Proper Wedding Invitation Etiquette Guides to Avoid Mistakes

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Making sure your wedding invitations are perfect is crucial since they will provide your guests with one of their first looks on your wedding day. Wedding invitation etiquette can be tricky, from selecting the “information to include” to “knowing when to send them.” Hence, we have created a comprehensive guide to assist you in understanding the guidelines and ensuring your wedding invitations are perfect. Let’s check with Viva Wedding Photography!

Do Don’t
Send wedding invitations out six to eight weeks before the wedding dateInclude information about your registry on your wedding invites
Send your RSVP two to three weeks before your weddingUsing the wrong start time
Include your preferred dress code at the bottom of the wedding invitationWrite important information on the back of your wedding invitation
Include a return address on wedding invitationsFormal wedding invitation wording does not include all the necessary information
Writing your website address on your save-the-datesLeaving the RSVP envelope unstamped
Consider allowing a plus-one for guestNot making explicit who is invited
Proper Wedding Invitation Etiquette

1. The 6 Common Questions about Wedding Invitation Etiquette

1.1. When is the proper time to send wedding invitations?

One of the key elements of wedding planning etiquette is to decide when to send out your wedding invitations. Most couples follow the traditional wedding invitation etiquette about six to eight weeks before the wedding day. This gives guests enough time to clear their schedules and book their flights, especially if they live far away from the wedding location. But if you’re having a destination wedding, you might want to give them more notice and send invitations three months in advance, so they can arrange their travel and lodging details.

Wedding invitation envelope etiquette
Wedding invitation envelope etiquette – Photo by: Pexels

Besides formal invitations, many couples also send save-the-date cards to make sure their loved ones mark the date on their calendars. These cards are usually sent six to eight months before the wedding, as a heads-up for the guests. If you have your wedding details ready earlier, you can send save-the-dates up to a year ahead, giving your guests more leeway to plan and look forward to the big day. This considerate timeline not only improves attendance but also guarantees that friends and family can join the celebration without any hassle.

1.2. How far should you set the RSVP deadline?

RSVP is an abbreviation for “Répondez s’il vous plaît,” which translates to “Please respond” in English. It is commonly used to elicit a response from an invited visitor stating whether or not they would attend an event such as a wedding, party, or business meeting.

Wedding Invitation Etiquette About RSVPs
Wedding Invitation Etiquette About RSVPs – Photo by: Weddings And Brides

The time limit for RSVPs to your wedding is yet another often-requested question. You should clearly indicate the RSVP date two to three weeks before your wedding. This should give you enough time to complete your seating plan and provide the caterer with a final head count (one week prior). But, according to the 2022 Couples Communication Study, 55% of couples prefer to give themselves leeway and ask for RSVPs three to six weeks before the wedding ceremony. Besides, give them a short call and ask for their RSVPs (still through the mail) if some guests haven’t answered by the deadline so that you have all their information.

>>> Maybe you love this rehearsal dinner etiquette!

1.3. What is the best way to indicate the dress code on the invitation?

Many couples wonder how to word their wedding invitations and follow proper etiquette. A simple way to let your guests know what to wear is to include your desired dress code at the bottom of the invitation or on a separate card. Do you want them to dress up in black tie or dress down in casual chic? Either way, you can use one of these three common phrases: “black tie,” “cocktail attire,” or “dress casual.” Trust us; your guests will appreciate the guidance.

Wedding Etiquette Invitations With Dress Code
Wedding Etiquette Invitations With Dress Code – Photo by: ANITIF

Alternatively, you can opt to leave the dress code ambiguous and let your invitation design do the talking. For example, a wedding invitation with letterpress and calligraphy suggests a classy event, but one with a fun font and vibrant colors fits a laid-back vibe. Either way, you can create the perfect wedding invitation that reflects your personality and theme. Another option is to direct guests to your wedding website, where you can share more details about the weekend’s events and the expected attire in a more informal tone.

>>> More from Viva Wedding Photography: A-Z Popular Wedding Dress Styles Guide You Should Know In 2024

1.4. How do you write the return address on your wedding invitations?

Proper etiquette for wedding invitations addressing
Proper etiquette for wedding invitations addressing – Photo by: Pexels

Proper etiquette for wedding invitations addressing is not only about how you write your guests’ names and titles but also how you write your own return address. A wedding invitation’s return address is usually placed on the rear flap of the outer envelope. Any undeliverable or returned invitations will be returned to this address. It is critical to include a return address so that any invites that cannot be delivered can be returned to you.

The full name(s) of the person(s) who will receive the responses and the full mailing address, including city, state, and zip code, should be included in the return address. Some couples will use the return address of their parents or other close family members, while others will use their address or a different address set up, particularly for their wedding. Ensure your chosen address is complete and precise to avoid delays or confusion.

1.5. Where should you put your wedding website information?

There are a few places where you can mention your wedding website without going against proper etiquette. This straightforward approach to letting guests know you have a wedding website is simply writing your website address on your save-the-dates. You may also add your wedding URL on an insert card in your wedding invitation suite, provided you don’t print it on the wedding invitations.

