Wedding Invitation Etiquette Tips

Wedding invitations
@ambernicole / Twenty20

Have you set a date for your wedding? If so, congratulations! Now it's time to get to work on the planning process. It's not difficult, but it is important to be organized, starting with your wedding invitations.

The wedding invitation is one of the most important things to focus on during your wedding planning. They offer the guests a sample of what type of wedding you're having (formal or casual), and they list critical information to make sure people know where to go and what time to be there. You might also want to consider sending a "save the date" card.


Start out by planning the style of the invitation. It should mirror the ceremony itself. For example, if you are having a very formal (white tie) evening ceremony, you should use fine stationer's paper with calligraphy or engraved print. A less formal wedding, such as the one you might have in a person's home or on the beach calls for a more relaxed style of invitation.


The wording on the invitation should be well thought out before placing your order. You need to include the names of the bride and groom, location, date, and time. Sometimes parents' names are listed on invitations, depending on your circumstances. Here are some examples of what to include in your invitations: Wedding Invitation Wording.

Guest List

Your list should contain all of the names of your invited guests, including every member of the family. If children are invited, add those. All family members in the same household should be listed together. It is fine to send one invitation per household, but you'll need to know who will or won't be there for planning purposes.


You'll want these invitations to look as good as possible. Since you have probably paid quite a bit for professionally designed and printed invitations, practice on plain paper until you're happy with the way it looks. Use black ink when the time comes to address your wedding invitations.


Formal and semi-formal wedding invitations typically come with two envelopes: one that is slightly smaller than the other so you can tuck it inside. On the outside envelope, you'll include your return address and the name of the family you are inviting. Use the standard format for mailing to ensure that it arrives at the intended destination. The inside envelope may have the individual names of the people you're inviting.


If you are inviting children, all you have to do is put "and family" on the invitation. Otherwise, lists the names of the adult invitees in the household. Some people don't understand that this means their children are not invited, so they may add their names to the response. In this case, you may call and let them know that this is an adults-only event.


Include a stamp on the RSVP card to make it convenient for your guests to respond. All they have to do is jot down the number of people who will be attending in the space provided and drop it in the mail. The responses should come in before you order food for the reception. If the invitees haven't responded, divide the names among those helping you and call.

Other Information

Traditionally, invitations should only include information about the wedding ceremony and not the names of places where you're registered for gifts. Some people still insist on including that information, but I think it appears crass. You're better off having other members of the bridal party let guests know where you are registered.

When to Send

Ideally, invitations should go out six weeks to a couple of months before the wedding. Guests need to put the date on their calendars. They may also need to ask for time off from work and make hotel reservations if they're coming from out of town.