Here at Passionate About Paper, I am always asked about ‘proper’ etiquette when creating wedding stationery. Many brides find using proper etiquette to be stressful or intimidating –however it really doesn’t need to be! To help with the confusion I have listed below several questions that are often asked, along with helpful hints and tips….
When should I order the wedding invitations?
There are many decisions involved in choosing your invitations, including design, quantity, invitation wording, invitation set up and proof approval, printing, delivery, etc. You want to leave enough time so that you can receive your wedding invitations, have all the envelopes addressed, and have them in the mail 8 weeks before the wedding. Many brides choose to order their wedding invitations as soon as possible to allow themselves plenty of time to post them.
How many wedding invitations should I order?
You and your fiancé will need to decide how many people will be invited to your wedding. This will depend on a number of factors, and only you can decide what the limiting factor(s) will be. What is your budget? How many guests will the wedding location hold? How many guests can the reception venue accommodate? Do you want to have a small, intimate wedding ceremony with only close family and friends, or a large, festive wedding with hundreds of guests?
Once you agree upon your guest list, you simply need to determine to how many households you will be sending wedding invitations. Each couple or household receives one invitation, as does each child over the age of 18. It is recommended that you order several extra invitations (usually 15 or more) in order to allow for guests that may have been initially overlooked, guests that can be accommodated as regrets arrive, and for keepsakes for family and the bridal party.
Whom do I invite to the wedding ceremony?
As mentioned previously, the guests who will receive a wedding invitation depend on a number of factors, including budget, venues, and personal choice. You and your fiancé will need to discuss whether or not you wish to invite co-workers, college friends, neighbors, extended family, friends of the family, children, and others.
The persons attending your wedding should be those you think will be genuinely delighted in your happiness and attending in order to witness and share in the joy of your wedding day. There is no “correct” answer to the question of who should receive an invitation – invite the people with whom your day will be complete.
That said, it is courteous and considered proper etiquette if a single friend is invited, and he/she is in a relationship, that their significant other will also be invited. In addition, it is correct to include their partner’s name on the invitation, not just write “and Guest”.
Why are there so many cards and enclosures needed with the wedding invitation?
The purpose of the wedding invitation “packet” is not only to invite special guests to witness your marriage, but also to share many important information items: the names of the bride and groom, the names of the hosts of the event, when and where the wedding will take place, whether or not one has been invited to a reception, when and where the reception will take place, to what address the reply card will be sent and by what date, to what address a wedding gift can be sent, maps to the venues, etc. A significant amount of information can be relayed to recipients in a lovely, elegant (and efficient!) manner by following standard protocol for wedding invitation phrasing.
What is the correct wording for wedding invitations?
Nowadays, there is no such thing as a typical wedding invitation! There are many, many scenarios that we would be more than happy to discuss with you. We would love to help you create the perfect invitation with text that is informative, thoughtful, and courteous.
Our wedding will be held at 2:30 p.m.; what is the correct way to indicate the time on the invitation?
The time of a wedding on a formal invitation is always spelled out. In your case your wedding invitation could read “two-thirty in the afternoon” or “half after two o’clock”. A formal invitation does not use “a.m.” or “p.m.”. Any time before noon is considered morning, any time before 6 p.m. is considered afternoon, and after 6 p.m. is considered evening. If it is obvious when the wedding will be (for instance, “four o’clock” is clearly intended to mean in the afternoon, no one would be marrying at four o’clock in the morning), then it is not even necessary to list “in the afternoon”.
Which is correct – using “honor” or “honour”?
The phrase, “the honor of your presence” can also be used as “the honour of your presence” and is just as correct. It is simply a matter of personal preference. If, however, you also use the word “favor” in your wedding stationery, for instance, “a favour of a reply”, then the spelling of “favor” should be consistent with your choice of spelling for “honor” (honour/honor, favour, favor).
Do I include on the wedding invitation that no children are invited?
It is not considered to be proper etiquette to state “no children” or “adults only” on the wedding invitation. Guests should discern that their children are not invited if their names do not appear on the invitation envelope. That said, it is becoming more and more common to add a verse in your invitation which (very nicely!) indicates that children are not invited. It may also be prudent to have a conversation with some friends and family who can help spread the word that the wedding and reception are to be for adults only.
How long before the wedding should the invitations be mailed?
Standard etiquette calls for wedding invitations to be mailed 6 – 8 weeks before the wedding. In times of heavy postal service (the holiday season), or accommodation demand, it would be wise to mail the invitations sooner rather than later.
What is the best way for guests to Rsvp?
Most hosts are choosing to use a reply card, included in the wedding packet as a convenience to their guests. Often a pre-addressed, stamped envelope is included with the reply card or alternatively a postcard design with the address printed on the back of the card can be used.
How soon before the wedding should I ask guests to RSVP?
It is traditional to ask guests to RSVP approximately two weeks before the wedding. However with venues and catering to consider a four week window is becoming more common.
What if I haven’t heard from some guests? Can I assume they’re not coming?
Unfortunately, not everyone responds in a timely manner to reply cards, and sometimes things do get misplaced on the way to the post office. If you have not heard from some of the invited guests, it would benefit your ability to plan to make phone calls to follow up and learn of the guests’ plans to attend or not attend the wedding and/or reception.
Does the Save-the-Date card need to match my wedding invitation?
The Save-the-Date card does not need to match the wedding invitation. Some brides like to coordinate their wedding stationery suite, and will choose Save-the-Date cards that have been designed to complement their wedding invitation, reception card and reply card. Other brides opt for a more informal look for the Save-the-Date, using bursts of color on their stationery or perhaps even including an engagement photo of the couple. There is a wide variety of formats, text styles, design elements, paper sizes and printing processes from which to choose. Enjoy!
Is it absolutely necessary to send Save-The-Date Cards?
It is becoming more and more expected, especially when a wedding is going to be held at a distant location or during a busy season such as holidays or vacation, to send “Save the Date” cards to the guests who will be invited to the wedding. Each person who receives a “Save the Date” card should also be invited to the wedding when the formal invitations are mailed.
What information needs to be included on Save-the-Date Cards?
The Save the Date information is very brief – included are the names of the bride and groom, and the date of the wedding. There is usually a statement that says “Formal invitation to follow”. If the wedding is being held in another city, it is courteous to name the city and state where the wedding will be taking place, and many guests find it helpful to receive accommodation information, either through paper inserts or by visiting a wedding information website listed on the card.
How long before the wedding should the Save-the-Date cards be mailed out?
Save the Date cards can be mailed three months to a year before the actual wedding date. Any sooner than three months is too close to the wedding to be effective; any more than a year is too far in advance to expect to have the guest list set.
Do guests need to RSVP when they get the Save-the-Date cards?
There is no response expected from the guests when they receive their Save-the-Date cards. The goal is simply to have them hold the date open as you will be inviting them to your wedding. They can RSVP once the formal wedding invitation has been received.