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Tips and Etiquette

     Invitations
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 tips and etiquette guidelines relating to wedding invitations.

Names and Spelling
  • A wedding invitation is issued by the host(s). The hosts' names should be written out and include middle names and 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. When held at other locations, "the pleasure of your company" is traditionally used.
  • If the bride’s last name is the same as her parents, only her first and middle name are included.
  • The groom’s name should be written out and preceded by his appropriate title.
                     Examples: Mr. Alexander Graham Smith; Doctor Garrett Phillip Hanna


Time and Date
  • Write out the date and year. It is not necessary to use "and" in the year line.
  •                  Example: two thousand 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."
  • The city and state should be written out. If all guests are local, the state may be omitted.
     Respond Card
  • Any of the following abbreviations is 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 respond card and self-addressed, stamped envelope, it is unnecessary to indicate "RSVP" on the invitation itself.
  • Respond 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 prefer replies be sent to an address other than the return address on the envelope, or if you want to include an e-mail address or phone number as alternate RSVP methods, add that information below your RSVP request.
                     Example:     RSVP
                                           1120 Opportunity Drive
                                           Saint Louis, Missouri 63101
                                           or (314) 555-0987


     Reception Card
This enclosure lets guests know the details of your reception and is especially useful when the reception is held at a location other than the ceremony. It is no longer acceptable to invite some guests to the ceremony only. Also, 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," instead of the more vague "… and afterward at the reception."
     Map Card
This enclosure provides a map and driving directions for attending guests. Add some points of interest for a charming and helpful touch (parks, shopping malls, great restaurants, etc.).
     Accommodations Card
This enclosure is used to provide basic information on recommended hotel accommodations. Locate three hotels with varying price ranges near the reception site and include contact information for each.
     Website Card
It is acceptable to put the web address (URL) for your wedding website on your invite, as long as you place it in the lower left corner or other inconspicuous area of the invitation. It is better, however, to avoid a crowded invitation by moving the information to a separate enclosure card. Here you can provide a few details about your site, rather than just the URL.
     At Home Card
This enclosure lets guests know how to contact you and how to address you (hyphenated last name, etc.) after the wedding. It is also acceptable to include your cell phone numbers and e-mail addresses, if you wish.
     Other Enclosures
Often times wedding-related events are planned (rehearsal dinner, pre-wedding golf outing, post-wedding brunch, gift opening, etc.). These events should always be noted on separate cards, never included on the actual wedding invitation.
     Thank You Notes
Use your actual guest list when you start opening gifts; list each gift received next to the giver's name and address. Doing so makes sending thank you notes a breeze!
     Samples of Formal Invitation Wording
Bride’s parents, who are divorced and remarried, host the wedding together:
Mr. and Mrs. Ronan Videla
and
Mr. and Mrs. Michael Andreason
request the honour of your presence
at the marriage of their daughter
Kelly Grace Andreason
and
Mr. Garrett John Hanna
Saturday, the twenty-second of March
two thousand seventeen
at six o’clock
Temple Sinai
Granville, Ohio

Bride’s mother and stepfather host:
Mr. and Mrs. Ronan Videla
request the pleasure of your company
at the marriage of her daughter
Kelly Grace Andreason
to
Mr. Garrett John Hanna
Friday, the seventeenth of May
two thousand sixteen
at seven o’clock
Viansa Winery
25200 Arnold Drive
Sonoma, California

Bride’s only living parent hosts:
Mr. [or Mrs.] Michael Thomas Fitzloff
requests the honour of your presence
at the marriage of his [or her] daughter
Shannon Michelle
to
Lieutenant Roger Stephen Manning, U.S. Navy
Saturday, the seventeenth of May
two thousand sixteen
at two o’clock
New Haven Community Church
New Haven, Georgia

