It used to be that there was pretty much just one way to word a wedding invitation. But now, there are so many different people involved and different parties paying for the festivities, that it can be a bit confusing on exactly what you should be putting on the invite. Here you’ll find some basic tips and tricks!
A RUNDOWN OF WHAT YOU MIGHT HAVE
Before the wedding:
- Engagement party invitations
- Save the Date invitations
- Bridal shower invitations
- Bridal shower thank you cards
- Bachelor and bachelorette party invitations
- Rehearsal and rehearsal dinner invitations
- Wedding welcome dinner invitations
The wedding invitation:
- Outer envelope (optional)
- Inner envelope
- Belly band (optional)
- Invitation (be sure to save one for or send one to your photographer!)
- Reception card
- Directions or map if needed
- RSVP card and self-addressed stamped envelope
- Hotel accommodations
At the wedding:
- Ceremony welcome sign
- Escort cards
- Table place cards (optional)
- Table numbers
- Favor tags
After the wedding
- Thank you cards
WHAT TO INCLUDE
This is traditionally the bride’s parents, but it could also be both sets of parents, the parents and the couple, or just the couple.
You’re asking your guest to attend, so make sure they know that!
The traditional format is the bride’s name first (her first and middle name listed), followed by the groom’s name (full name.)
Date and time
Make sure to include the year if needed. Formal invitations spell out the time (three o’clock or half-past four o’clock.)
The full address isn’t needed unless there would be confusion (there are numerous churches with a similar name) or the wedding is at a home. Check your venue location in Google Maps to make sure the directions are accurate. If needed, include a map for guests. At the very least, the venue name along with the city and state should be listed.
If everything is taking place at the same venue, list “reception immediately following.” If the reception is in a separate location, the formal option is to list the information on an additional info card. The casual option is to simply list it below.
You can do this one of two ways. Print a dress code in the lower right-hand corner (black tie, all white, etc.) or let the invitation dictate the dress code. If you have a very luxurious, formal invitation (specialty paper, custom monogram or crest, silk ribbon, etc.) that will set the tone for how your guests should dress.
Whether you want guests to send their reply in the mail or virtually through your website, have a separate card included with your suite directing them on how and when to do this.
“Stationery is the first and last thing guests touch from the save-the-date to the thank you cards, and it’s the best way to communicate who you are and what your wedding will look and feel like,” says Jove Meyer, owner and creative director at Jove Meyer Events.
WHEN TO SEND
For local weddings, start sending your invitations six to eight weeks before the wedding day. For destination weddings, send three months ahead of time.
If you’re planning on sending Save the Dates, these can be sent six to eight months before the wedding. If you’re wondering whether you should send Save the Dates at all, this article might be helpful.
For RSVP deadlines, your caterer and venue will need to have a final headcount about a week or two before the wedding (but be sure to check with them on when they need it!), so make your deadline for guests to respond about two to three weeks before.
If you want to make sure your photographer takes photos of your invitation along with the bridal details, you can send one to them along with having an extra set with you on the getting-ready day.
HOW TO ADDRESS THE INVITATIONS
To a married couple with the same last name:
Mr & Mrs Jonathan Parker or Mr Jonathan Parker and Mrs Alayna Parker
To a married couple with different last names:
Mrs Alayna Doe and Mr Jonathan Parker
To a married couple with one hyphenated last name:
Mr Jonathan Parker and Mrs Alayna Doe-Parker
To an unmarried couple:
Mr Jonathan Parker and Ms Alayna Doe
To a single female:
Ms Alayna Parker or Miss Alayna Parker
To a single male:
Mr Jonathan Parker
To a married couple with one being a doctor:
Doctor Jonathan Parker and Mrs Alayna Parker
To a married couple who are both doctors:
The Doctors Parker or Doctors Jonathan and Alayna Parker
To a married couple with other distinguished titles such as military personnel, judges, reverends, etc.:
The Honorable Alayna Parker and Mr Jonathan Parker
Captains Alayna Parker and Jonathan Parker, US Navy
Whichever half of the couple outranks the other by the use of a title or position goes first, regardless of the gender.
To a family including children:
The Parker Family
For more Wedding Invitation resources, go to: