Tips & Etiquette

  • When to Order
  • Wording
  • Addressing
  • Assembly and Mailing
  • When to Order

    During the planning stage, allow at least three months from the time you place your order for your invitations and stationery to arrive. Turnaround times do vary from printer to printer, but leaving ample time only means you’ll have the freedom to order the right invitation suite – not just one that will get there on time. If you want your save the date cards and wedding invitations to match, then you’ll need to start looking about 8 months to a year before your wedding date. However, don’t feel pressure to have them match, it’s hard to plan your entire paper style so far in advance. Your taste may change. We recommend mixing it up! As long as you’re consistent with certain elements (color schemes, design elements, etc.) the pieces will appear cohesive.

    Save the Dates

    In general, save the dates should reach your guests six to eight months before your wedding and up to a year before international and destination weddings. We recommend ordering save the dates eight months before traditional celebrations and up to 14 months before destination weddings.

    Wedding Invitations

    Traditionally, invitations are mailed six to eight weeks before the wedding. We strongly recommend ordering your invitation suite at least four months before your wedding date. That gives you one extra month to receive and address your invitations. If you’re planning to create custom invitations or add extra touches like calligraphy, you may want to allow even more time.

    The invitation sets the tone for your event more so than any other piece, so let this one shine. From the invitation forward, it’s usually a good idea to have your pieces match. It’s an easy way to make your event feel consistent and seamlessly stylish.

    Programs, Menus, Place Cards

    Additional pieces for the wedding weekend, ceremony and reception may include:

    • Menus
    • Place cards
    • Escort cards
    • Programs
    • Information cards
    • Activities cards

    We recommend ordering any pieces you’ll need for your wedding celebration at least six to 10 weeks before the event.

    Dos and don’ts

    - Do order extras. Trust us, you’ll be glad you did. Having extra invitations and envelopes on hand not only saves the day when you or a calligrapher make a mistake during the addressing stage, but also means you’ll have additional copies as mementos for friends, family and yourself. A standard rule of thumb is to order 10 extra copies of your invitation.

    - Do spend some time thinking about where RSVPs should be sent. While RSVPs traditionally go to the wedding host(s), many guests will automatically send gifts to the RSVP address included with the invitation. If parents hosting the wedding live in a different town from the bride and groom, you may choose to have RSVPs sent directly to the bride-to-be.

    back to top

    Wording

    Some words on wording

    When it comes to wedding invitations and all their accompaniments, what to say and how to say it has left many a bride and groom wringing their hands in bewilderment. But the process needn’t be stressful or complicated. Remember, each piece in your wedding invitation suite has its own purpose and communicates a specific set of information to your guests. Following these simple rules of thumb will get you headed in the right direction:

    The Invitation

    Quick Tips to avoid common faux pas:

    -In all cases the names of the hosts should be listed at the top of the invitation.

    -Every invitation card should include:

    - Names of the bride and groom

    -Names of the hosts (traditionally, the parents of the bride)

    -Ceremony date, day of the week, time and location

    -Be consistent. If you spell out the wedding date on the invitation, make sure to spell it out on your reply card as well. If you list the date in a casual way on the invitation, list it in a casual way on the reply card.

    -The term “request honor of your presence” is typically reserved for a church wedding. You are welcome to spell it as either “honor” or “honour.” Just make sure on your reply card you match it with either “favor” or “favour.”

    -If you are getting married outside of a church (i.e. on a beach, in a garden, in a ballroom, etc.) suggested invitation wording would be “request the pleasure of your company.”

    -The word “and” in between two names typically implies that those people are married. Names of unmarried hosts or guests should be stacked.

    -If the wedding ceremony and reception are being hosted in the same location, there is no need for a reception card. At the bottom of the invitation, simply say “Reception to follow,” “Dinner and dancing to follow,” or something to that effect. -Spell it out. For your wedding collection, try not to abbreviate anything. It’s a good idea to spell out state names, street information and middle names.

    Examples:

    Traditional and/or formal weddings being held in a church and hosted by the parents of the bride:

    Mr. and Mrs. Christopher Whitney
    request the honor of your presence

    at the marriage of their daughter

    Carolyn Aubrey
    to

    Samuel Richards


    Saturday, the tenth of July
    two thousand and ten
    at half-past six o’clock

    First Church

    City, State

    For more formal and/or traditional weddings being held outside of a church and hosted by parents of the bride:

    Mr. and Mrs. Christopher Whitney

    request the pleasure of your company

    at the marriage of their children

    Carolyn Aubrey

    &

    Samuel Richards

    Saturday, the tenth of July
    two thousand and ten
    at half-past six o’clock

    First Church

    City, State

    For more formal and/or traditional weddings being held outside of a church and hosted by both sets of parents:

    Mr. and Mrs. Christopher Whitney

    and
    Mr. and Mrs. William Richards

    request the pleasure of your company

    at the marriage of their children

    Carolyn Aubrey
    &
    Samuel Richards

    Saturday, the tenth of July
    two thousand and ten
    at half-past six o’clock

    First Church

    City, State

    For less formal or non-traditional weddings being hosted by both sets of parents and the bride and groom (there is a myriad of ways to arrange the wording, so feel free to add in your own creativity):

    Together with their families
    Carolyn Aubrey Whitney &
    Samuel Aaron Richards

    invite you to share in their joy

    at the celebration of their marriage

    Saturday, the tenth of July
    two thousand and ten
    at half-past six o’clock

    First Church

    City, State


    For less formal or non-traditional weddings being hosted by the bride and the groom:

    Carolyn Aubrey Whitney &
    Samuel Aaron Richards

    invite you to share in the celebration of their marriage

    Saturday, the tenth of July
    two thousand and ten
    at half-past six o’clock

    First Church

    City, State


    Special cases

    In today’s world, many couples find that traditional wording conventions don’t suit. Here are our recommendations for handling some common special cases.

    Divorced parents

    Traditional and/or formal weddings being held in a church and hosted by the divorced parents of the bride (include names on separate lines):

    Ms. Eleanor Smith

    Mr. Christopher Whitney

    request the honor of your presence

    at the marriage of their daughter

    Carolyn Aubrey
    to

    Samuel Richards


    Saturday, the tenth of July
    two thousand and ten
    at half-past six o’clock

    First Church

    City, State

    You can use a similar format when one parent has remarried:

    Ms. Elaine Allen

    and

    Mr. and Mrs. Christopher Whitney
    request the honor of your presence

    at the marriage of their daughter

    Carolyn Aubrey
    to

    Samuel Richards


    Saturday, the tenth of July
    two thousand and ten
    at half-past six o’clock

    First Church

    City, State

    Wording for additional pieces

    Wording for additional pieces in the wedding invitation suite vary widely depending on the couple’s individual style, taste, ceremony and budget. Here, we offer examples of standard wording for popular additional pieces. Remember that you can change words, add or subtract information and rearrange the order of different lines to reflect your wedding’s unique character.

    Save the Date

    Please save the date

    Saturday, June 21, 2008

    for the wedding of

    Carrie Whitney
    and
    Samuel Edwards

    Formal invitation to follow

    - For formal events, you may want to include couples’ full names and host names
    - You may also include the wedding location and a wedding web site URL

    R.S.V.P Card

    Most formal (the guests are to write in their response in the blank space below. This is a fun way to get more personal and memorable responses):

    The favor of a reply is requested
    by the thirty-first of May

    Most current (you offer a series of checkboxes and lines to direct the information you want):

    The favor of a reply is requested
    by the thirty-first of May

    Name(s)_________________________________________

    ________ will attend
    ________ will not attend

    or

    The favor of a reply is requested by the thirty-first of May
    M_____________________________________________
    ______ Accepts with pleasure
    ______ Declines with regret

    Entrees

    ___ Filet
    ___ Alaskan Halibut
    ___Vegetarian

    -You can mix and match how you ask for replies, as long as the wording seems consistent with the invitation. Feel free to mix and match any of the above.

