Essential Wedding Invitation Etiquette Brides Need to Know
Your wedding invitation is the first thing that guests see about your wedding.Don't you want to get off to a good start?Inviting guests to your big day is not as simple as choosing your favorite stationery.From when to send your scheduled date card and how your design should be worded in an envelope, we answer all your wedding invitation etiquette questions, breaking down what you need to know before you send out your invitation.
Here are some answers to your most pressing wedding invite related questions for brides out there that need some reminders or reassurance that they’re already on track.Click through for everything you need to know about the big day invitation.
- Do we have to send out a Save-the-Date and when should we send out?
No, you don’t have to send out a save-the-date, this is a fairly new and totally optional step. They are just to give your guests a heads up when your wedding date will be, you can choose to send or not to send. Generally speaking, giving notice six to nine months in advance is great. If you are planning a destination wedding or if you have a lot of guests who are coming from out of town, you should generally send out your save-the-dates nine to 12 months before your wedding.
- How many wedding invitations will be needed？
It’s one per household, not one per individual guest that is invited. Any child age 18 years or older should receive their own invitation regardless of whether they still live at home with their parents. Roommates get their own invitations.
- When should we order our wedding invitations?
Start looking and ordering invitations at least 3-6 months before your wedding to ensure you have enough time to search, compare, order, and assemble the invitations before mailing.
- What information should we include on our invitations?
These are the basics: Names of bride and groom, Parents names/Host names (optional), Day, Date-including the year, Time, Location of the Ceremony, Address of the Ceremony Location, City and State of the Ceremony Location. If the Reception is taking place in the same location as the Ceremony, you need to list the Reception information.
- When should we send out our wedding invitations?
Traditionally, invitations go out 6-8 weeks before the wedding—that gives guests plenty of time to clear their schedules and make travel arrangements if they don’t live in town. If it’s a destination wedding, give guests more time to plan their travels and send them out 3 months ahead of time.
- Where do we include information about our wedding website?
You can include your wedding website on your save-the-date. If you don’t have save-the-dates, you can include the website address with an insert to the wedding invitation ensemble. A small card that informs guests they can find more details online is proper. Do not include this on your RSVP as the guests will be mailing these back to you and they won’t have that information at their fingertips any more.
- Can we include our gift registry information on our wedding invitations?
Never, ever make any reference to gift registry on the wedding invitations (putting the gift registry information is only appropriate for shower invitations). It’s best to keep this information on your wedding website or share this information via word of mouth.
- Can we invite our guests to just the Ceremony?
If you invite guests to your wedding ceremony, you are also inviting them to the reception afterwards. It would be very impolite to only invite them to the ceremony but not to the reception since it gives the impression of “I want you at the ceremony, but don’t want to pay for your dinner plate.” You definitely don’t want to give off that impression on your big day!
- We’re having adults only wedding (no kids). How can we make sure that is clear to our guests?
Although the decision to invite children or not to a wedding is a highly debated topic with no right or wrong answer, we still suggest to never say “No children” or “Adults only” directly on your invitation; it’s better to use some other subtle ways to get this point across. When addressing the inner envelopes, you should only include the name of each person invited, this tells the guests exactly who has an invitation extended to them and who doesn’t. You can complete the “Number attending” portion of the response card and all the guest has to do is fill in their name and check “accepts” or “regrets”…this puts you in control of the total count you are allowing. You can also get the help of your parents or a close family friend to call those families who have included their kids in the response card and politely explain that you are having an adult only reception.
- How do we tell our guests about the dress code?
If you would like to dictate the proper attire for your wedding, you may include this in the lower right corner of the wedding invitation (use a smaller matching font) and keep it to wording that can be easily Googled for a more detailed description, such as : Black Tie, Black Tie Optional, etc.
- Who should we give a “plus-one”?
You can give plus ones to some single guests or if someone has been in a serious, committed relationship with someone for awhile, or if you think they don’t really know anyone at your wedding and would enjoy it better with a guest, give them a plus one.
- Do we have to use inner envelope?
Inner envelopes are slightly smaller than the larger outer envelope, and are not gummed (sticky). They are not required, but it can be argued that they make it very clear who is invited and who is not. If the inner envelope tradition is not important to you, you can use the outer envelope only, address to everyone that is invited on this envelope, and save your budget for other things.
- How to address our guests on the invitation and envelope?
The way you address the invitation is important because it indicates who you are really inviting. Determining the proper way to address your wedding invitation envelopes can be a tricky process and much care goes into addressing both the inner and outer envelopes or addressing outer envelope only.
- When should we make the deadline for RSVPs?
Most caterers need a final headcount 10 days to two weeks before your event, so set the RSVP deadline to be about three to four weeks before your wedding day — this will give your guests plenty of time to respond once they’ve received the invitation. If some guests still haven’t responded by your deadline, give them a quick call and ask for their response so you have all their information.
- Where do you put the return address on wedding invitations?
For mailing, the return address usually goes on the back flap of the outer envelope and is traditionally the address of whoever is hosting the wedding. For the RSVP return envelope, the address used should be that of the person(s) whom you’ve designated to receive response cards, be it your parents or you (traditionally, whoever is hosting the wedding handles response cards). Don’t forget that the RSVP envelope should include the proper postage for return mailing.
- When should we send Bridal Shower Invitations?
Your shower invitations will be mailed by the Hostesses of the shower directly. Typically, four weeks in advance of the shower is the proper time to mail these invitations.
- When should we send Bachelorette Party Invitations?
Your Bachelorette Party invitations will be mailed by the Hostesses of the party directly, and usually your Maid/Matron of Honor is in charge of this party. Typically, four weeks in advance of the party is the proper time to mail these invitations.
- When should we send Rehearsal Dinner Invitations?
The Rehearsal Dinner invitations will be mailed by the Hosts (traditionally the parents of the Groom) of the dinner directly. Typically, two to three weeks in advance of the dinner is the proper time to mail these invitations. If a guest has declined attending the wedding, they should not receive an invitation to the dinner. Be sure to cross reference the guest list with their responses to the wedding invitation before mailing invitations to the dinner.
- When should we send wedding Thank You Cards?
You should send thank you notes for all gifts received during the course of planning your wedding. For gifts received during the engagement party and shower, send a thank you within two to three weeks of the festivities; for gifts received before the wedding date, send a card as soon as possible but definitely before the wedding; for gifts given on the wedding day, mail a thank you card within three months.