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Now that you know whom you want to attend your wedding, you need to send out the invitations.

To determine the proper etiquette for invitations I once again consulted Emily Post’s Wedding Etiquette book.

Today, there are many options for invitations; you can get them made and printed at a stationery store, order them online, purchase kits to print them yourself, or make them yourself completely.

Invitations are usually mailed 6-8 weeks before the wedding. You should ensure that your invitations are made, assembled, and mailed with this timeframe in mind.

The invitation is the introduction of your wedding to your guest; so the invitations should match the style and formality of your wedding.
If you are having a theme wedding the invitation is a great way to establish the theme with your guests.

Invitations “Dos and Don’ts”:

  • Do
    • Decide where you want responses and gifts to be sent to as this should be used as the return address on the invitations.
    • Check the postage to make sure the right amount is used. The safest thing to do is bring an assembled invitation to the post office, have it weighed and the correct postage determined.
    • Before ordering/printing invitations triple check to ensure that all names and locations are spelled correctly.
    • Include your guest’s invited guest’s name whenever possible.
    • Hand write guests’ addresses to have add personal touch
  • Don’t
    • It is considered distasteful to include gift or registry information with the invitations. Family and attendants can share this information with the guests.
    • Writing “no gifts” or “no children” on the invitation is also considered to be rude.
    • If you feel you must include a “dress code” it should be written on the lower-right-hand corner of the reception invitation/card, never on the ceremony invitation.
    • Do not include alcohol information. This should not be a deciding factor on whether a guest will attend or not, so it shouldn’t be included on the invitation.

 

Traditional, formal invitations use third-person wording and including the following features:

  • Wording is centered on the invitation, except for the RSVP, which is flush left (see below for further information on RSVPs).
  • The hosts of the wedding are listed first
  • No punctuation is used except for the abbreviations of Mr., Mrs., Ms., Jr., or Sr., or phrases requiring separation on the same lines, such as the date.
  • No abbreviations are used except for Mr., Mrs., or Ms.
  • Always write out full names and titles.
  • When the ceremony is taking place in a house of worship the phrase “request the honour of your presence” is used. For all other locations the phrase “request the pleasure of your company” is the correct phrase.
  • The bride is listed without her title or last name unless it is different from the hosts’.
  • The groom’s full name and title is used
  • Numbers in the date and time are spelled out (ex. the eleventh of June, three o’clock).
  • Including the year on the invitation is optional; If included, it should be written out in lower case letters (ex. two thousand seventeen)
  • Half hours are written as half after, not half past or blank thirty
  • One-word numbers in addresses (ex. 30) are spelled out (ex. Thirty Main Street), otherwise numerals are used (ex. 256 Main Street).
  • Examples of wording are provided at the end of the blog

 

RSVPs

An RSVP is added to the invitation to the reception, or to invitation to both the ceremony and reception. An RSVP is not added to the invitation to just the ceremony.

The RSVP is placed on the bottom left, not centered.  It may be written as RSVP, R.S.V.P., R.s.v.p., or The favour of a replay is requested.

Response/Reply Cards

A response card should have a place for guests to write their name, and indicate whether they will or will not attend.  It is also a good idea to include the date by which you’d like to receive the response. For invitations sent 8 weeks before the wedding, a response by 4 weeks before the wedding is the norm, while invitations send 6 weeks before the wedding have a normal response date of 3 weeks.

Envelopes

Traditional, formal invitations use two envelopes. The outer envelope is the one addressed using the guest’s full name and address.  The inner envelope is left unsealed and simply has the guest’s name abbreviated to title and last name.

The inner envelope is completely optional today. Couples who do use it do so because they like the tradition, and/or they want to be very specific about who is being invited. This is particularly useful when indicating that an invited guest may bring a plus-one, or to indicate if a couple’s children are/aren’t invited since you can include/exclude the children’s name on the inner envelope.

Assembling the Package

  1. Insert the invitation printed side up and folded edge first if it’s not a flat card.
  2. Slip the reply card under the flap of its preaddressed and stamped envelope so the card is face-up and the addressed side of the envelope is down.
  3. Stack all enclosures (reception or ceremony card, directions or other information, and the reply card with envelope) face-up, in size order, with the largest piece on the bottom.