    -Note that “the favor of a reply” typically matches the invitation wording “the honor of your presence.” If you used “request the pleasure of your company” or less formal wording on the invitation, the corresponding RSVP wording would typically be “Kindly reply by” or “Kindly respond by.”

    -To come up with your RSVP by date, give yourself half the time you give your guests. If you send your invitations out 8 weeks in advance of your wedding, ask for the reply by date 4 weeks from the wedding. If you send the invitations out 6 weeks in advance, the reply by date should be 3 weeks out.

    At Home Card

    Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Edwards

    will be at home
    after July first

    123 Main Street

    San Diego, California 92111

    Activities Card

    Weekend Activities

    Friday
    Winery Tour

    1:00 pm

    Please meet in the hotel lobby

    Saturday
    Ladies tea

    11:00 am
    Geraldine’s Tea Room

    Please meet in the hotel lobby

    Rehearsal Dinner

    7:00 pm
    La Toque

    1140 Rutherford Rd

    Sunday
    Farewell Brunch

    11:00 am
    Rutherford Grill

    1180 Rutherford Road

    Information Card

    Transportation will be provided to and from the rehearsal dinner, wedding ceremony and reception. Shuttles will depart from the hotel lobby 45 minutes prior each event and return every half-hour each evening beginning at 10 pm.

    Escort Card

    Mr. Robert Whitney

    Table 11

    Or

    Mr. and Mrs. Robert Whitney

    Table 11

    Thank You Card

    -Brides and grooms today typically create personal stationery to match their wedding suite and use these personal notes to thank their guests. They personalize it with their married names or married monogram (i.e. Susie and Tyler Whitney)

    -More traditional thank you cards feature the words “Thank You” on the front flap and are blank inside.

    Tips

    - For gifts received before the wedding, the general rule is to send thank you cards within two weeks of receipt.

    - For gifts received at or after the wedding, we recommend sending thank you notes within a month of receiving the gift.

    - Mention the gift by name.

    - For monetary gifts, do not mention the exact amount. Instead, thank the guest for the “generous gift.”
    - Give an example of how you are or will use the gift.

    - If the person also attended your wedding, thank them for coming.

    Rehearsal Dinner

    We recommend sending invitations to the rehearsal dinner three to six weeks before the event. This invitation is much less formal, and there are a number of ways you can word this depending on the formality of the dinner. Some suggestions are below:

    Mr. and Mrs. William Edwards

    request the honor of your company

    at the Rehearsal Dinner
    honoring

    Carrie and Sam

    on the eve of their marriage

    Friday, the twentieth of June
    at 8:00 pm

    The Point Restaurant


    RSVP 619-XXX-XXXX

    or

    You are cordially invited to attend
    the
    Rehearsal Dinner
    honoring

    Carrie and Sam

    June 20th
    8:00 p.m.

    The Point Restaurant


    Mr. and Mrs. William Edwards

    RSVP 619-XXX-XXX

    Place Card

    Mr. Robert Whitney

    Favor Tag

    Carrie and Sam

    June 21, 2008

    Dos and Don’ts

    Whatever wording and format you choose for your wedding invitation, we strongly recommend keeping these dos and don’ts in mind:

    - Do double, triple, quadruple check the spelling of the names and titles of invited guests.

    - Do use the correct names for invited guests whenever possible. If you don’t know your second cousin Anne’s boyfriend’s last name, ask! Using the name will make both Anne and her boyfriend feel like the special, honored guests they are.

    - Don’t include registry information on your invitation card or accompanying pieces. Instead, list the information on your wedding web site and communicate it via word of mouth. Not only is it tacky to present this information on your formal invitation, it is presumptuous to ask your guests for gifts.

