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Wedding Invitation Etiquette Guide

Oct 24

We decided to put together an Etiquette Guide for couples wondering how the heck they’re supposed to word their wedding invitations. I mean, you’ve never done this before or paid attention to any of your friends invitation wording, so how are you supposed to know!?

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Wedding Invitation Etiquette Guide

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We decided to put together an Etiquette Guide for couples wondering how the heck they’re supposed to word their wedding invitations. I mean, you’ve never done this before or paid attention to any of your friends invitation wording, so how are you supposed to know!?

With that being said, there are some “rules” and “guidelines” that you are supposed to follow (aka etiquette) and we put together as much information as possible to help you with that! Of course, these are your wedding invitations, so you ultimately need to decide what you want them to say.

If you have any questions about proper etiquette, shoot us an email, we would love to help!

Etiquette – Invitation

While we are, first and foremost, lovers of love, and design nerds, we are also aware of the importance of punctuation and stalwarts for manners. We believe in knowing the rules and when to break them and we’re convinced that good manners never go out of style. To make it a little easier on our engaged couples, we provide a proper etiquette guide to serve as inspiration when deciding how to word your suite.

1. Host Line

Start off your invitation with who is hosting the wedding. If the bride’s parents want to be honored on the invitation, you would do so by saying something like “Mr. and Mrs. Scott Moracz request the honor of your company at their marriage of their daughter…”. If you are including both set of parents, you may want to start the invitation like previously demonstrated, put the daughter and son name follow by “Son of Mr. and Mrs. Michael Douglass”.

2. The Request Line

This is the part that makes the invitation an invitation. “The honor of your presence” is often associated with a religious service while “The pleasure of your company” is used for a secular wedding, but again, you can use any wording you want. It is your wedding invitation. Brides often use lines like “join so & so at the celebration of their marriage” and “invite you to join in the vow exchange”, you just need to let guests know that you want them to join you on your big day.

3. Bride & Groom Names

This part gets over complicated. Traditionally, the bride’s name goes first before marriage, but you can do it however you want. The best way would be to stay consistent. So, if you put the bride’s first and middle name, include the groom’s first and middle name. If you include last names, make sure the bride and grooms last name is listed. There really is no set way to do this, so if you want to include the last name of your future hubby but not yours because it is 20 letters long, do it.

4. The Action Line

What is your event about? If the bride’s parent’s hosting, “At the marriage of their daughter,” is typical phrasing to use, but you might want to use “As they exchange vows of love and commitment,” or “As they finally tie the knot.” You decide.

5. Time & Location

Be as straight forward as possible. You do not want guests texting you 2 hours before your wedding trying to figure out where the thing is. Typically, you will include the date, time, and location. Some people put the venue name and leave out the address. If it is easy enough to find the address after searching the venue name, that’s fine. But you want people to show up, so don’t make it too difficult on them.

6. Reception Line

What is after the ceremony? You can keep this line vague by saying “Reception to follow”, or you can get creative with something like “Confetti and magic to follow” This really just sends your guests the message of what kind of tone your wedding will be. If your reception is at a different location, you need to include that on this line, or on a separate card in your invitation suite. If you are doing an adult only reception, you can note this on this part of the invitation. Something as simple as “Adult only reception to follow” would work.

Note About Capitalization 

Aside from proper nouns, only the day of the week, month and first letter of the year should be capitalized. More often, the first letter of the reception line is also being capitalized, though traditionally it is not.

Extra Details

Indicating Attire

To provide some guidance for your guests, it is appropriate to include a line in the bottom left or right corners of the wedding invitation specifying what type of attire is requested. Only the first letter of this line is ever capitalized on the wedding invitation.

Assembly

When assembling your invitation suite, it is most appropriate to stack the additional pieces in size order and place them on top of the invitation card. The envelope for the reply card should have the flap situated around the front of the reply card so these pieces do not get separated from each other.

Registry Sharing

One item that should never be included on your wedding invitation is information as to where you and your fiancé will be registered. So how do you provide this information to your guests? Traditionally, word of mouth was the way registries were shared with wedding guests, however, wedding websites are a more modern alternative that can be used to make this information both subtly and easily accessible. The bridal shower invitations are another appropriate place for this detail to be shared.

When To Mail

The standard recommendation for mailing your letterpress wedding invitations is six to eight weeks in advance of the wedding. For destination affairs that require most guests to travel and book plane tickets, sending the invitation suite a bit earlier is often recommended, especially if a save the date is not sent out to guests beforehand. It is important to calculate your send date before placing an invitation order to ensure there is enough time for packaging the invitations and affixing stamps once you have received the suite.

Etiquette – Reply Card

Request Line

This is the line that formally requests a reply from your guests. “the favour of a response is requested by” “Kindly reply by…” or “Please respond by…” are all examples you could use.

Date Of Reply

The reply date will be influenced by two factors: 1) When you mail your invitations and 2) Whether your caterer or venue need a final head count by a specific date prior to the wedding. It is important to check with both of these vendors to make sure you request a reply with enough time for you to provide a count of who will be coming. Keep in mind that you may not have a response from every guest by the specified date and follow up may be necessary. A little extra time should be alotted just in case

The M Line

The “M” line on the response card is the place where guests will write in their names. This is meant to designate the first letter of the formal salutation (Mr., Mrs., Miss or Ms.). It is most traditional to use the “M” line, though couples may opt to use the language, “Name(s)” instead.

Accept and Decline Lines

The accept and decline lines are traditionally worded as “accepts with pleasure” and “declines with regret.” There are many other options implying less formality that can be subsituted. You may also want to include “Number attending” here.

Indicating Invitees

Sometimes, specifying exactly how many guests are invited with the invitation is necessary. This is traditionally done using an inner envelope, however, for couples that want to be particularly explicit, a line noting how many seat(s) have been reserved can be added to the reply card. The number will need to be filled in by the couple prior to mailing, but this will send a clear message as to how many people are included in the invitation.

Meal Selection

It may also be necessary to ascertain a guest’s meal preference on the response card to provide your caterer with an accurate count for each entrée you will be serving. The best way to word this is to ask each guest to initial their selection. This ensures that you know exactly which meal each guest prefers. The meal options can be written out in full or presented using small icons.

Etiquette – Save The Dates

Language

There are several ways to request that guests save your date on their calendars and begin making plans to attend. They range from traditional and formal to fun and playful. Here are some of the most common: Save the date for the wedding of… Kindly save the date for the marriage celebration of… Save the date, xxx and xxx are getting married… Save the date, xxx and xxx are tying the knot!

Do Include

There are a few other elements that every good save the date includes. There are the obvious ones: your names, the date, and the location (just city and state). It is also a good idea to include a wedding website link on this card, so guests can find additional details, especially if it is a destination wedding. Finally, a line noting, “formal invitation to follow,” is also a traditional way to end the card.

Timing

For most weddings, 6-8 months in advance of the wedding date is most common. For destination weddings, a little extra time is always a good idea, 8-10 months is the ideal range.

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Photos provided by:
Maddie Mae Photography

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