Guide to Wedding Invitation Etiquette


Wedding Invitation Checklist

Your wedding invitations are the guests’ first look into your wedding day. Let it represent you and your significant other! Be creative! Let’s say you have picked up a wedding invitation layout. Now, what do you include on invitation itself? We have compiled a list of the most frequently asked questions and tips on the etiquette of wedding invitations.

What to include on your invitation?

Details, details, details. Details are very important. Your invitation should include the hosts’ first and last names along with the bride’s and groom’s full names. Usually, the host is the parents of the bride or groom. It should also include when and where the wedding will take place. Time, date, month and year should be a part of the when. Include the full address of the wedding ceremony and reception.

In your invitation, you can include the dress code and RSVP (we will talk in detailed about these a little later).

When should your invitations be sent out?

Your invitations should be sent out at least six to eight weeks before your wedding day. The earlier you send them out, the more time your guests have to plan their attendance. Also, you will start getting the RSVP back earlier. This will relieve some stress in your planning process. And trust us, you want to be as least stressed as possible! For destination weddings, it is not uncommon to send them out at least three months in advance. This will give your guests time to request time off from work if necessary or find a babysitter for their kids. No one is going to be mad if you send your invitations out too early.

When should your guests RSVP by?

You should set your RSVP deadline at least two to three weeks before the wedding. This will give you enough time to get a head count to give to your caterer and plan the seating chart. Most guests will mail out the RSVP on the deadline date. So be prepared to receive them in the mail a few days after the deadline, depending on the proximity of you and your guests.

How do you address your guests on the invitation and envelope?

The way you address the invitation to your guests indicates who you are really inviting. The proper way to address a married couple is with “Mr. and Mrs.” followed by the husband’s full name. If the wife kept her maiden name, you would address it in alphabetical order by last name. Addressing the invitation to “’Mr. and Mrs.’ and family” will include your guests’ child(ren). For your single gal friends, it would be “Ms.” for those over 21 and “Miss” for those under 21. For your guy friends, it would simply be “Mr.”

Where should the return address be?

The return address for the RSVP goes on the back flap of the envelope. It should be the address of whoever is hosting the wedding or back to you and your future husband if you guys are the hosts. The RSVP envelope should already have the return address and postage on them.

Are all guests allowed a “Plus-One”?

The answer. No. You decide who gets invited to your wedding. If you want to keep small and intimate, it is perfectly okay to invite your single friends without inviting their plus-one’s. If you have a big group of single friends, let them know that there will be plenty of people for them to mingle with. When possible, introduce them to one another before the reception and seat them together.

Where should you include the dress code?

You can include the dress code for your wedding on your wedding invitation. This information typically goes on the lower right-hand corner of the invite or on the reception card if you have included one. Another way for your guests to tell how formal or casual your big day will be is to look at the style and language of the invitation itself. An invitation with calligraphy, formal language in a couple colors will show your guests that the event will be more on the formal side. A colorful, more relaxed language invitation shows that your wedding day and dress code will be more on a casual side. You can also include the dress code on your wedding website.

How should you let your guests know about your wedding website?

A very popular trend among newly engaged couples is the creation of wedding websites. Your wedding website can include all the information that is on your wedding invitation plus some additional information for your guests. The website address can be included on your save-the-date. If you did not send out save-the-date’s, you can include a small insert in the formal invitation.

Do you have to send out Save-the-Date?

No, you do not need to send out a save-the-date. This step is fairly new and totally optional. Your parents didn’t send one out and guests still showed up to their wedding and had a good time. Save-the-date’s are just to give your guests a heads up to your wedding date. However, make sure those who get one of these are going to be invited to the wedding. You don’t want to be in the situation where you have to explain to your guests why they got a save-the-date but not an invitation to the wedding ceremony and reception.

Should you include your registry information in the invitation?

You should never include your registry information in the wedding invitation. Instead, let your bridal party, family and close friends know about your registry and have them rely the information to guests in conversation. This will allow your guests to be aware of your registry without feeling like you’re inviting them just for the gifts. A good place to include your registry information is on your website but it should not be on the very first page.

Can you invite your guests to just the wedding ceremony?

If you invite your guests to the wedding ceremony, you are also inviting them to the reception afterwards. It will seem rude if you only invite them to the ceremony. It gives off the impression of “Yeah, I want you to come to the ceremony, but I don’t want to pay for your plate at dinner.” And that is not an impression you want to have on your guests on your wedding day. So if you’ve always imagined a grand wedding ceremony with lots of guests, be prepared to have lots of guests at the reception also.


‘Thank you’ cards should be sent out within two weeks of you and your hubby receiving the wedding gifts.

Invitations are nontransferable. If you have addressed your friend and her significant other by name on the invitation, and they break up before your wedding day, she should not bring her new date. At least, not without clearing it with you first.

There you have it! The most asked questions regarding wedding invitation etiquette. If you’re a newly engaged bride who still have tons of questions, check out our blog on tips for newly engaged couples.
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