Wedding Invitation Etiquette Tips & Tricks
Your invitation wording will set the tone of the wedding itself. If you’re getting married in a church, or if your ceremony is black tie, you may want to opt for a formal style. If your ceremony and reception are taking place outdoors (like mine was!) then you may want to opt for semi-formal or even casual depending on your preference! As your stationery, there is certain wording that I will recommend based on the feel of your wedding. A lot of planners, resources, people out there will tell you that it must be done a certain way. Yes there is a certain etiquette to wedding invitations but I think a lot of things will come down to your own personal opinion. But at the end of the day if you have strong preferences, it’s your wedding and you want to communicate you and your groom’s personalities through your invitations! MY job is simply to gather details of your wedding and come up with the wording for you so that your life will be easier!
Your RSVP card is another staple in your invite, but there are a few different ways to go about it! The first is to do a traditional RSVP card that comes with an envelope in which your guests will fill out and mail to you! For this, you will include the RSVP-by date (the deadline for your guests to reply), a space for the name(s) on their invitation, and a place to indicate whether or not they will attend. You may also want to include a place to indicate the number of guests in their party if you have a lot of families and plus ones. If you’re allowing your guests to select any reception menu options, you will want to include this on the RSVP card as well. For example if you want them to choose between chicken or steak, vegetarian or meat, etc. Lastly for your mail-in RSVP card, you will want to include your address on the front so they know where to send it. This will be the address of whoever is technically hosting the wedding. In most cases, the bride’s parents. And the RSVP envelope should always include postage as a courtesy for your guests!
As far as another RSVP card option to go with, you may want to opt for an RSVP online option! You may prefer to keep up with everything online if that’s just how your mind works, and this option may be convenient for your guests depending on age and how tech savvy they might be ;) The only time I would not recommend this option is if you are having a formal wedding. But again, it’s your wedding and your preference!
Envelope addressing may be the trickiest part of the invitation etiquette! Don’t worry though, that’s what your stationer is here for :) My job is to help my brides as much as they need with their etiquette because at the end of the day, the bride is the one putting together the guest list, not me. And as your stationer, I will address your envelopes exactly how everything is worded and spelled on your guest list, so it’s essential that everything is correct!
Formal - Formal addressing will typically include full names (first, middle, last) and outer envelopes as well as inner envelopes. Inner envelopes allow the option to include the specific names of the guests included per household so there is no question about who is invited. For example, the Outer Envelope may say “Mr. John Michael Smith and Guest” while the Inner Envelope would say “John and Audrey.” Another example would be with a family. The Outer Envelope may say “Mr. and Mrs. Mark Bowen Williams" while the Inner Envelope would include “Mark and Janice, Tom, Stacy, Lily” including the names of any children invited.
Informal - On the other hand, most people prefer to just have an outer envelope if they don’t see fit to have an outer + inner, or if you’re just looking to save paper and envelopes! This is the most common option these days. If you just have an outer envelope, you would just be clear to indicate on the outer envelope exactly who is invited. For example, “Mr. and Mrs. Adam Johnson and family” or “Mr. William Samford and Miss Emily Green.” You will likely only use first and last names, and you may just opt for first names if you’re feeling real casual. But again, this will all depend on the overall feel of your wedding!
How do I determine who gets a plus one and who does not?
To an extend this will be up to you. But at the same time there are general rules of thumb. If you are inviting someone who is married or engaged, you will always include their spouse or fiancé. If you don’t want to invite Mrs. John Smith, then you probably shouldn’t be inviting Mr. John Smith. Same with engaged couples. It’s just a courtesy. If you want to welcome your friend to your wedding, then you should also be willing to welcome the person they’ve chosen to spend the rest of their life with!
As far as any guests beyond that, this is your call! You will need to discuss with your fiancé whether or not you want to include children, and if you want to give a guest to every unmarried person or just those dating someone. This is where the guest list can get really hard for most people, so don’t stress over it! You are not obligated to give “and guest” to every single person on your guest list, especially if you know they aren’t going to bring a significant other. Personally for our own wedding, Wade and I gave a guest to all of our friends who we knew were involved in relationships. But most of our guests were friends with each other! If you’re inviting your random third cousin Emily who isn’t going to know a soul at your wedding, go ahead and give them a guest.
What about quantity? How do I even know how many invites to order?
This is a great question! The general rule of thumb is one invitation per household. So the whole Johnson family gets one invitation if the kids still live at home. But if the kids are grown up and married or living on their own in college, they would each get their own. This is not always the case, but it is likely that your invitation count will be half or two thirds as much as your actual head count. Amount of individuals invited does not equal amount of invitations sent.
Wording stresses me out, do I have to be the one to decide that?
Absolutely not! If you have certain input then I will take that into account, but more often than not, I will generate the wording for you based on the type of wedding you’re having. As far as your guest list goes however, you will be responsible for generating your guest list exactly how you want everything worded on your envelopes. I did create this helpful guide for all of my brides if you’d like to check that out at the bottom of this page! This guide is a brief compilation of how I recommend wording for my brides. You may find other things out there as there is different etiquette depending on the type of wedding you’re having. This is simply a guide to refer to if you have questions along the way.
Can I include my registry information on the invitation?
It isn’t customary to put your registry information on your invitations. An alternative to this is to list that information on your wedding website!