5 May

Wedding Invitation Etiquette Guide

From ‘save the dates’ to invitations, and even the envelopes themselves, your wedding stationary is the first glimpse your guests will have into the type of wedding you are having – setting the mood for the wedding itself and establishing your style right from the start. We know, sending invitations can be a lot of pressure! We hear it often, especially from couples that aren’t sure if they want to invite children or from those couples that want to offer a choice of entree. We hope this short guide helps you better understand the different stationary pieces that are typically used for invitations and just as important – when to send them.

When to Send


Invitations should be sent six to eight weeks before the wedding. Don’t forget to factor postage into your wedding budget! It’s one of the overlooked costs in most cases. Keep in mind, your RSVP date should give you ample time to reflect on your RSVPs and create a seating chart prior to your reception. Your caterer will need some lead time as well to gather your final numbers, especially when offering a choice of meal. They will need to know exactly how many beef and how many chicken are needed.

‘Save the Dates’ are becoming more common, especially when planning summer weddings when weekends tend to book up fast and guests might have several weddings to attend. Typically these are sent out 6-8 months prior to the wedding, depending on when you get engaged. This is a great way to make use of your engagement photos if you are taking any!

Thank you cards should be hand-written and sent within 2 months following your wedding. It might seem like a daunting task, but if you can commit to writing a few thank you cards every day following your wedding you’ll have them done in no time.

What to Send


Save the Dates

Think of yours ave the dates as a sneak peak at your wedding or even as an engagement announcement – it’s the first look! It is good to choose a design that will match your wedding invitation, so when guests receive the invitation they’ll know immediately who it is for. Always let your guests know that a formal invitation will follow, and include where the wedding will be located in case travel is involved.

The Envelope

Within an envelope should be the main wedding invitation, response card and any enclosure cards you  may include such as hotel accommodations, shuttle information, and menu selections. We cannot stress this enough: be specific as to who is invited on the envelope. If kids are welcome, add their names to the address or include ‘and Family’ on the address line. If the recipient is allowed a plus one, write their name plus ‘and Guest’.  No one wants stress on their wedding day by dealing with uninvited guests.

The Invitation

The invitation covers who’s hosting and who is getting married, as well as date, time and location of both the ceremony and reception. Trying to fit in RSVP information can be very messy depending on your design, so it is best to keep text to a minimum. This is where enclosure cards become handy.



Your RSVP should always include a ‘reply by’ date allowing enough time to get you a final head count for your caterer and to finalize your seating chart. It is suggested 3 to 4 weeks will provide a good cushion, but if you want some extra time to hunt down responses from those procrastinators who haven’t replied, consider bumping your ‘reply by’ date up a week. This is especially helpful if you have to print seating cards based on a guest’s menu selection or escort cards if you are not hand writing them.

If your invitation is addressed to multiple people, like a family, you may want to include a line for the number of people attending. If offering a choice of entree, include an RSVP for each invitee or a line to initial who is having what to ensure there are no mix ups.

Enclosure Cards

Enclosure cards provide your guests with additional wedding day details such as location, directions, accommodation details and more. Even if your wedding is being held locally within a metropolitan area, some guests would appreciate the suggestion of nearby hotels that they can stay the night so they don’t need to drive home after enjoying themselves on libations or after having danced until they cannot stand. Enclosure card designs are generally similar to your RSVP cards to ensure consistency.

Thank You Cards

Saying thank you to your friends and family who attend your wedding is perhaps one of the most important details. Don’t wait to order your thank you cards till after the occasion because you might end up procrastinating and forget. Consider ordering them with your wedding invitations so you have them on hand to begin writing as soon as your wedding festivities and honeymoon wind down.


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