If you’re using an inner envelope:

  1. Place the stack of enclosures, face-up, on top of the invitation. The package is then slid into the inner envelope, which remains unsealed and without the flap tucked-in.
  2. Turn the inner envelope address side up, and place it in the outer envelope so the name of the invitee is visible when the invitation is opened.

If you’re not using an inner envelop:

  1. Place the stack of enclosures, face-up, on top of the invitation. Slide the entire stack, face-up, into the envelope.

 

How Many to Order:

  • Married couples or couples living together at the same address receive one invitation.
  • Single guests each receive their own invitation
  • Families with children receive a single invitation. However, teenagers should receive their own invitation. This rule generally replies to teens thirteen and older, but you can set your own limit. Anyone over eighteen should receive his/her own invitation.
  • Plus-ones are included with the invitation to the guest you know
  • If you plan in using a B list (see our blog on “Making Your Guest List”), be sure to have enough invites for these guests as well.
  • Order some extra invitations for keepsakes for yourself, family, and friends. Also order extra envelops in case of mistakes when addressing them.

 

For more detailed information about wedding invitations check out Emily Post’s Wedding Etiquette by Anna and Lizzie Post.

And as always, the above information is provided as a means to aid you in planning your own wedding invitations; these “rules” are simply based on history and tradition. Ultimately, the wedding invitations should be a reflection of the couple and the wedding they want.

Examples

Hosts: Bride’s parents (formal)

Doctor and Mrs. John Peter Doe
Request the honour of your presence
At the marriage of their daughter
Jane Mary
to
Mr. James Mark Smith, Jr.
Saturday, the tenth of June
At half after three o’clock
St. James Anglican Church
Carleton Place, Ontario
and afterward at the reception
Stonefields
1985 Ninth Line

RSVP

Hosts: Bride’s parents (less formal)

John and Jessica Doe
Invite you to share our joy at the marriage of
our daughter
Jane Mary
to
James Smith, Jr.
etc.

Hosts: Bride’s single/widowed parent

Mr. [Mrs.] John Peter Doe
Requests the honour of your presence
At the marriage of his [her] daughter
etc.

Hosts: Bride’s divorced parents

Bride’s mother (and spouse if remarried)
and
Bride’s father (and spouse if remarried)
At the marriage of their daughter
etc.

Hosts: Bride’s parent and stepparent (note the bride’s last name is used if it is different from her step-father’s)

Mr. and Mrs. Mark Green
Request the honour of your presence
at the marriage of her [his] daughter
Jane Mary (Doe)
etc.

Hosts: Bride’s parents, but including groom’s parents in invitation

Doctor and Mrs. John Doe
Request the honour of your presence
At the marriage of their daughter
Jane Mary
and
Mr. James Mark Smith, Jr.
Son of
Mr. and Mrs. James Smith, Sr.
etc.

Hosts: Groom’s parents

Mr. and Mrs. James Mark Smith, Sr.
Request the honour of your presence
At the marriage of the
Ms. Jane Mary Doe
to their son
James Mark Smith, Jr.
etc.

Hosts: Both sets of parents (note, the bride’s parents are listed first)

Doctor and Mrs. John Doe
and
Mr. and Mrs. James Smith, Sr.
Request the honour of your presence
at the marriage of
Jane Mary Doe
and
James Mark Smith, Jr.
etc.

OR

John and Jessica Doe
together with
James and Sarah Smith
Would be honoured to have you share in the joy
of the marriage of their children
Jane
and
James
etc.

 

If one or both sets of parents are divorced, the order is:

Bride’s mother (and spouse if remarried)
Bride’s father (and spouse if remarried)
Groom’s mother (and spouse if remarried)
Groom’s father (and spouse if remarried)

Hosts: The couple

The honour of your presence is request
at the marriage of
Ms. Jane Mary Doe
to
Mr. James Mark Smith, Jr.
etc.

OR

Ms. Jane Mary Doe
and
Mr. James Mark Smith, Jr.
Request the pleasure of your company
etc.

Hosts: Both parents and couple

Together with their parents/families
Jane Doe and James Smith, Jr.
Invite you to join them as they celebrate their marriage
etc.

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