When considering proper etiquette for wedding invitations, there are two things you should keep in mind: the timing when sending out your wedding invitations and the informational details included in the invitations. Whether you are still looking for wedding invitation ideas or finalizing your designs, making sure you are following proper etiquette is a necessary detail when wedding planning.
Proper etiquette for wedding invitations is an important part of the wedding planning process because it provides guests with all of the necessary information. More importantly, your wedding invitation should express your desire for your guests’ presence on one of the most important days of you and your significant others’ lives. With that said, you will want to be sure to request your guests’ presence with proper wedding invitation etiquette. Not sure where to begin? Read on to discover what is proper etiquette for wedding invitations and our top tips.
1. Send out wedding invitations early enough
When sending out wedding invitations, you will want to be sure to give your guests enough time to plan around the wedding day. For some guests, they will need to make travel arrangements if they live out of town, while others may need to find a babysitter for the night of. In order to make sure your guests can make the proper accommodations, plan on sending out your wedding invitations anywhere from 6-8 weeks prior to the wedding date. If, however, you are having a destination wedding, it is proper etiquette to send your wedding invitations out 12 weeks prior.
2. Include all of the necessary information
Proper etiquette also includes making sure that all of the necessary information is stated clearly for your guests when they open the wedding invitation. You might have a beautiful invitation design but ultimately that would be overlooked if your invitation is riddled with misinformation. With that said, simplicity is key. Be sure to include the following:
-Bride and groom’s names
-Wedding date and time
-Ceremony and reception location(s)
Any additional information such as directions and parking or accommodations, should be included on either another card of the invitation suite or on a wedding website. In keeping the invitation information clear and concise, the details of your wedding are less likely to be overlooked. Further, the simplicity keeps your wedding invitation from looking cramped and cluttered with excessive information.
3. Provide RSVP instructions
In the wedding invitation suite, be sure to include a reply card within the inner envelope that contains RSVP information for your guests. Your RSVP reply card should include a date to respond by, typically 2 to 3 weeks prior to the day of the wedding. This will give you enough time to provide your caterer with an accurate guest list to accommodate for the event.
Aside from a specific RSVP date, you will also want to be clear when letting your guests know how to reply. If you are requesting that your guests mail their response in, you will want to include a pre-addressed and pre-stamped envelope for convenience. If, on the other hand, you are going with a paperless form of RSVP responses, include a phone number, email, or a URL where your guests can give their response. With that in mind, be sure to also include the name of the point of contact who is in charge of managing RSVP responses when providing a phone number or email for your guests.
Make RSVPing even more simple
The last thing you want in the wedding planning process is a mix up regarding RSVP responses. However, with Paperless Post, RSVP tracking makes managing guest responses much more efficient and straightforward for both you and your guests.
Paperless Post’s online invitations not only allow you to see when guests open your invitation and track when they respond, but also allows you to communicate with your guest list all in one place. With an efficient and easy-to-use online invitation and RSVP tracker, you can spend more time focusing on other details of your wedding ceremony and reception—like these lucky traditions.
4. Don’t use abbreviations
When it comes to writing out the content of your wedding invitation, be sure to pay attention to wedding invitation wording. One major tip is that you should spell out all of the words in the invitation itself. Here is a brief list of words that are often abbreviated, in which you will want to be sure are spelled out when writing your wedding invitations:
-North, South, East, West
-Apartment, Street, Avenue, Boulevard, Road
Typically, abbreviations are considered informal with the exception of addressing your guests with the proper honorifics (Mr., Mrs., or Ms.). Even if the wedding is a bit less formal, formal etiquette of spelling out all words is suggested in the process of writing your wedding invitations.
5. Address your guests properly
Addressing your guests properly is a key part of wedding invitation etiquette and likely the first part of the wedding invitation that your guests will see upon opening. That said, this is the only section of the invitation that should include abbreviations (with the exception of a Doctor or other professional title). Here is a list of guidelines on how to properly address your guests with proper titles:
To a single woman:
Miss. Hailey Rose Johnson (if under 21 years of age)
Ms. Hailey Rose Johnson (if over 21 years of age)
To a married woman:
Mrs. Serena Marie Pellerito
To a single or married man:
Mr. Benjamin Jeremy Jones
To a married couple:
Mr. and Mrs. Nick Franklyn Walters
To a married couple with children:
Mr. and Mrs. Doug Michael Williams
Sarah Bailey Williams
Blake Robert Williams
The Williams Family
To a married couple when one is a doctor
Doctor Jennifer Lynn Thomas and Mr. Daniel Robert Smith (if she kept her maiden name)
Doctor Jennifer Lynn Smith and Mr. Daniel Robert Smith
Mrs. Jennifer Lynn Thomas and Doctor Daniel Robert Smith
To an unmarried couple living together:
Ms. Emily Elizabeth Brown and Mr. James Christopher Jacobson
While addressing your guests may seem like a fairly straightforward and simple task, you will want to be sure that you are addressing them properly. It’s one of the most important and commonly mistaken factors when it comes to wedding invitation etiquette. If possible, use your guest’s full name, however, if you are unsure of a middle name, avoid using it altogether as opposed to abbreviating it with just the initial.
6. Let your guests know the requested attire
Somewhere towards the bottom of the wedding invitation, you will want to be sure to let your guests know what they should be expecting as far as attire and dress code goes. If you do not mention the requested attire, your guests will naturally assume the formality of your wedding based on the formality of your wedding invitation. Here are the most common wedding dress codes from most formal to most casual:
-Black tie optional
If you would rather not include the requested attire on the invitation itself, consider including a link to a wedding website. In doing so, you can communicate important information such as dress code, further details regarding the location of the wedding venue, and RSVP information.
7. Don’t include the registry information
While proper wedding invitation etiquette suggests that attire information is included for your guests, you will want to be sure not to include any information regarding your wedding registry.
When it comes to wedding registry information, you will want to include this information somewhere separate from the invite itself such as on a separate invitation. It is considered impolite to include the registry on your invitation as it may come off that you and your significant other are more focused on the gifts as opposed to your guests’ presence.
That said, a link to a wedding website is a great option to include your wedding registry. On a wedding website, access to the registry list itself is much more convenient and easy-to-use. Further, your guests can find any and all of the information they need regarding your wedding all in one place.
8. Be clear whether children are invited or not
Similar to the wedding registry, you will want to avoid including any cluttered information on the wedding invitation. Let your guests know if children are invited or not by addressing them in the invitation. Addressing only the parents’ full names on the invitation implies that children are not invited and that the wedding is an “adults-only” event.
If, for any reason, your guests reply with their children’s names included, simply get in touch with them and let them know that it will be an adults-only event. The sooner you get in touch with your guests, the sooner they can make proper arrangements on their end.
Honor your guests with proper etiquette
With these tips in mind, you can be sure to send out wedding invitations that are elegant not only in style but in invitation wording as well. When it comes to etiquette, it’s all in the timing and the details of the invitation itself. In taking the steps to make sure that your invitations follow proper wedding invitation etiquette, you can be sure that your guests will notice your efforts and feel how strong their presence is desired through your wedding invitation.