by Robbin Montero

            In these hectic times, advance notice of a special event is helpful and appreciated. Sent by engaged couples to people they intend to invite to their wedding, pre-wedding letters and save-the-date cards are popular modes of notification. Advance notice to key guests becomes increasingly important for destination weddings or when guests have to travel to attend.


            Four to six months prior to the wedding, couples send save-the-date cards to alert guests to the upcoming wedding date and place, and to request that they mark their calendars. Save-the-date cards also inform the guests that an invitation will follow. 


            Friends and family scattered around the country often never meet their loved one’s fiancé until the wedding. For that reason, and because destination weddings are so popular, pre-wedding letters are increasingly useful. More detailed than a save-the-date card, the letters often include short stories about how the couple met or became engaged. Sent well in advance of the invitations, when information about the locale is included, the letters allow guests time to plan a vacation to enjoy the destination. Ideas for hotels and bed & breakfast inns, things to do and see, car rental agencies and outings (golf, museums, historical sites, antique shops, tours, spas, wineries, etc.), even maps are appreciated by out-of-town guests. You can simplify the contents of the letter by including a list of Web site addresses and telephone numbers for overnight accommodations, the local Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau.


            For weekend wedding events when the couple invites guests to socialize beyond the wedding and reception, pre-wedding letters are an excellent method for sketching out the schedule of the weekend events and coordinating activities. A golf tournament may be planned for the golfers on Friday, or a sightseeing tour or post-wedding brunch arranged for the guests the day after the wedding. The pre-wedding letter alerts guests to a schedule of weekend activities, and allows them to RSVP appropriately for the outings that interest them and to pack according to planned activities. An information-packed letter builds anticipation, encourages family and friends to participate, and helps the engaged couple get headcounts and make advance arrangements for the fun.


            Make your pre-wedding letter a memorable start to your planning and event by developing a romantic or humorous format that suits your personality. If you are grammatically and artistically challenged and don’t enjoy noodling on the computer, employ a writer and graphics professional to refine your ideas and format your letter. Typical layouts include the basic letter style, newspaper and newsletter formats. Couples can have fun formulating their pre-wedding letters, headlining a newspaper-style letter such as “The Good Times” or “The Smith-Jones Tribune”. Embellish your letter with an elegant paper frame or colorful border for an artistic touch. Bring your pre-wedding notification to life with a collage of engagement photos and wedding site pictures. 


            If you and your guests are computer savvy, consider using a cost-effective wedding Web site to keep your guests informed. Once you send save-the-date cards with your Web site address, keep them informed about wedding plans, post shower photos and provide the specifics you would have outlined in a pre-wedding letter (sans the expense of graphics and printing). A wedding Web site is versatile, can be updated as necessary and can also alert guests to last minute changes. It is essential that you still send invitations and receive RSVP cards by mail, but you can encourage your friends to post questions you can answer online for all to see and learn from.


            Be creative and communicative. Share your joy and have fun with your Nelson Nuptial News or your!


 “Stress Free, Leave the Details to Me,” is the tried and true philosophy of Robbin Montero, California Wine Country wedding planning expert and owner of A Dream Wedding.  Robbin is the premier wedding planner in the Northern California Wine Country, transforming any vision into the perfectly designed wedding creation. Robbin and her weddings have been featured in The Knot, Brides, Elite Magazine, Your Wedding Day and Vine Napa/Sonoma magazines, and Travel & Leisure magazine calls Robbin, “The expert wedding planner in the California Wine Country.”

Robbin Montero is a wedding coordinator and special events planner in Northern California.

©2006 Robbin Montero

This article cannot be reprinted without Robbin Montero’s expressed written permission.