May 14

Invitation Etiquette

Hetler Photographer - Rustic Invitations

I wrote a post a couple weeks ago about when to send your wedding invitations, but let’s talk today a little bit about what should go on your invites, and overall invitation etiquette.

So first off, just to recap, plan on sending your invites out about 6-8 weeks before your wedding and save-the-dates are optional.  Click here to read a little more.

Wording on the invitation can vary greatly.  Either set of parents may be mentioned, or possibly just the couple themselves.  Consider who is actually “hosting” the party or who is footing the bill?  Are they going to be insulted if they are not mentioned on the invite?

Some examples:

“Mr. and Mrs. John and Jane Smith invite you to share in celebration of the marriage of their daughter {bride} to {groom} the son of Mr. and Mrs. Jacob and Judy Jones.”

“Mr. and Mrs. John and Jane Smith with Mr. and Mrs. Jacob and Judy Jones invite you to share in the celebration of the marriage of {bride} to {groom}.”

“{Bride} and {Groom} together with their parents, invite you to share in the celebration of their marriage”

The latter is a great option if you come from families with multiple branches ensuring no one will feel left out or less significant.

Whichever wording you may choose, make sure to include the date and time along with the location of the ceremony and reception.  Tradition dictates that all words be spelled in full on the invitation, including the time and street names.

Wedding registry information, however, should not be included on the invitation, as this implies that you are asking for gifts (which believe it or not, guests are not required to give you!)  You may include this information on your wedding website.  And yes, I understand that Grandma may not be very technology savvy (my grandpa doesn’t even know how to turn the computer on, much less what a website is!), but she might not look at a wedding registry though either!

Your wedding website is a great place to include any information that guests do not receive in the invitation itself.  Usually the website address is included on the save-the-dates, but if you opted not to send them, simply including a small insert card with the invitation should do the trick.

The invitation itself should clue the guests in on the formality level of your wedding.  A very elegant, gold rimmed invitation with letterpress and foil is going to lend to a more upscale or black-tie affair, whereas an invite tied with burlap or raffia will hint at a more casual occasion.  Consider the message you are trying to send with your invites.

And on the envelope…

  • Regardless of the formality of your day, envelopes should be addressed without abbreviations
  • Address your guests with proper titles using their full names
  • Be specific as to who is invited, if children as also invited it is a much safer idea to include their exact names rather than “and family”
  • Envelopes should be handwritten, with the exception of the return address (which is typically located on the back flap).  This doesn’t mean you’re required to hire a calligrapher, while this is a great touch, simply written names with a nice pen can be just as lovely
  • And to increase the likeliness of receiving a response, include a pre-addressed, pre-stamped envelope for the RSVP cards

And the big question that seems to be asked, do we send invitations out to our immediate family and bridal party?  YES!!!  They may know the date, and they’re definitely planning on being there, but beyond that, they really haven’t paid attention to all the “wedding talk” that has been floating around.  This simply ensures that they receive the same information as everyone else, including the address to the venues, event times and any hotel or travel information you may have provided for other guests.  Plus, it gives them a really nice keepsake.

So sorry if this information is a little late for you summer brides, but fall brides – you are now prepared!


The image above is courtesy of Hetler Photography, from a styled shoot with Something Borrowed Vintage Staging and Rentals.  Invitation created by Emily Ross Creative {so excited to see what she creates for my project later this month!}.  See the full shoot here!




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