wediquette :: wedding invitations

A wedding invitation usually includes an outer envelope and an inner envelope. The outer envelope displays the post office mailing information and contains the inner envelope and the invitation. The inner envelope displays the name of the invitee and contains the invitation.

• Titles and degrees – spell the full word (e.g. Doctor)
• Married couples with same last names – use Mr. and Mrs.
• Married couples with different last names – place their names on separate lines in alphabetical order.
• Unmarried couples living together – place their names on separate lines in alphabetical order.
• Unmarried couples living separately – use their individual names and send separate invitations to each.
• Military {An officer ranking equal to or higher than a captain in the army or a lieutenant in the navy – place their title next to their name with the branch of service below. For retired high ranking officers – place (Ret.) after their name. For reserve on duty, non-commissioned officers, or enlisted individuals – place the branch of service below their name}
• Children – it is not necessary to include children names on the wedding invitation outer envelope. List children on the inner envelope with their parents (e.g. Mr. and Mrs. Smith and Michael and Jamie).
• Adults only – Many guests do not realize that the absence of a child’s name on a wedding invitation means that the child is not invited. If you don’t want children at the wedding and/or reception, either informally spread the word or formally communicate that you can only accommodate adults. Additionally, you can remove the space with “Number of guests” from your invitation.

Inner Envelopes
Inner envelopes can generally be addressed without first names or addresses (e.g. Mr. and Mrs. Jones). Close relatives can be addressed with familial names (e.g. Aunt Mary, Grandma Trudy). Single persons with an unspecified guest should have additional instructions such as “and Guest” indicating they may bring a date.

An invitation generally contains the following information:
[Brides parents names]
[Grooms parents names]
request the honor of your presence
at the marriage of their children
[Bride name]
[Groom name]
[Special instructions about reception, attire (e.g. black tie), etc.]

Mentioning gifts or that you do not want gifts on a wedding invitation is generally considered poor etiquette. The best way to communicate gift information is at the shower, on the couples wedding website or through word of mouth of your family and friends. Even if you do not want gifts, there will still be guests that will give you something, so it is best to be ready to receive any gifts graciously. Personal wedding website are becoming more popular these days.

Timing is essential, to give yourself and your guests adequate time to respond and plan.
Ordering wedding invitations. You should order your invitations at least four to six months before the wedding. The printer will usually need about four weeks to process the order; you will also need about a month to address and assemble the invitations.
Sending wedding invitations. You should mail the invitations six to eight weeks before the wedding and no later than eight weeks. Remember that your out-of-town guests will need to make travel arrangements. The RSVP date should be at least three weeks before the wedding, so you have enough time to deal with seating and catering needs.

Electronic Invitations
Email is a great idea for sending invitations if you are planning on going GREEN. The invitation creates the image and tone for the celebration you want, so if you’re not careful…sending something electronically can send the message you are rushed, extremely cheap, and/or don’t care about the quality of your wedding celebration. There are customizable email stationery available so you can create a one of a kind look while still remaining environmentally friendly.

Saving Money
Here are a few tips on saving money on wedding invitations and still use good etiquette.
• Paper – use inexpensive paper like linen or a blend – don’t use 100% cotton paper.
• Printing – use thermograph printing or an inexpensive ink instead of engraving.
• Web or mail order catalogs – bulk flat-print invitations ordered via mail or on the web can be very reasonable.
• Invitation kits – office and software stores have wedding invitation kits.
• Insertions – minimize insertions and don’t use foil or similar materials – insertions increase the weight of envelopes and result in higher postage fees.