Wedding Invitation Etiquette
The deeper you descend into wedding planning land, the more
you come to realize that certain things are expected
of you. For example, it's expected that you'll take
your husband's name. It's expected that your bridesmaids
will wear matching dresses. It's expected that you'll
serve liquor to your guests. At Weddings That Work, we like
to think that you have the right to do things your way at
your wedding, and if that means bucking tradition (and possibly
even saving a few bucks in the meantime), you should go for
it. But for those of you who prefer to do things the old-fashioned
way, here are some tips on traditional wedding invitation
The idea behind this custom is that including an outer envelope
ensures that every guest will receive a pristine envelope
for their wedding invitation, regardless of how tattered the
exterior envelope may have become in transit. Keep in mind
that including two envelopes will increase paper costs, calligraphy
costs (if you use a calligrapher), and maybe postage costs.
It's also a wee bit wasteful. The good news is, it's becoming
more and more common and acceptable to forego the two-envelope
Social and Professional Titles
Always include titles such as "Doctor" and "Lieutenant"
and spell them out completely. Tradition holds that you should
also include titles such as "Mr." and "Mrs."
before each name.
Formal invitations: Mr. and Mrs. Frederick Jones
Informal invitations: Mr. Frederick and Mrs. Sally Jones
If the wife has kept her maiden name, her name should come
first and be joined with her husband's name with the word
Ms. Sally Holden and Mr. Frederick Jones
For unwed couples, you can forego the "and" and
include each name on its own line.
Ms. Susana Tipsett
Mr. Declan Lennon
In both recipient and return addresses, all words should be
spelled out, including "Street," "North,"
"Apartment," "Post Office Box." This goes
for state names, as well. If you give your envelopes to a
professional calligrapher, be sure to provide a neatly printed
list of all addresses written exactly as they should appear
on the wedding invitations. It's best not to assume that even
a professional wedding calligrapher will follow proper addressing
Tip: If your desired guest list exceeds
the wedding or reception venue's maximum capacity, relegate
the less crucial people to a "B" list. Send out
the invitations to the rest of the invitees a little earlier
than usual (ten weeks before the wedding date as opposed to
eight weeks ahead of time). You may find that within the next
two to three weeks enough people have RSVPed "no"
that you'll be able to send out the remaining invitations.
If you decide to do this, remember to have all envelopes addressed
at the same time so that your "B" list invites are
ready to go out as soon as you know you can send them.