Wedding Invitation Etiquette 101: A Quick Reference no Bride Should be Without

Everyone knows there is a certain form and etiquette to follow when composing and putting your wedding invitations in the mail. And while styles may differ, there are some accepted minimums you should follow.

Make sure time is on your side

Generally speaking you should have your wedding invitations in the mail six weeks prior to your wedding. You should allow even more if there are any special circumstances involved. If you’re planning a destination wedding or a wedding around the holidays you might want to give your guests a little more time.

Your save-the-date cards can be a big help here, too. As soon as you know the date and the venue, you are welcome to get your save the dates in the mail. I’ve worked with brides who have sent the save the date and hotel information as early as 6 to 8 months ahead of the invitation. Giving your out-of-town guests as much notice as possible ensures that they will have time to make plans, take time off from work if necessary and be there for your big day.

What else goes into the envelope?

Don’t forget to include either an RSVP card or another method for your guests to RSVP easily. You should include a reply card with a stamped envelope so your guest can let you know if they will be attending. More and more brides are sending their guests to their wedding website to RSVP and posting more and more information there. While it can be acceptable to mention wedding registry information on your website, it is never acceptable to mention this anywhere in your paper wedding invitation.

Your wedding website can be a great resource for your guests, but it is not an excuse to slack off on the rules. Be considerate and make of each guests feel welcome with a proper, paper wedding invitation.

The details

It is widely accepted that you not use any abbreviations on any part of your wedding invitation – with the only exception being for ‘Mr. and Mrs.” So, if you are inviting your uncle the physician and your aunt, the correct address would be ‘Doctor and Mrs. Smith.’

This continues to hold true for the date and time of your event. For example ‘Sunday the twenty third of October at half past five in the evening’ would take the place of Sun. Oct. 23rd at 5:30pm.

This continues to hold for the address on the outside and the reply card of your invitation. There is no St., Ave, or Apt #, but there is always Street, Avenue and Apartment number. The only exception to this rule is the comma that occurs between city and state – ‘Atlanta, Georgia’ is perfectly acceptable. Atlanta, GA is not.

There also should not be any punctuation on your wedding invitation. Again, the one exception to that is the punctuation that occurs after Mr. and Mrs. Your wedding invitation should read like an elegant, formal request, not a series of sentences.

Proper Wording

There are many styles and ways to word the actual invitation; you should make sure you consult an expert for your particular situation. Traditionally, a bride’s family was the ‘host’ and thus mentioned first on the invitation. Currently, there are many, many different ways to invite friends and family to your wedding. Often brides and grooms will host and not mention parents at all. The groom’s parents may be mentioned if they are hosting, parents of blended families, can be mentioned; the possibilities are endless. Consult the wording guide at MyExpression for wording suitable for your unique situation.

How to invite

Addressing your guests on your wedding invitation envelope is important also. When addressing an envelope to a single guest, it is not necessary to note ‘and guest’ on the envelope. If inviting an unmarried couple who live at the same address include both of their names on their own line. If inviting two people who live at the same address, but are room mates, send two separate invitations. Obviously, a married couple should be addressed as ‘Mr. and Mrs.’ or with their appropriate professional titles.

There are many details to consider, but following these basic rules makes your wedding invitation special and will make your guests feel honored to be invited.