Wedding Invitations Simplified

January 24, 2018

When to send them, what to include and how to say it—we've got all the important info you need to know before mailing out your wedding invitations!

 

 

 

Your wedding invitations are one of the most important elements of your special day because they provide guests not only with crucial information, but set the tone and style of the event weeks before it even arrives. These days, many details of modern weddings don't follow a strict set of rules, however, your invitations, for the most part, should. 

(calligraphy by Artisan Abode)

 

Questions we often find ourselves answering for our lovely couples are...

 

 

When should we send out our wedding invitations?

Traditionally, invitations go out six to eight weeks before the wedding. This will provide your guests ample time to clear their schedules and make travel arrangements if they don't live in town. However, if it's a destination wedding, always give your guests more time. We recommend sending them out three months ahead of time.

(calligraphy by Artisan Abode)

 

 

When should we set the deadline for our RSVPs?

Your RSVP date should be three weeks before your wedding date to allow enough time for you to get a final head count to your planner for the caterer, rental, cake artist, etc. and to finalize your seating chart. If some guests still haven't responded by your deadline, give them a quick call and ask them to please mail in their RSVPs so you have all the necessary information.

(calligraphy by Artisan Abode)

 

 

When should we send out our Save The Date cards?

Most couples send out save-the-date cards. These can be in the form of something the size of a postcard, a more formal save the date in an envelope or even something cute and whimsical like a fridge magnet. These should be sent out six to eight months prior to your selected wedding date. 

(calligraphy by Tocci Calligraphy)

 

 

 

Where do we put the return address on our wedding invitations? 

 

Most often, the return address is located on the back flap of the envelope. Always use the return address of the person or people whom you've designated to receive your response cards. This could be  your parents or you. Traditionally, this falls to whomever is hosting. Don't forget that the RSVP envelope should also be printed with this address and always includes postage.

(calligraphy by The English Letter)

 

Our wedding reception is for immediate family only. Can we still invite guests to attend just the ceremony? 

 

This would be highly inappropriate. Everyone who attends your ceremony or bridal shower, engagement party or wedding reception should be invited to the wedding. This means the entire event...the ceremony and the reception. By inviting guests to one and not the other, you're basically saying that you want them there for the actual ceremony but you either don't want to pay for their plate at the reception or that you don't care enough to have them there to actually celebrate your newlywed status along side you.

(calligraphy by Tocci Calligraphy) 

 How do we let guests know our preferred dress code?

The best and certainly the easiest way to get your point across is to include a dress code in the lower right-hand corner of the invite or on a reception card. "Black tie," "cocktail attire" or "casual attire" are all acceptable. Your invitation design will also clue guests in. An ultra-formal, traditional invite with letterpress and calligraphy will give guests a hint to the formal nature of the event, whereas a square invite with a playful font and bright colors would fit a much more casual style. Another way is to direct guests to your wedding website, where you can go into more detail about the weekend events and dress code in a more informal forum.

(calligraphy by The Artisan Abode)

 

We are having an adults-only wedding. What is the best way to make this clear to our guests?

Address your invitations carefully and correctly naming each guest specifically by name, not "and guest." The and guests should express the understanding that the invite is meant for only those listed. If you find that some reply with their children's names added, give them a call and explain you're having an adults-only wedding and you hope they are still able to attend. If there are a lot of kids in your family, you may want to consider hiring a babysitter. It's definitely not required, but it's a nice gesture most parents will truly appreciate. Be sure to include this information on your wedding website, however. For further information and suggestions on navigating this tricky topic, be sure to read our blog post How to politely say, "NO KIDS ALLOWED!"

(calligraphy by The English Letter)

 

 

Where do we include our wedding website for further information?

You can include your wedding website in one of two ways. A simple, "BrittanyAndHeath.com," is all you really need. Be sure to capitalize all letters to make it easier on older guests to read. If you don't have save-the-dates, you have the option to include the web address in the formal invitations, but we recommend you do so with a small insert card that informs guests they can find more details online.
(calligraphy by Tocci Calligraphy)

 

 Is it appropriate to include our registry information on our Save the Date cards or Wedding Invitations?

No. Including your registry information on the wedding invitation or save the date cards is impolite. It comes off as if you are asking for gifts. Its best to simply tell your wedding party, your parents and close friends where you are registered and let them notify your invited guests. That said, we also highly recommend including the links to your registry on your wedding website. This way when you or your close circle of family for friends are asked they can easily refer inquiries to the correct location. 

(calligraphy by The English Letter)

 Do we extend an invitation to everyone we invite for an "and guest" or "plus one" as well?

Certainly not. If a guest isn't married or in a serious relationship, it is perfectly acceptable to invite them solo. Most guests will understand that without "and Guest" or another name on the invitation means that they aren't invited with a plus-one. While it's always nice to invite everyone with a guest, if you're having a small wedding or you need to watch your budget, your family and friends should understand your reasoning and be respectful of that. If a guest does RSVPs for two and weren't invited as such, take the time to call them and explain you're having an intimate wedding and, unfortunately, you were not able to invite everyone with a guest. However, if you realize that nearly everyone will be coupled up, extend a plus-one invitation to your few single friends and family to put them at ease.

