8 wedding invitation etiquette tips

greenery themed wedding invitation
Paperless Post BlogWedding > 8 wedding invitation etiquette tips

As you navigate all that goes into wedding planning, from negotiating with a wedding vendor to struggling to word your formal invitation, following simple wedding etiquette can help steer you in the right direction. When it comes to wedding invitations, there are two things you should keep in mind: the timing when sending out your wedding invitations and the details included in the invitations. Whether you are still looking for wedding invitation ideas or finalizing your designs, making sure you follow proper etiquette is a necessary will simplify this step in the wedding planning process.

When you follow proper etiquette for addressing wedding invitations,  your guests will have all of the necessary information upfront. When you communicate the finer details clearly and efficiently, you can focus on your guests’ joy when they open your beautifully designed card. If you’re 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

Be sure to give your guests enough time to plan around the wedding day. Some will need to make travel arrangements, while others may need to find a babysitter or a date. 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

You will also want to state the necessary information clearly and succinctly for your guests in the 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)

– Attire requested

If you have additional information to share, such as directions and parking or accommodations, you should include as much as you can at the invitation stage to avoid back and forth questions with your guests as your big day approaches. There are several ways you can do this. If you choose a digital invitation with Paperless Post, you can use the blocks feature to add details, a registry, or travel and hotel accommodations. If you’re using print invitations, like the ones we offer through our exclusive print partner Paper Source, you can include this information on an additional card insert, or you can opt for a wedding website.  the invitation is 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

Whether you choose a digital or print invitation suite, you should provide clear RSVP instructions for your guests. For example, if you are sending a print invitation, you should include a reply card and a stamped and addressed envelope with each invitation. 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 headcount.

If, on the other hand, you are going with online wedding RSVPs, 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. 

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 wedding guest responses much more efficient and straightforward for both you and your guests. You can track all of your RSVPs in your event management page to quickly collect all of the information you need all in one place.

Paperless Post’s online wedding RSVPs not only allow you to see when guests open your invitation and track when they respond, but also allow 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. Plus, if you download the Paperless Post app, you can manage your RSVPs on the go.


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 formal invitation itself. Here is a brief list of often-abbreviated words that you should spell out:

– North, South, East, West

– Apartment, Street, Avenue, Boulevard, Road

– State names

Even if the wedding is a bit less formal, your wedding invitations should follow this simple rule.

5. Address your guests properly

An important part of invitation etiquette is how to address wedding invitations. 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 wedding invitations with proper titles:

To a single woman:

Miss Hailey Johnson (if under 21 years of age)


Ms. Hailey Johnson (if over 21 years of age)

To a married woman:

Mrs. Serena Pellerito

To a single or married man:

Mr. Benjamin Jones

To a married couple:

Mr. and Mrs. Nick Walters

To a married couple with children:

Mr. and Mrs. Doug Williams

Sarah Williams

Blake Williams


The Williams Family

To a married couple when one is a doctor

Doctor Jennifer Thomas and Mr. Daniel Smith (if she kept her maiden name)


Doctor Jennifer Smith and Mr. Daniel Smith


Mrs. Jennifer Thomas and Doctor Daniel Smith

To an unmarried couple living together:

Ms. Emily Brown and Mr. James acobson

While addressing your guests may seem like a fairly straightforward and simple task, t’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:

– White tie

– Black tie

– Black tie optional

– Cocktail attire

– Semi-formal

– Casual

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 wedding location or venue, and RSVP information.

7. Registry information

For formal weddings, adding registry information in the invitation is less common and should be avoided. You may want to send a separate note about your registry or include it on your wedding website. However, if you’re collecting RSVPs with a more modern approach, such as digital invitations, you can add a registry link to your invitation without coming off as impolite. 

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

Whether you’re having a beach wedding, a destination wedding, or a formal wedding, proper wedding etiquette is important when it comes to the wedding invite. With these tips in mind, you can be sure to send out wedding invitations that are elegant not only in style but in wedding invitation wording as well. When it comes to formal wording or invitation 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.

Worried about budgeting and wondering “how much do wedding invitations cost“? Check out our other blogs to learn how to save money on wedding invitations for your big day.

If you’re ready to start asking your guests to RSVP, you can browse our hundreds of beautiful wedding invitations. With Paperless Post, you never have to worry if you’re using proper etiquette because all of our invitations include sample invitation and envelope copy. Start your wedding invitation today using Paperless Post.


Browse Online Wedding Invitations