Basic Invitation Etiquette (Some of Which I Ignored)

Invitation Etiquette

When I planned my wedding last year, the only bit of etiquette I recall double-checking myself on is composing the invitations and preparing the envelopes.

There’s something about putting something in print — you want to make sure you do it right.

That said, after looking up the proper way to do handle some invitation etiquette particular, I then often ignored it. I’m a big fan of knowing the rules before you break them.

I would have loved something like this little graphic as a guide. It’s a handy starting point on the most formal way to present your invitations. But I don’t think you should fear adjusting, to some degree, for your situation. Here are a few things I’d go my own way on:

  • I recommend sending bridal shower invitation three weeks in advance, not two to three. It’s splitting hairs, but people are really busy these days. They’re going to be far more likely to have already made plans two weeks out than three.
  • You can put your name on the return address if you want to. I doubt it will offend anyone. I may have to write about this one later — I wonder why it was ever considered better to omit it? My guess: On invitations and invitation envelopes, there has always been a preference for fewer words, even though — or maybe because — they are typically spelled out and longer. It gives everything a less cluttered look.
  • My husband and I left out my parents’ middle names on our wedding invitations. Our invitations looked like mini country music posters with big block letters, so we had space limitations.
  • We directed people to reply via our website for a very basic reason: It was much, much cheaper. A reply card would have nearly doubled our invitation expenses, and that just wasn’t where we wanted to put our money. I will say: I think you’re more likely to get a timely reply if a reply card is right there, and certainly it looks more elegant. But you’ve got to make choices on what’s important to you. I would have preferred a reply card, but in this instance, I couldn’t justify the expense.

Check out when I wrote about knowing (and breaking) invitation etiquette rules before. And follow my Wedding Etiquette Pinterest board for more!

Graphic via Emily McCarthy and by Emily J Design

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