Wedding invitation etiquette, while not as strict as in the past, still applies to today's modern bride and groom. Here are some helpful hints to consider when ordering and mailing your wedding invitations.
- Once you know your date, you should start considering your invitation. There are so many styles to choose, and places to purchase from that before you know it, your head will be spinning! The main rule here is that your invitation is the first line of communication between you and your guests, so you need to make sure they set the right tone. Whether your wedding is going to be a fun day at the beach or a formal church affair with black tie dinner, you need to let your guests know what to expect. That's the job of the invitation. If you're unsure how to convey the proper tone of your wedding, speak to a professional!
- Your invitations should be mailed 4-6 weeks from your wedding date. If you are having a lot of out-of-town (or international) guests, a destination wedding, or are getting married on a holiday weekend, please consider sending save the dates.
- Save the dates can be as simple as a card with the date and your names, and should be mailed out 6-12 months before your date. You can also include a wedding website URL (there are tons of free ones out there that are easy to set up) to give your guests an extra heads-up on accommodations.
- You should always send an invitation to your family and attendants. Even though they probably know every detail of your wedding, it is still considered appropriate to mail them an invitation. Besides, they will definitely want a keepsake from your wedding!
- Guests who are over 18, but living at home, should receive their own invitation even though you are already inviting their parents.
- A wedding invitation really only needs three elements: the invitation, the response card (which can be a postcard or have its own envelope), and the outer envelope.
- Consider adding information cards to your invitation suite to let your guests know about your reception, directions to the appropriate places, hotel accommodation information, and other weekend events planned. Even if you have a wedding website with this information, at the very least your reception information and website URL can be included on a separate card.
- The inner/outer envelope is a thing of the past! There are still ways to include the same elements without using an inner envelope; consider using a paper band wrap or seal on which your guest names can be printed. This can then envelope or enclose your invitation.
- We've included a comprehensive guide to wording your invitation (see here), but to state it simply -- an invitation needs to clearly and concisely include the key details for your guest. Who, what, where, and when. The Why is implied!
Use this handy guide to address your save the dates and invitations properly.
- Always use a guest's home address, never work or school.
- Always use appropriate titles before the name (Mr., Mrs., Miss, Ms.)
- You should always make an effort to find out guests names -- for example, if you are inviting your cousin and his live in girlfriend but don't know her name, you should make an effort to ask him or other relatives and not write the invitation as Mr. Cousin's Name and Guest
- For guests you are inviting with children, you should make an effort to find out their names and include them on the second line of the address (for example, Line 1: Mr. and Mrs. James Cunningham, Line 2: Mr. James, Jr. and Miss Jane Cunningham)
- For unmarried couples living together and married couples using different last names, put both names on the same line in alphabetical order (ex. Ms. Samantha Boyd and Mr. Gregory Smith) -- always use Ms. for the woman in this instance
- For same sex couples that are married with different last names or living together, use the same rule as above (Ms. Jane Armstrong and Ms. Stephanie Zoeller OR Mr. Kenneth Bennett and Mr. Arnold Poundstone) -- for same sex couples that are married and using the same last name, use the plural "Messrs" or "Madames", both first names, then the last name (ex. Messrs. Robert and Stephen Abrams or Madames Amanda and Barbara Stone)
- For married couples using the same last name, list them as Mr. and Mrs. and use the husband's full name (ex. Mr. and Mrs. Jonathon Grimes)
- Widowed women should be address using their husband's name (ex. Mrs. Jonathon Grimes)
- Divorced women using their ex-husband's last name should be addressed as Mrs. If they reverted to their maiden name, use Ms. Always use her first name, unlike a widowed woman (ex. Mrs. Jane Arnold or Ms. Jane Babcock)
- Medical doctors should always be address as Dr. But persons with PhD's should always be addressed using Mr., Mrs., or Ms.
- If both people are doctors, you can use "The Doctors" and then just their shared last name. If they use different last names, address them separately in alphabetical order using Dr. as the title for both
- There are other people who you should address using titles, including: Honorable (Judge); Lieutenant, Captain, Major, etc (Military), Reverend, Father, Pastor, etc. (Religious)