Wedding Invitation Etiquette With Wedding Website Information
Wedding Invitation Etiquette With Wedding Website Information – Photo by: Emmaline Bride

1.6. Do you have to allow a plus-one for each guest?

Generally, guests are not required to bring a plus-one to a wedding. The decision to extend a plus-one invitation to guests is entirely up to the wedding couple. Nonetheless, in other cases, allowing attendees to bring a date or a plus-one may be suitable or expected. As an example:

  • If a guest is married or in a long-term committed relationship, it is customary to address their partner by name.
  • Allowing guests to bring a date to keep them company and share in the experience may be thoughtful if they come to a long distance to attend the wedding.
  • Allowing single attendees to bring a plus-one may be more inclusive and welcome if most wedding guests are couples or families.
Wedding etiquette invitations plus one
Wedding etiquette invitations plus one – Photo by: Getty Images

The plus-one dilemma is one of the trickiest aspects of wedding planning. Who gets to bring a date, and who doesn’t? The answer lies with the couple, who have the final say on their guest list. They should follow the wedding invite etiquette who to invite, which advises them to weigh various factors, such as their budget, venue capacity, guest list size, and personal preferences. To minimize misunderstandings or broken feelings, it’s critical to communicate clearly and respectfully with guests about the wedding invitation policy.

>>> Recommend reading: Must-know Wedding Plus-one Etiquette For Zero Awkwardness

2. The 6 Worst Mistakes to Avoid in Wedding Etiquette Invitations

Your wedding invitations are not only a way to share the details of your big day with your guests. They are also a way to show your personality, style, and taste. That’s why you want to follow some etiquette guidelines to avoid any mistakes that could spoil the impression you want to make. Here are the six most common errors to dodge when it comes to wedding etiquette invitations.

2.1. Don’t Mention Your Registry on Your Wedding Invites

People don’t like it when you put your wedding registration information on your wedding invitations because it looks like you are asking your guests for gifts. So, how do you tell your friends and family about your wedding list? You may immediately put your wedding registry information on your website if you want to.

Addressing Wedding Invitations About Registry - Photo by: Hitch Studio
Addressing Wedding Invitations About Registry – Photo by: Hitch Studio

Don’t want to make your website? Spreading the word about where you are registered or putting that information on your Bridal Shower Invitations is fine. Besides, your parents, wedding party, and other close friends can tell guests without breaking the wedding invitation etiquette rules.

2.2. Don’t Use an Inaccurate Start Time

You may think again before suggesting a ceremony start time earlier than planned. If there is one thing that wedding guests are aware of, they should arrive early to the ceremony. 

Suppose your ceremony is scheduled to start at 6 p.m. In that case, expect guests should arrive between 5:30 and 5:45. They may begin making their way down the aisle no later than 6:15. If you inform visitors that the ceremony will start at 5:45, they’ll arrive about 5:00 p.m. and wait for an hour to observe your spectacular entrance.

The Mistake of Wedding Etiquette Invitations
The Mistake of Wedding Etiquette Invitations – Photo by: Pexels

2.3. Don’t Put Crucial Information on the Back of Your Wedding Invitation

Most of the time, it’s better to put other important information that only fits on your wedding invitation on a separate card than on the back of the wedding invitation itself. The main reason is that guests might miss out on something important if they don’t turn over the wedding invitation. You also don’t want to put too many details on the front or back of your wedding invitations because that will take attention away from the main design of your wedding invitation. So, doing it on the other cards can make things look cleaner or more put together.

You may still use the space on your wedding invitations well. On the back, many couples add a monogram, a personalized wedding logo, or something else unique.

2.4. Don’t Leave Out Any Essential Information in Formal Wedding Invitation Wording

Formal Wedding Invitation Wording
Formal Wedding Invitation Wording – Photo by: Getty Images Signature

Make sure your guests are well-informed about your wedding plans. So, on your wedding invitation, specify the date and time of your ceremony, as well as the location and other essential details.

Addressing wedding invitations is an important part of wedding etiquette that shows respect and consideration for your guests. If your wedding reception is at the same location as the ceremony, write “reception to follow” so guests know they don’t need to go anywhere else. If your reception is held elsewhere, you can either mention it on the other formal wedding invitation or print a separate reception card with the details for a more formal setting.

>>> Furthermore: Wedding Guest Etiquette: 16 Best Guides Manners And Customs

2.5. Don’t Forget to Stamp the RSVP Envelope

Wedding invitation address etiquette is an important part of sending out your invites. You should ensure the RSVP card envelope is pre-addressed and has a stamp if you want your guests to send back their cards via mail. Will you need to purchase a ton of more stamps due to this? Yes. However, it is impolite to charge your guests for the privilege of responding (even if it’s just a single stamp).

wedding invitation etiquette 1 6
Wedding invitation address etiquette – Photo by: Getty Images

2.6. Don’t Be Vague About Who Is Invited

Wedding invitation envelope etiquette is an important part of making a good impression on your guests. The names on the envelope’s front are everything. Don’t use “The Taylor Family” if you invite a couple but not their kids. Put “Mr. and Mrs. Taylor Patrick,” suggesting they are the only people invited instead. If you invite someone along with a guest, make sure to include “and Guest” on the envelope or, if you know it, the name of the person’s partner.

But what about wedding invitation etiquette for families? The children’s names should be written on the line beneath the names of their parents, such as “The Taylor Family” or “Mr. and Mrs. Taylor Patrick, Ellen, Louis, and Anna.”

Wedding invitation etiquette for families
Wedding invitation etiquette for families

>>> Read More:

Any couple preparing for their wedding day must know the wedding invitation etiquette. By adhering to these rules, you may ensure that your wedding invitations capture the formality and tone of your wedding ceremony and prevent misunderstandings or broken emotions. Besides, you may read more articles on the Viva Wedding Photography Blog for additional suggestions and guidance on other wedding etiquette.

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