Wedding invitations can be one of the most confusing parts of planning your nuptials. Not only do you have to find a wedding invitation design that perfectly represents the event you are putting together, but there is also a lot of wedding etiquette to keep in mind, and it seems like the rules are always changing.
Many guidelines are often based on old-fashioned customs, while other tips overcompensate with modernity and leave behind any semblance of decorum. That’s why we’ve put together a list of tips and tricks for having wedding invitations that are contemporary enough for your friends to understand, but follow wedding etiquette well enough to avoid shocking your older relatives. These simple dos and don’ts will spell out the wedding invitation rules, so that there will be no confusion – after all, you have enough to do while planning a wedding!
Photo by Brett Hickman Photographers
Make sure you choose an RSVP deadline that both gives your guests time to reply, as well as buffer time for your caterer and venue head counts.
Some couples choose to have an "A list" and a "B list" – the latter is used in case enough people decline. While this works in some cases, someone is either invited or they are not. If you send out B-list invitations, there’s a good chance someone will notice their invitation arrived weeks after their friend received one.
If possible, get the name of your guest’s “plus one” for established relationships. The personal touch will be appreciated, and your loved one’s significant other might be hurt by merely seeing “and guest” instead of their name.
It may be tempting, but do not include your wedding registry information on the invitation. It’s considered tacky in most social circles – the information can be spread via word of mouth or listed on your wedding website.
You should share the URL of your wedding website, which is where people can learn about your registry (as mentioned above) and also get more details about the big day.
This information is best addressed elsewhere, so do not write “no children” or “adults only” on the invitation itself. Instead, address the inner envelope or use the RSVP card to make it clear who is included.
It's important to use correct titles (Dr., etc.) and spell all names correctly. These are supposed to be addressed to people you care about, after all.
If possible, avoid using address labels, as it is too impersonal. Handwrite each address or hire a professional calligrapher. Another work-around is to get a stamp that looks like calligraphy or your handwriting – while the previous is preferred, it's a little bit more personal than a traditional label. Note: this does not apply for the return address, although it's certainly a sophisticated touch!
If you're requesting mail-in RSVPs, stamp the miniature envelope for the response card. It may add up for you, but your wedding guests should not have to pay even a nominal fee to respond to your invitation.
Even if you're requesting “no gifts” for your wedding, do not write that on the invitation itself. Like wedding registry information, those details should be included on your wedding website, possibly with a suggestion for a charitable contribution.
Make sure you list the offered meal choices for your reception if there will be a sit-down dinner. This should be listed on the RSVP response card, so you know what to tell your wedding caterers once the final head count is requested.
For more advice, find out who you do and do not need to invite to your wedding, learn the dos and don'ts of your wedding registry, see our favorite online wedding invitations from Minted, Shutterfly & Zola, browse the best affordable wedding invitations, and get expert answers to frequently asked invitation-related questions.