This entry is from our Expert Guest series where wedding and honeymoon professionals share their best tips on creating memories that last a lifetime.
Wedding invitations are the first impression that your guests will have of your wedding and having it be the perfect impression is easier than you might think. Here are a few questions that we get asked often.
Your Guide To Wedding Invitation Etiquette
How do I pick an invitation style?
There are a million styles of invitations to choose from and it can be overwhelming. If you are struggling to find or choose one that you feel represents the esthetics of your wedding, you can never go wrong with a traditional, classic style of invitation. Nice paper feel, letterpress or classic black lettering, and clean design elements, will always feel elegant. The paper makes all the difference in whichever style you choose.
Do we have to use Mr. and Mrs. or formal addressing?
Yes, save the informal addressing for your engagement party and bridal showers. Regardless of your wedding location or style, there should always be a level of decorum to your big day. Start everyone off on the right foot with a formally addressed envelope. If you do not know a first name, or how they prefer to be addressed, simply ask them.
Do we really have to write everything out?
When addressing your envelopes, everything should be spelled out completely in almost all cases. Boulevard, not Blvd, etc. The only exceptions would be to use P.O. Box, instead of Post Office Box, as the postal services prefers it, and you can choose to use the state abbreviation or the state written out, as either are correct. It sometimes will depend on the style and size of your envelope.
How do we let guests know that they can bring a guest?
By simply adding “and Guest” to the invitation, lets them know they can bring a guest. We like to put it on the second line. As a guest, if you should receive an invitation addressed only to you, then you should assume you cannot bring a guest. In some cultures it is acceptable to list “and Family”, but we highly discourage this. Not only is it very impersonal, but it opens it up to interpretation and that can have a big impact on your budget. If you are inviting minor children, you can list them on the envelope on the second line, by their first names only. As an example:
Mr. and Mrs. James and Emily Gonzalez
Jenna, Jack, and Emalynn
123 Brook Avenue
Anytown, California 99999
How do we send invitations when multiple people live at one address?
Sending invitations to a multi-generational household can be tricky, but a simple rule is that anyone 18 or over gets their own invitation. Older adults living with their kids get their own invitation, separate from their adult kids. Children 18 or over, living with their parents, get their own invitation, as well.
Do we have to hand address our invitations?
No, but you should never use labels. No, not even clear labels. Many companies will address your invitations for you or you can choose to print directly on the envelope or hand address them yourself. Trust me, this will bring the beauty of your invitation up drastically, regardless of how much they cost.
What kind of postage stamps should we use?
I definitely recommend taking your complete invitation to the post office and have it weighed. If your invitations is more than a simple card style, it will likely take more postage than a typical piece of mail. I like to order wedding postage stamps online, as the post office will often not have enough matching styles. There are also numerous places online that you can order custom stamps. A pretty postage stamp, or one that shows off your love of cars, animals, or something else personal, will elevate your invitation impression.
Are RSVP’s required?
Yes. Your RSVP’s should be scheduled to come back roughly a month before your wedding date. This will give you a week or so to track down all the missing RSVP’s before your vendors will be looking for your final guest count. A quick trick that we use to avoid confusion with RSVP’s being returned without names is to prepare our guest list in an Excel sheet, then on a back corner of the RSVP we will write a small number representing that guest’s number on the Excel sheet. This allows you to know who sent it! Don’t forget to put a stamp on your RSVP cards to make it easier for your guests to return them. There are options out there for having guests RSVP online, but we have found this to be difficult for older guests.
How do we list our registry on our invitations?
It can be confusing about how to let people know about your wedding registry, but one easy rule to remember about that is that it should never be part of your invitation suite. A wedding website is a great place to put that information, then put your website on your invitation. Your registry can be shared in bridal shower invitation or by word of mouth also.
Choosing, designing, and addressing your wedding invitations can be stressful, but with proper planning, it can be enjoyable and completely worth the time to do it right. Trust us, when we say that when your guests get your beautiful invite, elegantly and properly addressed, they will feel honored to be included.
If you have specific questions regarding preparing your invitations, I am happy to help. You can post your question to me on social media or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org . Follow us on social media for weekly tips and tricks on making your planning process run more smoothly.
Help realize your wedding dreams with a Honeyfund honeymoon registry.
With more than three decades of wedding and event experience, Lori Cole, serves as the Owner, Lead Planner and Designer, and general jack-of-all-trades for Lori Cole Events. Her talent for event planning started while still in high school and her love for weddings has continued for the majority of her life. “This is not just a job for me, it is a passion” ~Lori Cole