Invitation Etiquette 101

The Right Way to Invite Guests to Your Wedding

Wedding invitations are one of the most time-consuming and daunting aspects of getting married. But they don’t have to be a source of stress. Once you’ve been introduced to proper wedding invitation etiquette you can get to work figuring out who to invite and what sort of invitations to send.

Start by Saving the Date
Share your excitement about your upcoming wedding by sending a save-the-date card to your guests. Different from a formal invitation, this card lets guests plan ahead of time. Etiquette for wedding invitations dictates that these cards be sent several months before the event. Out-of-town guests need plenty of time to arrange for travel, and parents of young children need time to arrange for babysitting. If you’re having a destination wedding, it’s particularly important to send a save-the-date card. These days, couples are getting creative. Save-the-date magnets and photo cards are particularly popular alternatives to a plan paper save the date card.

Choose the Stationary
Whether you purchase your wedding invitations online or through a local vendor, it’s important to look at samples. Invitations range from classic, formal designs to modern designs in unusual shapes and sizes. Depending on the theme of your wedding and your personal style, you may choose a classic or funky design.

Research Etiquette for Wedding Invitations
When choosing your wedding invitations, be sure to address the invitees properly.  Depending on marital status and other factors, the wording can change. Your card vendor should be able to give you excellent tips on wedding invitation etiquette, including how to word whether or not children will be welcome at the ceremony or reception. While it may seem arbitrary, invitation etiquette is a time-honored tradition that should be upheld, even if your invitations are modern or unique.

Address Invitations Properly
Whether your invitations are casual or highly formal, they should be addressed by hand. If your handwriting isn’t up to par, enlist a friend or hire a professional. This can be a big task, so give yourself plenty of time. The fronts of the envelopes must be addressed, as well as the inside envelopes if applicable. Your return address should be included for guests who will not attend. When addressing the invitations, avoid abbreviations with the exception of state abbreviations—for the sake of timeliness with post office delivery. Visit the post office to look into purchasing stamps that match your stationary.

Get the Timing Right
Be sure to start looking at invitations at least four months before your wedding. To give yourself plenty of time, you’ll need to start the addressing process at least a month before you send the invitations. Send your invitations about eight weeks before the wedding. This gives guests around two months to prepare for the wedding. Ask that RSVP notices be returned no later than three weeks before your wedding, so that you can finalize seating arrangements and give final head counts to your vendors.

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