Upon first glance, choosing, customizing and sending out wedding invitations seems pretty simple. But once you get down to the nitty gritty details you may realize that there’s more to invitations than meets the eye. Details like what to include, when to send them out and what to do about inviting (or not inviting) plus-ones are only a few of the elements you must consider. Lucky for you, I’ve come up with a detailed list of everything you need to know when it comes to invitation etiquette. So relax, take a deep breath and enjoy planning for your big day!
What details do I include?
Alright, let’s start off with the simple stuff. The basic information you’ll want to include on your invites is the host line, the names of you and your fiance, (you’ll want your guests knowing whose wedding their attending!) the date, location and time of the nuptials, as well as the location and time of the reception. Make sure to include information on how to reply so your guests know who and when to contact you for an RSVP. The design, theme and order of these elements is completely up to you! (That’s the fun part.)
The host line can be a little bit trickier depending on a few factors. Traditionally, it’s the bride’s parents that make up the host line. But this could change if your parents are divorced or remarried. If they are divorced, but still hosting the wedding together, include both names at the top of the invitation separately and avoid using “and” in between the names. If they are remarried and would like to include stepparents on the invites, Real Simple suggested placing your mother and her husband (if she’s remarried) followed by your father and his wife.
As for the date, whether you spell it out or use numbers depends on the style of your wedding. Martha Stewart Weddings said if your nuptials are more traditional, you may want to spell out the numbers and capitalize proper nouns. If you’re going for a more casual wedding, opt for numerals.
When should we send out the invites?
Invitations should be mailed six to eight weeks before the ceremony, according to The Knot. Guests need ample time to make travel arrangements and make room in their schedule for your big day. These numbers will change if you’re planning on a destination wedding. In that case, invitations should be sent out at least three months in advance.
What about RSVPs?
You’ll want to include a deadline for your guests to RSVP (especially for the procrastinators on your list). The Knot recommended a deadline of about two to three weeks before your wedding date. Other wedding essentials like catering and seating rely on this information. If after three weeks you still haven’t heard from all of your guests, shoot them a text or give them a ring to see what their plans are. They may have just forgotten to reply!
How do we break the news of no plus-ones?
Unless this is specified on the invitations, guests may feel they can bring along a date. There simply may not be enough room or food for the people you didn’t account for. The universal etiquette for implying no plus-ones is excluding the phrase “and guest” after the names. If they go ahead and RSVP for two anyway, call them up and explain the situation. As awkward as it may be, they’ll understand.
How do I inform guests of the dress code?
Whether you plan on having a traditional wedding or a more casual ceremony, it’s important to inform guests on how to dress. You don’t want any of them feeling over or under dressed on your big day. That would be uncomfortable for both parties. Sometimes, the design of your invitations can clue your guests into the proper attire. Calligraphy usually implies a more formal affair, while playful fonts would work for more casual nuptials. You could also include one of the following three phrases in the lower-left hand corner of the invites: black tie, cocktail attire or casual attire. This will denote how formal you want your guests to dress.