Invitation Etiquette

Invitations and stationary are some of the most important part of your wedding because it sets the tone for your reception.

One of the first considerations should be the Save The Date Card.  This card should be sent out one year prior to your wedding date so that your guests can set aside the date and plan their vacations around your wedding if need be.  If you are marrying around a holiday or in the summer, sending out the Save the Dates well ahead of time is crucial because many people plan their summer vacations and will not want to miss your wedding.

If you are having a formal wedding,  be sure that your invitation style sets the tone for tradition and elegance.  A beach wedding could include a beach themed invitation, or if you are having a formal beach wedding, then keep the invitation formal with maybe just a hint of the shore.  If you are having a themed wedding or a destination wedding, there are so many whimsical choices when it comes to matching your invitations to your themes.  No matter what your wedding style there are certain components that should be included such as inserts..  Here are a few examples of inserts that should be considered:

  1.  Wedding response cards:  The response cards are what you will use to make a head count and seating chart for your wedding.  If you are having a sit down dinner, the response card will also include entrée choices that the guests will have to check off when they respond.  You will get excited as you see these little cards being returned with your guests rsvp.  You should have the envelope preprinted with your address on them.  Also provide a stamp on each envelope.  Your guests are not responsible for postage.
  2. Reception Cards:  The main invitation states where the ceremony is going to be located, the reception card indicates details about the location of the reception.
  3. Directions and Maps:  Although most people have a gps, sometimes the gps fails.  It is a nice touch to add direction cards to the church and reception so that guest will know exactly where they are expected to go.
  4. Accommodations cards:  These cards inform guests where you made arrangements for them to stay overnight if they need to.  You should call around to area hotels one year in advance to reserve room blocks at a discounted price for your guests.  Try to decide ahead how many of your guests will be coming in from out of town that will need rooms and be sure to block out enough rooms to accommodate them.  You might have to choose two or three hotels because most hotels have a limit on room blocks.
  5. Website card:  If you created a wedding website you can add a card with the website on it so that guests can check in and get all the details of your wedding right up to your special day.

Top Ten Invitation Tips:

When it comes to tradition, nothing holds more rules than the wedding invitation.  If you want to avoid problems, here are some traditional rules that you might want to adhere to.

  1.  Who is the host?  Tradition says that whoever is paying for the wedding should be the names of the persons hosting the wedding on the invitation.  Usually the invitation will have the parents of the bride as the hosts on the invitation.  With current conditions, who pays for the wedding is rapidly changing with the grooms family and the bride and groom pay for portions of the wedding.  Do what feels right to you, but whoever is paying for the majority of the wedding should be the ones on the invitation.  Here is an example of the invitation when the bride’s  parents are paying.

Mr. and Mrs. Harold Smith request the Honor of your presence at the marriage of their daughter

Here is an example of an invitation when the bride and groom are paying for the wedding:

It is with great joy that Judith Smith and Joseph Grey invite you to share in a celebration of love as we exchange our marriage vows.

The Honor of your presence is requested at the marriage of Judith Smith and Joseph Grey

2.  Order 25 extra invitations in the event that you decide to invite more people.  Order extra invitations in the event that you make a mistake addressing the envelopes.

3.  If you don’t want children to be invited to the wedding, the correct way to extend that message is to omit their names on the outside envelope of the invitations.  It is not proper to print “no children” on the invitation.

4.  Always address your envelopes by hand or by a professional calligrapher. Never use stick on return address labels.

5.  When addressing envelopes, be sure to put both names of a couple on the envelope.

6.  Mail invitations 6 weeks before the wedding date.  Have the response cards requesting an rsvp three weeks prior to wedding.

7.  Do not run your invitations through a postage machine.  They should be stamped.

8.  Never add your registry to your invitations.  That is best done on the shower invitations.

9.  Be sure to include what type of food the guests should expect by writing, “Dinner reception to follow” or “Cocktail reception to follow”

10.  Mail all invitations at the same time so that guests receive them at the same time and do not feel that they are on a “b” list.

Other stationary considerations:

The wedding Program:  The program adds a special touch to your ceremony with special information shared in it.  It introduces the members of the wedding party and their relationship to the bride and groom.  It provides the order of service and it explains any special touches that may be incorporated in the ceremony.

Menu Cards:  The menu card is a nice touch to add to your table that will let guests know what to expect for dinner.  If you have a sit down dinner, guests would have already chosen their entrees on their response cards.

Thank you cards:  The final piece of the stationary essentials are the thank you notes.  They can either match your wedding invitation of they can be the photo insert style, sharing a wedding photo with each guest as you thank them for their gift and attendance.