Groom’s parents host:
Mr. and Mrs. George Dempsey
request the honour of your presence
at the marriage of
Miss [or Ms.] Beth Ann Boomgarten
to
their son
Mr. Alexander Graham Dempsey
Friday, the fourteenth of November
two thousand nineteen
at six o’clock
St. Thomas Cathedral
Spokane, Washington

Both bride and groom's parents host:
Mr. and Mrs. Michael Wilfork
and
Captain and Mrs. William James Plett
request the honour of your presence
at the marriage of
Matilda Renee Wilfork
and
Timothy James Plett
Saturday, the twenty-fifth of August
two thousand seventeen
at four o’clock
St. James Catholic Church
Grand Rapids, Michigan

Bride's parents host, but include groom's parents' names:
Mr. and Mrs. Isaac Jeremiah Crenshaw
request the honour of your presence
at the marriage of their daughter
Hillary Jo
and
Mr. Anthony Patrick Ames
son of
Captain and Mrs. Patrick George Ames
Saturday, the twenty-fifth of August
two thousand seventeen
at four o’clock
St. James Catholic Church
Grand Rapids, Michigan

Bride and groom host:
Miss [or Ms.] Elizabeth Marie Carrington
and
Mr. Richard James Handlin
request the honour of your presence
at their marriage
Saturday, the tenth of July
two thousand seventeen
at half after four o’clock
First Congregational Church
Richmond, Virginia

The honour of your presence
is requested
at the marriage of
Miss [or Ms]. Elizabeth Marie Carrington
to
Mr. Richard James Handlin
Saturday, the tenth of July
two thousand seventeen
at half after four o’clock
First Congregational Church
Richmond, Virginia

The families host together:
Together with their families
Miss Macey Leigh Kirkland
and
Mr. Will Ronald Germundson
request the honour of your presence
at their marriage
Saturday, the tenth of July
two thousand seventeen
at half after four o’clock
First Congregational Church
Richmond, Virginia

Bride’s other family members host:
Mr. Eric Henry Evans
requests the pleasure of your company
at the marriage of his sister
Lisa Marie
to
Mr. Ian John Wyskowski
Saturday, the fourth of June
two thousand seventeen
at one o’clock
The Ritz-Carlton
St. Louis, Missouri

Mr. and Mrs. Charles Elliott
request the pleasure of your company
at the marriage of their niece
Miss [or Ms.] Samantha Jane Richards
to
Mr. Scott Randolph Markham
Saturday, the fourth of June
two thousand seventeen
at one o’clock
The Ritz-Carlton
St. Louis, Missouri

Tips
  • Jewish wedding invitation wording differs only in that "and" is used instead of "to" between the bride and groom’s names.
  • Invitations may include "and your participation in the offering of a Nuptial Mass" beneath the groom’s name, when a Roman Catholic mass is being celebrated as part of the ceremony.
  • Allow plenty of time to carefully address, assemble, and mail your invitations.
  • Organize your master guest list in a functional form (file cards, computer database, work sheet.)
  • Using your finalized guest list, stay organized by developing a system for addressing and mailing your invitations.
  • Create an assembly line of sorts by arranging each piece that goes into an invitation in the order they will be picked up, assembled, and inserted into the envelope.
  • If needed, enlist the help of family, bridal attendants, or friends to help with the assembly.
  • Include enclosures such as map cards and accommodation cards for out-of-town guests.
  • Never include registry or gift information with (or on) your invitation. If someone asks, you, your family, bridal attendants, and friends can let them know by word of mouth.
  • Attire or dress code should not be mentioned on the wedding invitation. You may include "Black tie" in the lower right on a reception invitation, if necessary.
     The Envelopes
Inner Envelopes
  • Inner envelopes bear the title and last names of the specific people invited. It is acceptable to write familiar names for close family members.
                    Examples:     Mr. and Mrs. Sonnek
                                         Aunt Mary and Uncle Phil
  • The names of children who are 18 years old and younger should be written on separate lines below their parents' names.
                    Example:      Mr. and Mrs. Sonnek
                                        Leah Sonnek
                                        Logan Sonnek
  • Children 19 years old or older who still live at home with their parents should receive their own invitation.
  • If inner envelopes are not being used, the children’s names are written on the outer envelope below the names of their parents.

