In the days of emails, texts, and chats, the written word on paper is essentially becoming a lost art. However, one life event that will always favor the formality of paper goods is a wedding. While it's okay to use computer-generated invitations sent via email for some of life's special events, wedding guests should always be invited to the big day by way of a formal invitation.
Invitations introduce the style of your wedding event and offer an initial glimpse into your special day. It's the first item your guests will receive that announces the theme, venue, and level of formality of your wedding. Unlike a typical letter or invitation you may receive in the mail, a wedding invite is typically printed on nice paper and comes in a thick envelope, including the invitation itself, a response card, and an enclosure with additional information, as well as optional additions such as a weekend itinerary for a destination wedding.
A lot of questions arise when it comes to wording wedding invitations, so we looked to expert Heidi Jimenez of Zenadia Design for help. Heidi – who has designed wedding invitations for celebrities such as Tone It Up's Katrina Hodgson and former NFL wide receiver Jarett Dillard – shares some of the most common wedding invitation wording questions with us in this Q&A:
Q: When should I mail invitations and save the dates?
A: Save the dates should be mailed six to eight months before the wedding. Typically invitations go out two months before the big day, although increasingly I'm seeing couples wanting to send invitations out three months before. This is okay – just remember, if you've sent save the dates, the traditional two months gives guests plenty of time.
Q: Are we supposed to include our middle names?
A: For a more formal invitation, yes, you would probably want to include your middle name if you have one.
Q: Does my last name have to appear on the invitation?
A: If your last name appears with your parents' names, and they're listed before your name, then no, you don't need to repeat your last name again. If it doesn't, it's always nice to have your last name on the invitation for keepsakes and family memories, or guests coming who may not know you!
Q: Do I need "and" between the year? (Example: two thousand and fifteen vs. two thousand fifteen)
A: Including "and" or not is simply a matter of personal preference regarding how you would like your invitation to read.
Q: For the time, when is it considered "in the evening"?
A: 6:00 p.m. and after is typically considered evening. Celebrations before noon are "in the morning," and events taking place anytime from noon to 5:45 p.m. would be "in the afternoon."
Q: My reception is at a different place than the ceremony. Can I put this information directly on the invitation?
A: If your reception is at a different venue than the ceremony, traditionally you would include a separate "reception card" with this information. However, if you are trying to cut down on an insert card or don't feel a separate card is necessary, it's okay to have the reception information on the main invitation.
Wording like this helps it still feel formal:
reception to follow at
Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows
Santa Monica, California
Q: Can I put my wedding website on the main invitation?
A: To keep the invitation special and more formal, I always recommend a separate card for the wedding website.
Q: When should my reply-by date be?
A: I always recommend to request RSVPs a month in advance, even though the final count is due to caterers closer to your wedding date. This way you can account time for those last-minute replies!