Wedding etiquette is essential when it comes to letting the world know about your new upcoming marriage and the invitations that you send to your guests.
Getting this right really does set the stage for what your guests will think and feel about you for the next months.
Wedding Invitation Design
One of the first things to determine is how the wedding invitation will be set up. Whose name goes first? What happens when things are more than just a simple wedding?
The fact is that there are many questions that come up with the wedding invitation design.
First, here are a few etiquette friendly methods of writing an invitation:
· Start with the sponsor or the bride’s parents names.
“Mr. and Mrs. Bob Smith” should be the beginning of the invitations.
· Follow this with, “ request the honor of your presence at the marriage of their daughter”
· Next, include the first names of the bride and the groom, “ Ann Marie to Mr. Adam Jones”
· Follow this with the date and time of the wedding followed by the location.
The invitation should also include the groom’s parents if both will be helping to pay for or sponsor the wedding.
The bride’s parent’s names should be first, followed by the groom’s.
If the bride and the groom are sending the invitations, their names should appear such as this:
Miss Ann Marie Smith
Mr. Adam Jones
Now, it gets a bit trickier when you add in the divorces and other complications. To determine what the right way to design the wedding invitation is, remember this.
The parents that are issuing the invitations, sponsoring the wedding, paying for the wedding should have their name go first. If you have more than one parent, start the invitation with the bride’s parents (father first) and then the groom’s parents second.
There are also special situations that can follow these rules such as brothers and sisters hosting the wedding, grandparents and many, many more.
The goal is to give proper respect to the individuals that are sponsoring the wedding first and foremost.
List the purpose of the invitation on it.
For example, this should be an invitation to the marriage of their daughter or, an invitation to the celebration of their daughter’s marriage for a reception only.
If there is no reception or only selected guests will be there, the invitation would be directed as an invitation for the ceremony of marriage of the daughter.
Include These Things In The Invitation
· The name of who is sponsoring the wedding.
· The names of those getting married. The bride’s surname may be left out but the groom’s should be included. If you use Miss at the beginning of her name, her surname should also be included.
· The date of the wedding, include the day of the week with the date. It is proper to do this several ways including, “Saturday, the tenth day of June,” or “Saturday, June tenth,” as you see fit. The year can be eliminated or included.
· There should not be any abbreviations used in the invitation, excluding Mr. and Mrs. Do not abbreviate drive, street, or the state.
· No punctuation is used at the ends of sentences. You should use a comma to separate the city and state.
· After the date is listed, the next line should include the time of the event. This too should be spelled out. Do not use am or pm, but if the timing is not obvious, then you can add in “in the morning” for a sunrise wedding or “in the evening” for a sunset wedding.
· This should be followed by the location of the wedding. List the name of the location, Grace Church. On the following line is the church’s address. You do not always have to include the address, especially if it is a church. You should include it if the wedding is being held at someone’s home, though. People can easily find this information on maps included with the invitation or by a simple internet search.
What Else Goes In The Envelope?
If you have every received an invitation, you know that there are more pieces to it than just this.
The method that you use is up to you, but in a traditional wedding, you will want to follow these guidelines.
The reception card is a small sized card that is included to provide the details of the wedding reception to the guests.
If you do not plan to provide this separately, it is important for you to include the reception information on the actual invitation. This is appropriate when the reception is being held at the same location. If not, you really do need to send a separate reception card.
The reception card should include the location of the reception and the time that it is being held. These may then be sent to just individuals that are invited to the reception while you send invitations to the ceremony for others that are not invited to the reception.
You should include response cards in your wedding invitations for your own sanity!
Often, receptions will entail the cost per plate, so you will need to know how many guests will be coming to your wedding.
The response cards should state that the guests will or will not be coming as well as request the number of individuals coming.
A common way to do this is to use this method:
The Favor of Your Reply Is Requested
__ Will be attending the reception.
__ Will not be attending the reception.
__ Number of guests in attendance
Please reply by May 10th
You can change this as long as it includes the necessary information.
If you are providing response cards with your invitation, you should provide a self addressed envelop that is stamped with it.
The response card should be filled out and sent back to those that are sponsoring the wedding.
If you decide that you do not want to use a response card, you can also use an R.S.V.P.
You can add this to the bottom of your invitation or your reception card.
Make sure to direct the guests to call a specific number by a specific date.
Often, it can be helpful to use one family member from either side of the family to gather these responses to allow for a more favorable response from the guests.
They are more likely to respond to someone they know rather than someone they do not.
If you will be adding this to the invitation itself, keep it in the corner and only do so if the invitation remains uncluttered.
A master list of all those that are invited should be kept on hand.
Once the individual’s that are invited respond, their name on the list should include how many are coming to the reception and to the ceremony.
This way, the right plans can be made based on however many are coming.
It is necessary to contact those that do not respond, especially when the reception is a per plate affair to find out if they are coming.
There are many ways that you can personalize your wedding invitation.
The design of your invitation should be a direct reflection of the type and class of the ceremony and reception to follow. If the reception is informal, then there is no need for an elaborate invitation. It will simply confuse guests.
Yet, if the reception is a black tie event, it is necessary to insure that everyone realizes this through the eloquence of the invitation itself.
If you are concerned that they may not know that the wedding is a black tie event, add a small notation of it in the corner of the invitation.
You can have your wedding invitation hand drawn or have your local print shop take care of it.
If you love calligraphy or a special design, go for that.
There are excellent wedding invitation companies you can work with on the web as well.
Make sure to book with them early on so that you have enough time to get your invitations done correctly and out at least a month in advance of your wedding.
The wedding invitation should go out 4-6 weeks prior to the wedding celebration itself.
If the reception is a separate event, held on a separate day, there should be two separate invitations sent out in a timely fashion.
Announcements can and should be sent out by the parents of the bride or the parents of the groom, or both.
This usually serves as a pre cursor to a wedding invitation.
An announcement can be placed in the newspaper as well to serve as a way of announcing the happy union.
It is essential that an announcement be kept rather formal.
Who To Invite
The next tricky thing to consider about the wedding and the reception is who to invite.
While this is completely up to the person that is paying for the wedding, it is customary that all family be invited.
Anyone that is a mentor or has played a role in the bride or the groom’s life in a significant way should be invited.
It is very important for the bride and the groom to have those around them that they love and cherish.
This includes step parents and divorced relatives.
While it may not be something that everyone would like, it is necessary to provide this ability to the guests.
For co workers, it is not necessary to invite them unless they are more than just a co worker, such as being a friend. The boss can and should be invited, but do not be offended if they turn you down.
Anyone that has been invited to the wedding shower should be invited.
The wedding guest list should be made before that of the wedding shower list to insure there are no mistakes here.
If someone does not have something to do directly with the bride or the groom, or their parents, it is not necessary or obligatory to invite them.
The size of the nuptials can also limit how many should be invited.
Both families should be considered fairly, though.