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The Wedding Planner: Invitation Etiquette

You’ve booked your venue and set the date–this means the wedding is actually happening! Now it’s time to get thinking about invitations. While your style choices are entirely that–yours–one thing that should stay consistent is how you address your invitations.

Invitation wording

This is really entirely up to you! Are you going for something more formal? Are you including your parents in the invitations? Generally, if the bride and groom are paying for the wedding themselves, you don’t really include the parents’ names, and this is doubly true if you have divorced parents and don’t want to offend step-parents or the like. The call to action you include can range from traditional to silly, all depending on your personal couple style. Here are a couple examples (using mine and my fiancé©’s name because I’m bad at making this stuff up)

Super traditional: Mr. and Mrs. Pizzi and Ms. Esposito request your presence at the marriage of their children, Ashley and Adam, on Saturday, July Sixteenth Twenty-sixteen at Four-thirty in the afternoon

Kinda traditional: Ashley and Adam, together with their parents, invite you to celebrate their marriage on Saturday, July 16, 2016

Definitely not traditional: Ashley Kowalewski and Adam Pizzi are tying the knot! Saturday, July 16, 2016 at 4:30 in the afternoon

(In case you’re curious, we’re going with “definitely not traditional.”)

Invitation addresses

Oh man, this is one thing that is proving to be a test of how easily you can break old habits. According to everything I’ve scoured the internet for, no matter how casual you’re being on the inside of the invitation or at the actual wedding, you still need to address people properly and in an old-fashioned kinda way. That means spelling out words like “apartment” and provinces, as well as putting the man first if the couple is married. For example:

To a married couple: Mr. and Mrs. Adam Pizzi

To a family: Mr. and Mrs. Adam Pizzi and Family

To a couple that’s dating where you know the SO: Mr. Adam Pizzi and Ms. Ashley Kowalewski OR Ms. Ashley Kowalewski and Mr. Adam Pizzi (NOTE: when you know both people in the relationship, the guy’s name goes first and gets sent to the man’s address if they’re not living together–archaic, I know. If you know the girl and she’s bringing her boyfriend, then address her first.)

To a couple that’s dating where you don’t know the SO: Mr. Adam Pizzi and Guest (NOTE: Whenever possible, try to find out the full name of the “guest” beforehand–it’s a nice touch to personalize it with their name, especially when it comes to the place cards.)

RSVP cards

From what I hear, the bane of every betrothed couples’ existence, RSVP cards only work when the person fills out their name before returning it (if they even send their RSVP card back)–I hear both are an issue. I saw this really great tip, which I will pass on to you, fellow brides-to-be: Write a small number on the back of each RSVP card that correlates with the number of the person on the list, so at least if you receive it without a name, you know who it is. And if you don’t happen to receive number 37, you know to follow up with that uncle who is notorious for forgetting.

Don’t forget… 

  • Addresses for the ceremony, reception and any hotel you’ve pre-blocked
  • A map showing the above in relation to one another
  • RSVP cards with return envelopes, including postage and a mailing label
  • A smaller card with the ceremony/reception information so your guests don’t have to try and fit the whole invite into their clutch (optional)
  • Any gift registry info or alternative message (we’ll get to this in another post)
  • The date of your wedding! (duh)

Save-the-dates: yay or nay?

According to a plethora of articles that I read when I first got engaged, typically you only need to send save-the-date cards when you’re having a destination wedding or are inviting a lot of people from out-of-town so that they can organize travel arrangements and such. The one thing a lot of these articles didn’t take into consideration is that when you get to a certain stage in your life, like, for instance, your twenties, you’re going to be going to a lot of weddings, your friends are going to be going to a lot of weddings, so in order to give everyone a head’s up (especially if you’re getting married at peak wedding season in the middle of the summer… sorry to anyone reading this who is coming to mine), you might want to consider sending some out. Since myself and my fiancé© fall into the latter group, we opted for them, using one of our favourite shots from our engagement photos to give all of our friends and family (and the other people we’ve never met) some time to plan out their summer so they can attend our July fiesta. When should you send them? Most websites recommend six to eight months (but that’s if you’re doing a destination wedding). We’re choosing to send ours in October for our July wedding. Why, you ask? Because we’re inviting a lot of people and since we’re still getting all of the addresses sorted out and are stuffing and mailing all of the save-the-dates and invitations ourselves, we need some time. Friends of ours sent out their save-the-dates as Christmas cards last year (smart thinking, guys! Loved it!), but since we took our engagement photos on the beach, it didn’t quite make sense to do that. Ultimately, it’s a judgement call on whether you’re willing to spend the extra money and time.

The Wedding Planner is an ongoing series where we give you some real-life wedding planning advice, from finding the dress to dealing with that ever-growing guest list, over the next few months as we figure it out ourselves. 

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