Wedding Invitations and Etiquette

Wedding invitations do more than tell who, what, where and when. Wedding invitations set the overall tone of the event. From the way the invitation is addressed on the outside to the font used for the text inside, a wedding invitation says whether the event will be formal, casual, grand, intimate, themed, traditional, or something entirely different. Who could have imagined that an invitation to a wedding could say so much?

While many of the ‘rules’ dictating a wedding are often broken by today’s couples-to-be, don’t even consider going against generally-accepted etiquette when sending your wedding invitations. In addition to providing the details and setting the tone, a wedding invitation should also convey what is and is not allowed.

And as tempting as it may be to put your guest’s names and addresses into a database, select a script font and print out a sheet of stick-on labels, don’t do it! If you’re having a casual affair, it may be okay, but anything else requires handwriting. If your handwriting is not up to par, hire someone for this task. Many couples hire calligraphers, which is a great option if your budget allows.

It’s important to include a response card and a stamped, pre-addressed return envelope in with the wedding invitation to make replying an easy task.

As for addressing, here are a few of the etiquette rules. If you’re allowing the invitee to bring a guest, or if children are not invited, you need to specify this. Customarily this is handled by the way the inner envelope is addressed.

Adding ‘and guest’ after the invited guest’s name conveys the message that the guest is allowed to bring a guest. Adding the names of the guest’s children, in order from oldest to youngest, indicates that their children are welcome to attend. There are other rules for addressing the envelopes of professionals, couples that live together but are not married, women who use their maiden name and others so be sure you follow them.

It’s customary to mail wedding invitations at least six weeks prior to the wedding date to allow guests adequate time to respond. Guests arriving from out of state or even out of the country will appreciate the extra time to coordinate their travel so as a courtesy, it’s a good idea to mail their invitations 8 – 10 weeks before the wedding.

And while you’re busy selecting your wedding invitations, you’ll find matching wedding stationary available for purchase. For that special day, you can order coordinating beverage napkins, match books, place cards, wedding cake box, and even a special wedding album.

You can have the menu printed up and a wedding ceremony program that can be handed out to guests. You’ll also need to thank your guests for attending and for their generous wedding gifts so it’s a good idea to order thank-you cards and envelopes when you’re ordering wedding invitations.

You and your partner should plan to shop for wedding invitations and wedding stationery when you aren’t feeling rushed, and do keep that budget in mind!