    - Don’t print “no gifts” anywhere on your invitation suite, even if you truly prefer that guests not bring gifts. Not only does a message like this presume your guests were planning to give you gifts in the first place, the decision to give or not to give gifts is your guests’ choice, not yours.

    - Don’t include reception information on the invitation card unless both the ceremony and the reception are held at the same venue. When a reception is held at a different location, it is a separate event and should be treated as such. Include a reception card with the proper event details in the invitation suite.

    back to top

    Addressing

    Addressing the invitation

    When you’re ready to address your outer envelopes, sticking to the following conventions announces your upcoming celebration with grace and style:

    Married couples
    Mr. and Mrs. Robert Whitney

    Married couples with different last names
    Mr. Robert Whitney and Mrs. Elaine Allen

    Married couples with one doctor (the Dr. title precedes a Mr. or Mrs.)
    Dr. and Mrs. Robert Whitney or Dr. Elaine and Mr. Robert Whitney

    Married couples with two doctors
    The Drs. Robert and Elaine Whitney

    Married couples with a judge
    The Honorable Robert and Mrs. Elaine Whitney The Honorable Robert Whitney and Mrs. Elaine Whitney

    Unmarried couples living together
    Mr. Robert Whitney Ms. Elaine Allen

    Dos and Don’ts

    - Do rely on inner envelopes to tactfully invite only certain members of a family

    - Don’t use abbreviations. Spell out state names and words like “Street” and “Avenue” or "Post Office Box."

    Return address

    The return address indicates where guests should send replies and gifts when a specified RSVP address does not appear inside the invitation suite.

    Traditionally, guests mail responses to the parents of the bride. Today, many brides prefer to handle the responses themselves. In that case, use only the bride’s address, even if the bride and groom live together (trust us, it will make your ultra conservative, octogenarian auntie happy).

    If the groom wants to have his name appear in the return address, proper etiquette is to present the couples’ names on separate lines:

    Carrie Whitney

    Samuel Edwards

    123 Main Street

    San Diego, California
    92111

    back to top

    Assembly and Mailing

    Assembling your invitation suite

    When your guests open your wedding invitation, they should see the enclosed cards arranged in order of size, with the smallest piece on top and the largest – the invitation – on the bottom.

    The invitation always arrives on the bottom with its printed side facing up. If your invitation is double-sided, arrange it so the ceremony details are faced down.

    Additional pieces should be stacked on top of the invitation according to size. If you have more than one card of the same size, place the more important card closest to the invitation.

    In general, the ordering of the pieces usually looks like this:

    Bottom
    1. Invitation

    2. RSVP set (RSVP card should be placed under the flap of the RSVP envelope)

    3. Reception Card

    Top

    Dos and don’ts

    - Do write a number lightly in pencil on the back of every RSVP card. Assign each number to a guest on your list. When a guest inevitably forgets to write his or her name on the RSVP card, this backup system will allow you to keep track of who’s coming.

    Stuffing the envelopes

    We recommend making this dull task fun (and a whole lot faster) by rounding up some friends and family members for an informal envelope stuffing party. Mix up a batch of cocktails to keep ‘em happy.

    Dos and don’ts

    - Do assemble one complete invitation set and weigh it at the post office before stamping your envelopes. Improper postage, which will result in returned invitations, can be disastrous.

    - Do set aside invitation sets bound for international addresses. This will help remind you to add extra postage.

    - Do double, triple, quadruple check each invitation set before sealing the outer envelope. If you’re including inner envelopes, make sure the names on the outer and inner envelopes match.

    - Don’t use a sponge to seal the envelopes. It may not taste great, but the lick-and-stick method guarantees a tight seal.

    back to top

    Love at First Invite® is an award-winning wedding invitation + stationery + design company located in San Diego, California
    Copyright © 2008-2010 Love at First Invite® | All rights reserved | Site design by Love-Inspired