Invitation Tips and Etiquette

Wedding invitations not only provide the important details of the special day, they also give guests their first glimpse of the style, tone, and formality of the wedding that is planned. Following are some invitation tips and etiquette guidelines relating to wedding invitations.  Remember that these are just guidelines and, especially with the relatively new territory of same-sex weddings, feel free to make adjustments to suit your needs.  If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Ordering and Mailing
Names and Spelling
Times and Dates
Response Cards
Reception Cards
Other Enclosure Cards

Ordering and Mailing

  • Generally, it is recommended to order wedding invitations 4-6 months prior to the wedding. That will give you and us plenty of time for finalizing designs, printing/production, shipping, assembly, addressing and mailing. It also gives us “worst case scenario” time, in case of any unforeseen delays or issues that need to be addressed.
  • Invitations should generally be mailed 6-8 weeks before the wedding. You may want to send them even earlier in the case of a destination wedding, holiday wedding or if guests will need to make travel/work arrangements far in advance.

Names and Spelling

  • A wedding invitation is issued by the host(s).  The hosts’ names should be written out and include titles.
  • With the exception of Mr. and Mrs., all titles should be written out, unless the name is too long to fit on one line.
    Examples: Doctor and Mrs. Albert George Ness; Sergeant and Mrs. James Lee Fevre
  • When the wedding is being held in a place of worship, “the honour of your presence” phrase is used.  The American spelling of “honor” can also be used.  When held at other locations, “the pleasure of your company” is traditionally used.
  • If the parents of the brides/grooms are included on the invitation, and their last name(s) is the same as their parents, only their first and middle name need to be included.
    Mr. and Mrs. Robert Wallace
    request the honour of your presence
    at the marriage of their daughter
    Sarah Jane
    Antonio Carlos Ramirez
    on Saturday…[rest of invitation]

Times and Dates

  • Write out the date and year. It is not necessary to use “and” in the year line.
    Example: two thousand and seventeen; two thousand twenty-three
  • Capitalize the day of the week and the month, but not the year.
  • The phrase “half after” should be used when indicating time, rather than “half past” or “-thirty.”
  • It is not necessary to use the phrases “in the afternoon” and “in the evening.”  If they are used, any time before 6:00 p.m. is considered “afternoon”, any time after 6:00 p.m. is considered “evening.”
  • The city and state should be written out. If all guests are local, the state may be omitted. Zip codes are not included.

Response Cards

  • Response cards are essential for just about every wedding.  They should be as functional as possible.  Some things you may want to include are meal choices, # of adults vs. # of children, song requests, etc.
  • We usually recommend setting your “respond by” date approximately 1 week before your caterer/hall needs their final count.  This will give you time to make phone calls to people who may have forgotten to send their cards back and get an accurate count.
  • Any of the following abbreviations are acceptable: RSVP, R.S.V.P., r.s.v.p., R.s.v.p.
  • Writing out the request is also acceptable.
    Examples: The favour of a reply is requested; Please respond on or before
  • If you’re enclosing a printed response card and self-addressed, stamped envelope, it is unnecessary to indicate “RSVP” on the invitation itself.
  • Response cards keep wedding invitations neat and uncluttered. Refrain from putting RSVP requests on wedding invitations, but if you must, have it printed in the lower left corner of the invite.
  • If you want to include an e-mail address or phone number as alternate RSVP methods, add that information below your RSVP request.

Reception Cards

  • Reception cards let guests know the details of your reception and is especially useful when the reception is held at a location other than the ceremony.
  • If the ceremony and reception are to be held at the same place, you can skip the reception card and put “Reception to follow” at the bottom of the invitation itself.
  • If your event will not include a full meal, it is courteous to inform your guests with phrasing such as “… and afterward for light hors d’oeuvres and cocktails.”
  • If you are not inviting children to the reception, it is traditionally considered poor etiquette to mention it on the invitation and should be handled instead by addressing the envelope to the adults only.  If you feel the need to mention it in the invitation, do so by specifying “adult reception” on the reception card.

Other Enclosure Cards:

  • Accommodations Cards – This enclosure is used to provide basic information on recommended hotel accommodations. Locate hotels with varying price ranges near the reception site and include contact information for each.  If you have a block of rooms reserved at a specific hotel, include the address, phone number, date they need to reserve by and any special codes they need to mention for the special rate.
  • Info Cards – If you have any other important information that your guests will need to know, you can include an information card. This might include information about parking, bad weather plans for outdoor weddings, other wedding events like brunches or cocktail parties.
  • Map Cards – This enclosure provides a map and driving directions for attending guests.  With the widespread use of GPS, sites like Google Maps and Mapquest, and other navigation systems, map cards are becoming less common.  They can be helpful for instances when wedding locations may not have a true physical address.  We have run into this at some parks, locations on college campuses, etc.   Feel free to add some points of interest for a charming and helpful touch (parks, shopping malls, great restaurants, etc.).
  • Registry Information – Registry information should not be included in a formal wedding invitation. According to traditional etiquette, you don’t want it to seem as if your guests are required to bring a gift. It is better to include registry information on wedding websites, shower invitations or let people know via word of mouth.