(calligraphy by Calligraphy by Barbara)

 

Do we I invited my friend and their significant other, however, they recently broke up. They want to bring a friend I don't know or don't like...what do I do?

 

Because the invitation was worded naming the significant other specifically on the envelope rather than "and guest", you have every right to say no. As a rule, invitations are nontransferable when people are invited specifically by name. We suggest that you try explaining you're friend that you aren't friendly with or don't know the proposed guest all that well and you would prefer the wedding be limited to very good friends and family. If you invited all of your single friends without dates, let them know they won't be the only one coming solo to help ease the tension.

(calligraphy by The English Letter)

You can have the most gorgeous invites ever, but when it comes down to it, they need to be informative. They should spell out all essential wedding info—who's getting married, who's hosting, and where and when the ceremony will take place. If your wedding style is more unique or modern, feel free to express that by breaking a few rules. Your wedding invitation is the first impression guests will have of your wedding, so it should sound like you. 

 

 

 

 

 

Looking for a top notch stationer or calligrapher? Here are some of our favorites to choose from!

 

Tocci Calligraphy

The English Letter

The Artisan Abode

Calligraphy by Barbara

The Write Impression

Fanciful Ink

Nesting Project

Wedding Paper Divas

Zazzle

 

 

 

 

 

(calligraphy by The Artisan Abode)

 

And finally, how do I word my invitation correctly?  

 

Traditional Wording

A couple of tips: If the bride's parents are hosting, it’s customary to leave off the bride's last name. But in the case of a bride having a different last name than her parents, her full name should be used. If the groom's parents are involved, the bride's last name should be included. In its simplest form, this is the standard wording template.

Mr. and Mrs. John L. Smith

request the pleasure of your presence

at the marriage of their daughter

Jessica Anne

to

David Michael Jacobson

Saturday, the seventeenth of May

two thousand and nineteen

At six o’clock in the evening

Thompson Hotel

Nashville, Tennessee

Reception to follow

 

If one set of parents is hosting:

Since you’re including the bride's parents’ names on the invitation, you do not need to list the bride's last name, unless she has a different last name than her parents. On the following line, the groom’s entire name should be written out.

Formal

Mr. and Mrs. John L. Smith 

request the pleasure of your company

at the marriage of their daughter

Jessica Anne

to

David Michael Jacobson

Saturday, the seventeenth of May

two thousand and nineteen

at half past four in the afternoon

Casual

John and Valerie Smith

invite you to share in their joy at the marriage of their daughter

Jessica Anne

to David Michael Jacobson

Saturday, May 17, 2019

at 4:30 in the afternoon

 

If both sets of parents are jointly hosting:

List the bride's parents and groom's parents on separate lines, starting with the bride's. Since both last names are included in the greeting, you don’t need to use either the bride’s or groom's last name. Of course, the same exception we mentioned above would apply here if either the bride or groom has a different last name than their parents. In that case, list out the full bride’s or groom’s name, in addition to the full names of the parents. 

Formal

Mr. and Mrs. John L. Smith & Mr. and Mrs. Martin Jacobson

request the honor of your presence at the marriage of their children

Jessica Anne and David Michael

Saturday, the seventeenth of May two thousand and nineteen at half past four in the afternoon

Casual

John and Valerie Smith along with Martin and Daphne Jacobson

invite you to share and celebrate at the marriage of their children

Jessica Anne and David Michael 

Saturday, May 17, 2019 at 4:30 in the afternoon

 

If you're hosting:

If you’re paying for the wedding yourselves, the greeting skips the host line and begins with the request line.

Formal

The honor of your presence is requested at the marriage of Jessica Anne Smith to David Michael Jacobson

Saturday, the seventeenth of May two thousand and nineteen at half past four in the afternoon

Casual

Jessica Anne Smith & David Michael Jacobson invite you to share in their joy at their wedding

Saturday, May 17, 2019 at 4:30 in the afternoon

 

If everyone is hosting:

If everyone is paying for the wedding, the invitation begins with the bride's name, followed by the groom's name, and finally the parent's names, starting with the bride's side.

Formal

Ms. Jessica Anne Smith and Mr. David Michael Jacobson 

together with their parents

Mr. and Mrs. John L. Smith & Mr. and Mrs. Martin Jacobson

request the honor of your presence at their wedding

Saturday, the seventeenth of May two thousand and nineteen at half past four in the afternoon

Casual

Jessica Anne Smith & David Michael Jacobson together with their parents invite you to their wedding

Saturday, May 17, 2019 at 4:30 in the afternoon

 

If you're a same-sex couple:

The same rules apply! The host of the celebration (read: the financier) is listed first, following their partner’s information. If the couple is hosting, names are typically listed in alphabetical order.

Formal

Mr. and Mrs. John L. Smith request the pleasure of your company

at the marriage of their daughter

Jessica Anne to Jennifer Marie Davis

Saturday, the seventeenth of May two thousand and nineteen at half past five in the afternoon

Casual

John and Valerie Smith invite you to share in their joy at the marriage of their daughter

Jessica Anne to Jennifer Marie Davis

Saturday, May 17, 2019 at 5:30 in the afternoon

 

 

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