, they might not want to reply a second time, or rather, they may not think they need to. Expect you may need to follow up with anyone that hasn't replied, or hasn't replied a second time to ensure everyone will show up when and where they should.