With so many online options to purchase invitations today, unless your are using a custom stationery service, it can be hard to find out the right and wrong things to include on your invitation. First and foremost, it is important to note that custom doesn’t always mean more expensive and believe me, the personal service you get from an actual designer is far better than any online or big box store can ever provide. If you do choose to purchase online or even print your own, there a several considerations when it comes to etiquette.
Image via Izzy and the Bean
Here are the things you should include:
- If you, your spouse, or both of your parents are paying for the wedding, the wording should begin with either your parents, his parents, or both sets inviting your guests to the wedding.
Examples~ If the brides parents are paying: Mr. and Mrs. Joe Scott Smith request the pleasure of your company as Anna Elizabeth Smith and Joseph Gray Bradford unite in marriage… or Ms. Jane Renee Jones and Mr. Joe Scott Smith request the pleasure of your company as Anna Elizabeth Smith and Joseph Gray Bradford unite in marriage (if last names are different). You could also include daughter if you wish. Mr. and Mrs. Joe Scott Smith request the honor of your presence at the marriage of their daughter Anna Elizabeth Smith and Joseph Gray Bradford unite in marriage… If the grooms parents are paying: Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Gray Bradford, Sr request the honor of your
presence at the marriage of Anna Elizabeth Smith to their son Joseph Gray Bradford… If both parents are paying: Mr. and Mrs. Joe Scott Smith
and Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Gray Bradford, Sr invite you to witness the union of their families as Anna Elizabeth Smith and Joseph Gray Bradford exchange vows… If you two as a couple are paying: Because you have shared in our lives by your friendship and love, we Anna Elizabeth Smith and Joseph Gray Bradford invite you to share the beginning of our new life together as we exchange marriage vows… or Anna Elizabeth Smith and Joseph Gray Bradford joyfully invite you to share in their happiness as they unite in marriage…
- The date and time is traditionally spelled out and ‘in the evening’ or ‘in the morning is usually added when the wedding is at a time that could be confused for the other. Use capitol letters for proper nouns for a more traditional look or use all caps or lowercase for a more relaxed feel if you are using a more causal font. Traditionally the year is not included on the invitation but some couples choose to add it for keepsake purposes. Punctuation is typically also not used unless to separate the day and time as well as the city and state. Punctuation may also be used on surnames like Sr. Jr. or III. Do not use abbreviations unless it is a surname or Mr. and Mrs.
Image via Prim and Paper
- Traditionally the address is not included only the location and the city and state. If you are inclosing a map or directions card it would be ideal to add the exact address somewhere on the card so guests can GPS the location easily.
- If the ceremony and reception are in one location, you can simply say Reception to follow or a more causal event could read Dinner and dancing under the stars to follow. If your reception is at another location, a reception card is typically included. Although it is considered okay etiquette to invite some guests to the reception only it is not considered good etiquette to invite some only to the ceremony.
Image via Designs in Paper
- If you would like to have your guests RSVP, it is important to not only you but many of your vendors as well, you should include some sort of RSVP card as well as postage. This card can simply be a postcard or a card with an envelope. Remember you will save money on postage for a postcard as well as on your invitation postage because the envelope will add extra weight.
- Other special information: If your event will be black tie or even causal attire, you will want to make note of that either on the invitation, the Reception card, or the RSVP. It is also important to make sure your guests know if you choose not to serve a full meal. You won’t want them showing up on a empty stomach for a cocktail reception.
- No children: If you do not wish to invite children to the wedding, you may include “Adult Only Reception” on the last line of your reception card. This should also be spread by word of mouth to your guests before they receive the invitation.
- It is NEVER acceptable to include your registry information on any invitation. That includes engagement parties, bridal showers, or any other event as part of your wedding.
- Traditionally request the “ honour/honor of your presence” is used for a ceremony taking place in a place of worship (church, synagogue, etc), while the phrase “Request the pleasure of your company” is usually used for a ceremony taking place in a non-religious location. If you use the word “honour” on the invitation (“…request the honour of your presence”), use “favour” on the RSVP (“The favour of a reply is requested…”). If you use “honor” on the invitation, use “favor” on the RSVP. For a Roman Catholic wedding, the phrase “at the marriage of” may be written as “at the marriage in Christ of.” If the wedding ceremony will include Mass, the phrase “your presence at the Nuptial (High) Mass” may also be added.
Image via By Heart and By Hand
We hope this helps you sort out some of the questions you have on how to handle etiquette on your stationery. If you have a question, leave us a comment and we will do our best to help you find what you need!