Wedding Etiquette: Invitations

Your wedding invitations can subtly set the tone for the feel of your event and give the guests an idea of what to expect. This important piece of communication can sometimes be a source of stress for brides who are unsure of the correct wording and etiquette. Here are the top 5 most commonly asked questions I’ve received as a wedding planner regarding invitations:

Q: When should I mail our invitations?

A: Invitations should be mailed 6-8 weeks before the event, with an RSVP date for two weeks before the wedding.

Q: I do not want to include “plus one” dates or children in our invitations in order to keep our guest count down. How do I make sure my guests understand?

A: Address invitations specifically to invited guests. For example, address to Mr. John Smith rather than Mr. John Smith and Guest or Mr. John Smith and Family. Guests should consult their envelope to see who is invited, but sometimes they don’t get the message. If you have someone RSVP with a plus one that you didn’t invite, you have a few choices. You can let it slide and include their guests in your headcount. Or you can politely let them know that you are so happy that they can make it, but unfortunately you don’t have enough room to include plus one’s and children. Depending on the dynamic, you may be able to recruit a family member or your Maid of Honor to reach out to the guest and let them know the situation.

Q: I included my friend’s significant other in our guest list and now they have broken up. Should they be allowed to bring a different date?

A: This is a tricky situation and depends on the wording you used on your invitations. If you addressed the invite to specifically include the SO (i.e. Mr. John Smith and Ms. Elizabeth Jones), then technically Mr. Smith should not bring another date. However, if you worded the invitation as a plus one (i.e. Mr. John Smith and Guest), then he can bring whomever he choses as a date.

Q: Should I list my registry information on my invitation?

A: No! Registry information should never be included in a wedding invitation. While many guests will give you wedding gifts, they are never expected or required.  However, you can list your wedding website at the bottom of the invitation or on a separate card included with your invitation. Your website should contain information about your registry. You should also make sure your parents and wedding party are aware of your registries so they can pass the information along if asked.

Q. Should we list a dress code? If so, where?

A. As a guest, I always appreciate a little insight on what to wear. If you’d like, it’s a nice idea to note the dress code at the bottom of the invitation or reception card. Something like “Black tie” or “cocktail attire” will make your guest choose a different outfit than “causal attire” or “festive attire”. The formality of your invitation will help clue your guests to the dress code as well.

Also, don’t forget to take one of your invitations to the post office to make sure you have the appropriate postage for the size and weight of the envelope!



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