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  • Writer's pictureAngie Smythe

Etiquette Guidelines for Wedding Invitations

Updated: Mar 2, 2020

When it comes to formal, traditional wedding invitations, there are some rules to follow. Formal invitation etiquette will tell the story of your wedding, so it’s important to get it right, after all it is the first impression.

Here are a few tips to help you along the way.

1. Check the spelling.

Spelling mistakes are the most common mistake. It’s the couple’s responsibility to check for all spelling, such as the spelling of names, family member names, guests as well as pertinent information like date, time and location.

2. List the bride’s name first—unless there are two grooms.

The bride’s name should be positioned first unless there are two grooms, in that case the choice is yours as to who is listed first. This tradition stems from when the bride’s family hosted the wedding. While this tradition has certainly changed over time it’s still standard for the bride to be first on the invitation.

3. Do not include the word “and” in the year or “at” before a time.

These are very common grammar mistakes. Years are properly written as “two thousand nineteen.” Do not include “at” before a time. The ceremony  time should be written “six o’clock in the evening”.

4. Listing the venue location.

The most proper way to write a venue location is to only include the city and state.

5. Spell out numbers.

If proper etiquette is your goal, always spell out numbers. Writing “6:00 PM” is improper, it should always be written as six o’clock in the evening. Please note that anything before 6pm is considered afternoon, after 6pm is evening.

6. When to mail the invitations.

Save the Dates typically go out six to eight months before the wedding. If it’s a destination or many of your guests are traveling from afar- more time is better. As far as invitations go, mail them six to eight weeks prior to the wedding date with the R.S.V.P. request of three to four weeks prior to the event.

7. How to address not having children at your wedding.

Do not write “No Children”, it will be implied by the names on the envelope. Also never include registry information, this will be passed my word of mouth or of course you can add this to your wedding website. This also should not be included on your save-the-date, it is considered impolite.

8. More on addressing.

Your guests’ entire names are to be written on the envelope. Address married couples as “Mr. and Mrs. followed by the husband’s first name and last name. If a woman keeps her maiden name, the names are to be written alphabetically: Ms. Angie Pedzich and Mr. Stewart Smythe. For an unmarried couple list each name on a separate line.

9.Thank you notes.

Show your appreciation immediately. Write your thank you notes within two weeks of receiving the gift. This is important.

10.Your wedding website details.

This should be included on your save-the-date. If you skip that step you can also add an insert card with the invitation. It should not be printed on the invitation.

11.Dress code.

The easiest way to include the proper dress code for your event is to list it in the lower right-hand corner ie. Black Tie, Cocktail Attire, Resort Casual, etc.

12. Return Address.

It is customary for the return address to be listed on the back flap of the envelope, this should be the address of the person responsible for collecting the R.S.V.P’s. The R.S.V.P envelope should also be addressed the same with postage.

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