Wedding Invitations 101 – Etiquette

Custom Stationary by Erika's Elegance

As a planner, it is my responsibility to walk my clients through the entire process of planning their weddings or event and to provide them with the proper etiquette for every aspect of their big day.  During the planning process you will be faced with decisions on what to include at your wedding ceremony through the timeline of the reception traditions.  I get many questions in the area of  wedding invitations, particularly focusing on what should or should not be included on an invitation.  So what is right or wrong when it comes to invitations?

 Should invitations be hand delivered?

Historically this has been a big no-no.  Mailing some and delivering others is not proper etiquette; take the time to mail them all.  One time hand delivery would be okay if it fits within your overall theme.  If you are having a princess theme and you want to invite all of your guest to be a part of your royal court you could have the Queen’s men dress up and hand deliver a scroll of glass slipper inviting all of your guest to the grand event.  Then and only then would hand delivery be okay.

Can you put “Wishing Well Wedding” on your wedding invitation?

Wishing well weddings have gained notoriety over the past few years.  Many couples are already established and often have most of the items they need for the home.  A wishing well wedding is where your guest brings money versus a gift.   I’m sure we all have seen “Wishing Well Wedding” on an invitation we’ve received before, however this is not proper etiquette.  By putting this information on the invite, you are softly asking your guest for money. Remember you are inviting people to be “your guest” for the wedding and to help you celebrate the union.  Most guest will be honored that they are invited and will want to provide a gift for you, however, they should not feel obligated.

Can I include wedding registry information on the invitation?

Including wedding registry information on the invite is also not proper etiquette because it can appear that you are asking your guests for gifts.  A great way to get this information out is by telling your family and friends, as well as, putting the information on your website.

Is it okay to add “and guest” on your invite?

You should correctly address your invite by including all the names of the guests invited.  This will also help with having an adult only reception.  If someone sends back the RSVP with their kids names then you can call and let them know that you’re having an adult only reception and hope they can still come because you really want them to be a part of your special day.  Also, if there are a lot of kids, you may consider hiring a babysitting service which would be a nice gesture.

Can I have two guest lists? 

You should invite all your guest at the same time.  You never want to get into a situation where one guest is on the first list and another guest is on the second list and they find out they received invitations at different times, like weeks apart.  This could create hurt feelings and this is stress that you don’t want to add for yourself.  At times it may seem like a daunting task, but you can finalize your list.  I often work with my clients and provide recommendations on how to get to a final guest list.  Keep in mind that roughly 10-20 percent invited guest respond with regrets.

There are many etiquette issues that will pop up during your planning process.  These are a few that I frequently address with my clients.  At the end of the day I tell all of my clients that it’s their wedding day, but they have entrusted me to ensure that their wedding is planned correctly.

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We’ll be visiting more about invitations in upcoming posts.  Stay tuned….

Have a great day!




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