Basic InviteBasic Invite

Wedding Etiquette and Tips

Wedding Invitation Basics

Invitation Planning
  • 8-10 Months Before The Wedding Date
    • Start looking for Save The Dates. If you are not having a destination wedding and will not be having more than a few out-of-town guests, then you will probably not need save the date cards.
    • Start thinking of your wedding colors. Check out our blog for inspiration. Since these important colors will likely be used in everything from photos to wedding invitations, carefully choosing them in advance will help everything to coordinate nicely.
  • 6-8 Months Before The Wedding Date
    • Mail your Save The Date cards.
    • Start looking for wedding invitations. Establish a budget, then start to narrow down your favorite styles.
    • Be sure to shop with a reputable company. Testimonials, product reviews, and third party sites are all great ways to gain important insights into a company and its practices.
    • Sign up for mailing lists and newsletters; they often contain special sales or discounts.
  • 4-6 Months Before The Wedding Date
  • 2-4 Months Before The Wedding Date
  • 1-2 Months Before The Wedding Date
    • Mail your invitations.
    • Order thank-you cards, wedding programs, menu cards, table cards, etc.
Wedding Invitations

This is the central element of the invitation package and should inform invited guests of the host, the honored party, and the date, time and place of the event.

In today's increasingly casual culture, the trend is moving toward a card with a shape, style and design that is reflective of the bride and groom's lifestyle and/or the wedding event.

Wedding invitations are typically mailed out 1 to 2 months before the wedding date, though that may be extended for destination weddings or weddings with many of out-of-town guests.

Save The Dates

Save The Date cards are most often used for destination weddings. These are designed to help your guests plan ahead. They are not necessary, but a welcomed convenience for your guests and help you to achieve a better turnout. Typically, Save The Date cards do not contain more information than a wedding date and location. However, you may also wish to include travel information if you are having a destination wedding where travel arrangements will be required. Save The Dates are typically sent out from 6 to 12 months in advance.

Response Cards

Response card etiquette has evolved over the years and it will continue to do so as society changes. Women, historically the social secretaries of their households, would often hand-write responses to invitations. In recent years this etiquette has changed dramatically. Currently, the most popular method of obtaining guest counts is to send out a response or RSVP card. Response cards typically contain spaces for the guests' names and for their responses. A "please respond by" line is also typically included, though some brides may choose not to include a date on their card as they feel it might insult guests who know very well when to reply. The return address is included on the face of the reply envelopes. Most brides ask that replies be returned at least 2 weeks before the wedding date.

A more recent trend in response cards has been to give your guests an option of how they wish to reply. It has become more common to request guests' reply by phone, email, or even via special websites. However you choose to do it, be sure to choose a method that both parties are comfortable with. With the rapid changes in RSVP card etiquette you are bound to have family members or friends that have definite opinions on this issue.

Reception or Ceremony Cards

It is common for a wedding ceremony guest list to be much smaller than the reception list. As a result, it is advised that you order separate cards to include in the invitations of those who are to attend the more intimate event.

Outer Envelopes

The tradition of two envelopes started when invitations were delivered by hand. Though this has been a long-standing tradition, there has been a recent trend away from double envelopes. Today's modern bride is much more conscious of her ecologic and economic footprint. If your invitation will not include a reply card, or you are sending a pocket invitation, an outer/inner envelope ensemble is not necessary.

Invitation Tissue Paper

Tissue paper was once used to combat unsightly ink smudges as a result of older printing methods when delivering invitations to the bride. They were never intended to go out to guests.

Gift Registries

It is considered poor taste to include gift registry information on any part of your invitation ensemble. This comes across as a request in exchange for attending the wedding. The most proper way to let people know where you are registered is by word of mouth.

Invitation Assembly

When using two envelopes, the inner envelope is unsealed and inserted into the outer envelope so the guest's name is seen as the outer envelope is opened.

Wedding invitations are assembled in size order. The invitation itself is first, followed by any enclosure cards, which are stacked on top of the invitation in size order. If your invitation has a fold the enclosure cards should still go on top and are not placed inside the invitation.

If the invitation wording will not be right-side-up when your guests open the envelope, they should be inserted so that when pulled out of the envelope with the right hand, they are of proper orientation.

Return Addressing

The return address should appear on the back flap of the outer envelope. It should be the address of the host. If you are hosting your own wedding, then your return address may be used. Only the address information should be included. Names are not necessary. No abbreviations should be used, even for state names.

Learn more about addressing

Wedding Announcements

Unlike wedding invitations, wedding announcements are sent out after the wedding has taken place. Announcements should be mailed out as soon as possible after the wedding and should include the year along with the wedding date as the event has passed.

Thank You Note Etiquette

Anyone who gives you a gift or has offered their help or services should receive a thank you note.
Always hand-write each note. It is not proper to type them. It is best to send out your thank you notes as soon as possible. This will help you in writing your messages, as it will still be fresh on your mind and on the mind of your recipient. Custom created thank-you notes are not a necessity but definitely a much nicer way of showing your gratitude than a store-bought card. Order plenty, you can always use them for other things.