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Wedding Invitation Etiquette – The Dos and Don’ts

Here at Tree of Hearts we have 10 years experience of  helping brides and grooms send out wedding invitations. Wedding etiquette can be a tricky business, particularly as the rules are having to adapt to changes in traditional family structure, inter-faith marriages and same-sex weddings.

This is our guide to some of the dos and don’ts of wedding invitations.

Do

•    Use your invitation to set the theme – by the time you send out your invitations you will have decided a theme for the wedding and the level of formality. The invitation is the first impression you are providing to your guests about the wedding style/theme – so make sure you give the correct message.
•    Use the correct wording – you must include the name of the hosts (the people paying), the bride and groom, the date, time and the location. Read also our blog “Wedding Invitation wording Etiquette.”
•    Send an invitation to both sets of parents – this makes a nice keepsake for them. They will not need to RSVP.
•    Enclose an information card – this will include directions to the venue(s) and details of local accommodation. If you have a website or facebook page for your wedding the link can also be included on this card.
•    Include a stamped RSVP card – make it as easy as possible for people to reply. By addressing the RSVP envelope and paying the postage, it could save you several chasing up ‘phone calls after the RSVP deadline. Your RSVP card can also request any special dietary requirements to help you with organisation.
•    Be organised and ask for help – addressing and stuffing the envelopes can be time consuming, so ask for help from a close friend or relative and set up a production line to get the job done.

Don’t

•    Address the invitation to “and family” – you need to be absolutely clear who you are inviting to the wedding. If children under 18 are invited they should be named. If they are over 18 they should have their own invitation. Likewise you should avoid inviting Mr B “and guest” if at all possible. (Having said that, I got together with my now hubby when he needed an “and guest” for an evening do and he thought I’d fit the bill!). Read also our blog ‘How do we tell guests that children aren’t invited?’

•    Use pre-printed address labels on the envelopes – hand written invitations show you care, it doesn’t have to be perfect calligraphy, just hand-written. Also if you use your Christmas card list you might have some inadvertent “and family” on the labels. If you take on the help as already suggested it will make the addressing so much easier.
•    Mention wedding gifts on the invitation – whether you have a wedding list or would prefer money it should not be included on the invitation. Gift arrangements should be on your wedding website if you have one and can be mentioned on your information card. Read also How to ask for a cash gift for a wedding present.
•    Use a standby guest list – you should invite all your guests at once and not wait to see how many respond to the first wave of invitations before inviting more. In general there is about a 20% rate of people who decline the invitation. If you have already sent out Save the Date cards you will have a fairly good idea of numbers anyway.
•    Just invite people to the ceremony – it is fine to just invite people to the reception if you want to keep the ceremony intimate, but if you invite them to the ceremony you must invite them to the reception.
•    Invite people to the wedding who have already said they can’t come. If you have sent out Save the Date cards, some people may already have said they are unavailable. However, you may wish to make an exception for particularly elderly relatives who might have said they can’t travel, but they would like an invitation as a keepsake.

If you have any questions about what to include in wedding invitations, just speak to us and we will offer you advice.

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