Outer Envelopes
  • Outer envelopes should be addressed conventionally using titles and full names (first, middle, and last).
  • Middle initials aren’t used, so either write out middle names (if known), or omit them.
  • All titles should be written out, except "Mr." and "Mrs."
  • All other words should be written out (Street, Saint, Post Office Box, North, Apartment, etc.). House numbers under twenty should be written out, as well.
  • Proper etiquette indicates to write out the state name; however, the two-letter postal code abbreviation is also acceptable when dealing with limited space.
     Samples of Envelope Addressing
Married Couple
  • Always addressed to both members of a married couple.
                    Example:    Mr. and Mrs. José Anthony Angelil
                                      Fourteen MacArthur Way
                                      South Saint Paul, Minnesota 55075

Unmarried Couple – Living Together
  • Addressed to both members of an unmarried couple who live at the same address.
                    Example:   Ms. Amelia Redding and Mr. Jeffrey Burton
                                     25 Xavier Boulevard
                                     South Saint Paul, Minnesota 55075

Married Couple – Professional Titles
  • If the woman uses her husband’s name socially:
                    Example:    Doctor Kenya Boudin and Mr. Carter Boudin
  • If the woman uses her maiden name both professionally and socially:
                    Example:    Doctor Kenya Willaree and Mr. Carter Boudin
  • If both are professionals:
                    Examples:   Doctors Kenya and Carter Boudin

Including a Guest
  • If using inner and outer envelopes:
       - Outer envelope reads: Mr. Stephen Richard Humphries
       - Inner envelope reads: Mr. Stephen Richard Humphries and Guest
  • If you’re only using one envelope, include a short note with your invitation.
                    Example: Dear Stephen, You are welcome to bring a guest to the wedding. Please let me know.
                                   Regards, Michelle.
    (If time allows and Stephen supplies the information, you can send his guest an invitation, too.)
     Assembling the Envelopes
  • Place any enclosure cards on top of the invitation.
  • When using inner and outer envelopes, insert the invitation (left edge first) into the inner envelope so that when the envelope flap is opened you see the printed side of the invitation.
  • Any enclosure cards are placed on top of the invitation in order of size with the smallest on top.
  • The inner envelope is then sealed and placed into the outer envelope so that when the outer envelope flap is lifted, the names are visible.

- When two envelopes are used, insert the invitation (folded edge first for a folded invitation, left edge for a single card invitation), so that when the envelope flap is opened, you see the printed side of the invitation.
- When there are enclosure cards, they are placed on top of the invitation, printed sides up, in size order with the smallest on top. Again, when the flap is opened, the printed side should be visible. If the invitation is folded, insertions are stacked in size order – smallest on top – but within the fold.
- The inner envelope is then sealed and placed in the outer envelope, so when the outer envelope flap is lifted, the name(s) of the guest(s) is visible.
     Tips
  • Use the names of all guests whenever possible. Using "and guest" just isn't as warm and friendly.
  • Get names, titles, and addresses correct when addressing. It's impressive and flattering! When in doubt, ask.
  • Invitation envelopes should always be handwritten. Printed labels are not acceptable. Consider hiring a calligrapher or enlisting the help of others if you feel overwhelmed.
  • Take an assembled invitation to the post office and have it weighed to ensure proper postage. If invitations vary (e.g., one for local guests, another for out-of-town guests) have each variation weighed.
  • Before sealing the outer envelope, make absolutely sure that the names on the inner and outer envelopes match.
  • Mail all invitations at the same time. Don't wait to see how many will be attending from the first mailing before sending another. Simply estimate that 10 to 20 percent of invited guests will send regrets; doing this is so much better than using a standby guest list.
 
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