Wedding invitations might seem like simple little things, but how they are crafted can set the tone for the whole event. In fact, there are text books and manuals created for the sole purpose of teaching proper wedding invitation etiquette. You're not going to read a textbook's worth of wedding invitation etiquette here, but this brief primer should help to answer many of your questions.
- Wedding invitations should be sent out six to eight weeks prior to the big event.
- Envelopes should be addressed by hand only. Envelopes should not be computer generated nor should they have computer generated labels indicating the address. To do so is considered tacky. If you feel your penmanship isn't elegant or neat enough for addressing wedding invitations, it's perfectly acceptable to enlist help. In fact, listed among the duties of your bridesmaids is helping to address invitations and thank you cards! You could also hire a calligrapher.
- Your guest list should be determined by your budget. First on the list, of course, should be parents, siblings, grandparents and other close relatives. Family friends and close friends are added next and are determined by how close they are to the bride and groom. Finally, co-workers and business associates can be invited if there's room for more people. You're under no obligation to invite bosses and team members.
- The following basic components should be included in each wedding invitation:
- An R.S.V.P. card with boxes to mark so the bride and groom will know you are coming. R.S.V.P stands for "Repondez S'il Vous Plait" ("please respond"). Guests should let their hosts know if they will be attending the event by the date marked on the R.S.V.P card.They can do so by checking off the box stating their intentions and mailing the card using the envelope provided.
- A stamped envelope to mail the response card.
- A map and directions to both ceremony and reception locations.
- Reception card including details regarding the reception venue (a good consideration, though not a necessity).
- Lodging information for out-of-town guests.
Invitations used to be printed on heavy card stock, but this is no longer necessarily the case. Nowadays invitations are printed on card stock, light stationery and even velum.
The wording of the invitation is rather important. It indicates who will be hosting and the type of event guests should expect.
- If the parents of the bride will be hosting, the invitation should read as follows: "Mr. and Mrs. John Smith request the honor of your presence at the marriage of their daughter Amanda Louise to Mr. Michael Jones...." Details regarding date and time will be listed here.
- If the bride and groom are paying for the event, the invitation should read as follows: "Michael Jones and Amanda Louise Smith request the honor of your presence..."
- If the groom's parents will be hosting, the invitation should read as follows: "Mr. and Mrs. Mark Jones request the honor of your presence at the marriage of Ms. Amanda Louise Smith to their son Michael Jones..."
- Dates and times are to be written out. For instance, instead of saying December 25, 2006, one would write December twenty-fifth, two thousand and six. Instead of saying the wedding will be held at 3:00, it's more proper to write it out so it reads three o'clock.