In the “good old days” the etiquette for wedding invitations was relatively easy. The bride’s parents paid for the wedding, so they sent out the invitation and the wording rarely changed. The wedding would be at a Church followed by a wedding breakfast at another venue, often the host’s house.
Other things have also changed: the bride and groom lived separately, so wedding presents were needed to help them set up home; the bride did not have children before the wedding and guests would usually have lived close by.
For the modern bride a lot of this has changed. The wedding invitation and accompanying information is a crucial part of communication and careful wording can address many of these issues.
We have over 10 years experience in guiding brides through the dilemmas of a modern wedding. Here is our guide to some of those difficult areas of communication.
Who sends the invitation?
The wedding invitation comes from the person paying for the wedding, the host. Traditionally this was the bride’s father. The modern couple, however will often pay some or all of the costs, in which case the invitation should be from them. Other scenarios are that both sets of parents are paying for it; both the bride’s parents, who are divorced, are paying for it; or a single parent is paying for it.
We have put together a guide to wording here
Although many people do still marry at the church and then go on for a reception elsewhere, many more have them at venues where the service and reception are held at the same place.
When I lived in Scotland an “English wedding” was rather scorned – apparently because an English wedding did not include an evening celebration. I have only once been to a wedding where this happened, (ironically it was in Scotland), so it is clear that the modern bride also needs to provide information about the evening do too.
Your wedding invitation needs to make it clear where everything is happening, at what time and what refreshments will be provided. You may think that canapés are fine if you are having a late afternoon wedding as guests will have eaten lunch. However they may have skipped lunch in anticipation of a sit down meal.
With most couples having lived together before their wedding and couples getting married later, couples do not need wedding presents to set up home. Whilst many couples do set up a list, other couples will not want presents, but prefer money towards their honeymoon and others might request a donation to charity.
It can be a bit difficult to ask for money, but we have put together some suggestions here
Children at Weddings
I think one of the best changes in weddings is that so many people have their children before they get married and involve their children in the wedding. Most parents, particularly of small children, would expect that children would be invited. However inviting everyone’s children can really stretch the venue and your budget. You might want to have no children at the wedding or just the ones included in the bridal party.
If you want to exclude children you will need to be explicit in the invitation, albeit in a polite way. Read our previous post on ‘How do we tell guests that children aren’t invited’?
If your guests will be travelling some distance you will need to provide your guests with information of nearby hotels and guest house as well as provide directions to your venue(s). You may be including all this info on your wedding webpage, if so the web address needs to be on, or included with, the invitation. Otherwise you need to make sure the details are included with the relevant invitations.
If you have any other dilemmas concerning your wedding invitation wording, please get in touch with us as we probably have a solution to your dilemma.