Whether they don’t feel comfortable in formal clothes, whether they’re working on a tight budget, or whether they just don’t have a “formal” personality, some couples reject the more traditional elements of wedding ceremonies and receptions to have something more casual. Of course, with a causal wedding should come casual wedding invitations, so let’s look at some of the basics of planning a more informal special day.
What Is Casual?
When we normally think of weddings, most of us probably think of a huge church full of guests, a bride wearing an elaborate white gown, and lots of bridal attendants. Casual or informal weddings don’t include many of those elements.
For starters, wedding ceremonies can be held almost anywhere. You can get married in a chapel, a restaurant, a home, at the beach, in a backyard . . . almost anywhere! Some couples have even gotten married at sports stadiums, on boats, and in hot air balloons.
Generally, informal weddings are much smaller. They usually have less than 50 guests attending, although that’s just a general rule. Because there are no hard and fast traditions to follow, you’re free to have as many or as few guests as you want.
The wedding party is also smaller. A bride will have only one attendant, for example, instead of six or seven. Flower girls and ring bearers are usually not included in the proceedings either. Likewise, the groom will usually only have a best man.
As far as attire goes, things are definitely more casual. The maid or matron of honor will wear a short dress – the same type of dress she might wear to an event. The groom and best man should wear matching trousers and a jacket. Brides who have casual weddings don’t have to wear traditional white gowns – they choose almost any style and color of dress they want. There are no rules telling her what she should and should not wear.
Finally, the reception is more intimate and a lot less formal. You may still have your reception catered, but it might be from a less fancy restaurant or vendor. You could also choose to do something unique: have a barbecue, have a baked potato bar, just serve cakes, have a “happy hour” reception. Those are some ideas. You could also have your reception at a restaurant.
Couples choose casual weddings for many reasons. Money is often one of the main reasons. A formal or very formal wedding and reception can easily cost more than a convertible, and many couples starting out today don’t have those kinds of funds available nor do they want to start their life together in debt.
Other couples might choose a casual ceremony because they do not have strong religious convictions or because they have been married previously. Second marriages are frequently finalized in casual ceremonies. Of course, there are also couples who just can’t stand the idea of wearing all of that formal attire for hours. They want to be relaxed and comfortable, and they probably have friends who would prefer something more fun than lavish as a celebration.
Because a casual or informal wedding bucks the rules of traditional ceremonies, couples don’t have to adhere to those same standards: off-white or white paper, black ink, formal message, etc. They can choose bright or pastel colors for the paper, for example, or unusual ink colors or font styles.
Couples can choose to have photographs of themselves placed on the cover of the invitations or can include poems, romantic quotes, or other verses as part of the invitation’s wording. Or they might opt to have their invitations created by a graphic designer to give them a truly unique look that reflects the couple’s interests or personality.
Another option for casual weddings is for couples to bypass professional printers and make their own invitations. They could purchase quality card stock paper from an online company such as MyExpression.com LLC, then use their own computer and printer to create the pieces they want. It’s a cost effective and creative alternative that would be ideal for informal weddings.
One way to further personalize the cards is to invest in some watercolor paints and a few brushes. Once the invitations have been printed and the ink has dried, you could use the watercolors to paint a border on the cards. If you feel more artistic or if you purchase some stencils at your local craft store you could even paint designs, such as roses, wedding cakes, bells, churches, or palm trees on the invitations.