Everything you need to know about wedding invitation etiquette

Thursday 27th Sep, 2018

Wedding invitations are one of the most important parts of the planning process. Not only do you have to think about who to invite, but there’s also the aesthetics of the invites themselves along with creativity, wording and timing. There’s a lot to think about!

In today’s digital age, we understand it’s probably tempting to send out an email to your wedding guests to cut back on time and spending, but we think the opposite. When everyone’s on their phones, a beautifully designed and incredibly creative physical invitation has never had more of an impact. But how do you navigate the unwritten rules and guidelines surrounding invitation etiquette?

‘Save-the-date’ cards

Save-the-date cards have become more and more popular over the past few years, but they’re also practical too. It gives your guests fair warning that a big event is coming up, and that they should keep the date free and clear. Of course, your close friends and family will already have the Big Day penned into their calendars, but for distance relatives and friends you don’t see too often, it’s wise to give them a heads-up.

As far as standard etiquette goes for save-the-date cards, we’d recommend sending them around six months in advance if you’re having a UK wedding. If you’re opting for a destination wedding where people will need to make flight and accommodation arrangements, we’d recommend 10-12 months’ notice.

Sending invitations

After save-the-date cards go out, you have a bit of breathing room before you have to send out the next stationery creation. The invitations should be next on your list, and we’d recommend you send them out six to eight weeks before the big day and include more information such as the wedding venue. Also included in the envelope should be an RSVP option with either a return address or a quicker way of getting in touch. Politely ask guests to return their completed RSVP a minimum of two to three weeks before the event so you have a final head count way in advance.

Be very clear

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with getting a little creative with your invitations. In fact, thanks to the Pinterest-explosion that has happened over the past few years, you’ll be hard pressed to not receive an incredibly creative invitation. Brides and grooms-to-be are rolling up their sleeves and doing everything they can to make their invites are unique and extraordinary.

If you’re firmly in camp creative then we salute you! But we also have some advice; make sure all the pertinent information is included and is as clear as possible. For save the date cards we’d recommend including the name of the couple and the date as the most prominent details, along with a note that formal invitations will follow.

On the other hand, the invitations should contain as much information as possible. The names and date again along with the venue name and address, who is invited and to which part of the wedding, along with clear start and finishing times.

Remember names and titles

When it comes to sending out the real invitations, it’s important to address people in the way they prefer. Here’s a few top tips…

  • Times have changed now and most women prefer to be addressed as their own person rather than as ‘Mr and Mrs “Husband’s Name” – it’s rather outdated now for 2018
  • Find out people’s formal and preferred titles. If one of the couple is a doctor, their name comes first e.g. ‘Doctor Smith and Mr John Smith’. If the doctor is male the title should be ‘Doctor and Mrs’
  • If a women is single (and doesn’t have a formal title), the invitation should be addressed to ‘Ms’
  • If the women is under 21, the preferred term is ‘Miss’

Thank-you notes

What? Just because the big day was over you didn’t think the stationery was too, did you? The last piece of the puzzle for any wedding celebration is the thank-you notes that go out to your guests. Although we’re sure you’re still in that honeymoon bubble – or perhaps you’re still on your honeymoon – but we’d recommend that thank you notes are treated with a little urgency.

Aim to have your thank you notes sent out to guests within two weeks of the event to show how much you truly appreciate their support and/or gift.