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Everything You Need to Know About Wedding Invite Etiquette

on May 3, 2015 with 7 and 0 in category Blog tagged as , , ,
Home > Blog > Blog > Everything You Need to Know About Wedding Invite Etiquette

Designing your wedding invitations is a super exciting time in the lead up to your big day. Seeing the details of your wedding in black and white can really make the whole thing seem a little more real.  It’s also lots of fun to sit down with your future husband or wife and start putting invites into envelopes, slapping on the stamps and sending them off to your friends and family knowing that in a few weeks’ time, you’ll be saying ‘I do’.

It can also be a confusing process.  It’s quite likely that lots of questions will be going through your mind, such as; ‘Should we use formal language? Should we say the bride’s parents request the pleasure of the guests company or should we word it from us as a couple? When do we send them out?  Do we need Save the Date Cards beforehand? Do we need to include plus ones for everyone? How do we broach the subject of not inviting children? Do we mention gifts or registries and how to we get our dress code across?’

Yes, invites can be minefield, but thankfully with our years of planning and co-ordinating wedding’s we’ve got the answers to all your most important invitation questions. If you’d like to get in touch about how we can help plan your special day, then please contact us

Layout and Wording

The wording of you invitation should reflect you both as a couple. The wording will also set the tone for the day, so for example if you’re having a black tie wedding with all the trimmings, your wording will likely be more formal in nature and begin with something like; the bride’s parents (Mr & Mrs x) ‘request the honour of your presence at the marriage of their daughter,’ and so on. However if you’re having a more laid back wedding, then something like; ‘ the bride and groom [names]  would love you to join them in celebrating their wedding.’ Also bear in mind, that invitation wording should reflect who is hosting the wedding, so think about using something like, ‘the bride and groom, together with their parents’, as an opener.

The basic information an invitation should include is; the date, time, name and location of the ceremony and the reception, as well as the RSVP information.

Oh and top tip – make sure to number the back of wedding RSVPs to correspond with guests. That way, you can figure out which cards might be missing and decipher any difficult-to-read responses.


Generally speaking, wedding invitations are sent out around 6-8 weeks before the big day, but if you are worried that some guests may on their summer holidays for example, of if you’re tying the knot around Christmas, or you’re getting married aboard, then it’s good practice to send out a Save the Date well in advance of the wedding. In fact, you could send these out shortly after you set your date, that way your guests can keep the day firmly in their diaries.  Don’t forget to set the RSVP date well in advance of when you’ve to give final numbers to your venue.  4 weeks is a good option as it gives you plenty of time.

Plus Ones

Plus ones can be tricky and really depend on the numbers for your wedding. You need to decide in advance what you’re going to do regarding plus ones. Leaving it open or ambiguous on the invite is asking for trouble. So consider a few things first. For example, if you’re inviting someone who doesn’t know anyone else at the wedding, then it’s a nice gesture to allow them to bring a friend along. Similarly you need to decide if your single friend who doesn’t have a steady partner is allowed to bring a date along.  The main thing is to decide in advance and write the names of each guest clearly on the invite.  Most guests will understand that if ‘plus one’ or another name is not on the invitation, then it means just they are invited.


Again, this can be a prickly area and some couples are worried they might end up offending their family or friends. Whether or not you want children at your wedding is a very personal choice and one you need to both decide on in advance.  If you’ve made the decision not to have children at your wedding for example, then you need to get that across to you guests in the kindest possible day.  Everyone is different, indeed some parents might jump at the chance for a night or weekend away by themselves, while others might be a little taken aback that their children aren’t invited.

It is probably best to have a conversation with those concerned before you send out the invites and explain politely that you’ve decided to have a grown-ups only reception.  Writing ‘no children’ on your invitation is a little harsh and generally speaking, if you just write the names of those who are invited i.e just the parents, then it should get the message across.  Similarly if you are inviting the kids, then make sure to name them on the invite.

Dress Codes and Gifts

It is absolutely fine to write your dress code on your invitation. If you’ve decided on black tie, then indeed it’s important to convey this to your guests. Equally, if you want to ensure people know they can be more relaxed in their dress, then feel free to say the dress code is casual. Dress codes can also be really helpful if you’re getting married abroad or are having a different sort of wedding such as a glamping themed event.

These days most people give money as a wedding gift, however if you do decide to use a wedding registry then make sure to include this information on your invitation.


Bear in mind it’s not just the ceremony and reception details you need to include in your invitation. You need to have a separate RSVP card which guests must return. It’s up to you whether or not you decide to provide stamped RSVP cards. There is of course a cost implication, but on the plus side you’ll make it much easier for the guests to reply – they’ll simply have to throw it in the letterbox instead of searching for a stamp and trust us, when you’re getting close to your RSVP date and tearing you hair out chasing up replies, anything that helps speed up the process is a good thing.

If you’re embracing technology and are forgoing the traditional RSVP cards in favour of an email address, then make sure the guests know this is the only way they can RSVP.

Also you might want to include a card with directions for the ceremony venue and reception venue, as well as accommodation details or a list of B&B’s nearby. And if you’re having a BBQ or something the day after the wedding you might want to give a rundown of this as well.


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