As many of you may know, we also offer full-service wedding invitation and stationary design services here at Charleston Street! And while we have always offered these services, we have recently expanded the lines we carry to include William Arthur, Vera Wang, Arzeberger, Crane & Co., & Page Stationary. This way we can cater to a variety of styles and price points to find the perfect solution for every bride.
We love getting the opportunity to design invitations with our clients as it allows us to continue the event design across all mediums. But our clients love it because it gives them the opportunity to ask us all of those pesky etiquette questions that not everyone knows the answers to! So today we thought we would share our top 10 most frequently asked (and answered!) wedding invitation etiquette questions and tips!
1. When do we send out our invitations?
Really the first question you need to ask before you ask the above is when do you need to send out save-the-dates if you are doing so. Save-the-dates can be sent out anywhere from six to eight months in advanced. Then traditionally, the actual invitation is sent out six to eight weeks before the wedding date. If you are doing a destination wedding, then we suggest sending the invites out three months in advanced to allow for plenty of time for guests to make their travel arrangements.
2. When should our RSVP deadline be?
We recommend making the RSVP deadline date two to three weeks before the wedding date. This gives you enough time to give numbers to caterer, rental companies, etc. as well as finalize your seating chart if you plan on having a seated dinner.
3. Spell everything out!
Street addresses, names, even "post office box" should all be spelled out. Additionally, no abbreviations for states, city names, and numbers smaller than 20. However "Mr. and Mrs." can be abbreviated if you choose to do so.
4. Where do I put my registry information on the invitation?
It is actually considered to be impolite to include your registry information on your save-the-date or wedding invitation as it implies that you are asking for gifts. We recommend to our couples that they tell close friends and family where they are registered and then let them fill in the rest of your guests. Alternatively, if you have a wedding website you could include that information there.
5. Where do I include my wedding website information?
Speaking of which, where should you include your wedding website info? Having a wedding website is especially useful if you are having a destination wedding or lots of out-of-town guests. It's a quick and easy way to get information out there about hotel blocks, welcome party details, and as we mentioned above, wedding registry info! We recommend if you have a website, to include that information on your save-the-date. If you're not doing save-the-dates, you could also print that information on a small card that can be inserted into your wedding invitation suite.
6. How can we tell our guests what our dress-code will be?
First and foremost, your wedding invitation design will signal to your guests what they can expect. A traditional invitation with letterpress and calligraphy can indicate a more formal affair, whereas a more fun, colorful invitation will show guests the event will be more casual. However the easiest way to let your guests know is by indicating on the reception card, "black tie" "cocktail attire" or "casual attire."
7. Make sure to address your guests properly!
Address married couples as "Mr. and Mrs.," followed by the husband's first and last name (you can list both full names if you want). When a woman keeps her maiden name, list the names in alphabetical order. For an unmarried couple who live together, write their names on two separate lines. If the wife is a doctor, her full name comes first, "Doctor Jones and Mr. John Smith." When the husband is a doctor, the title should say "Doctor and Mrs." and if both husband and wife are doctors, the envelope should read "Drs. Sarah and John Smith." A single woman should be addressed as "Miss" if she is under 21, "Ms" if she is over.
8. Does every guest need a plus-one?
No, unless the guest is married or in a serious relationship, you do not need to give them a plus-one. Most of your guests will realize this if you address their invitation without the customary "and guest." If they still RSVP with two guests, just give them a quick phone call and explain that you are trying to keep your wedding guest list to close family and friends. However we do recommend that if most of your guests will be coupled up, it is considerate to extend your single friends a plus-one.
9. We are having a no-kids wedding, how do we tell this to our guests politely?
As we mentioned above, the most effective way to ensure your guests know who to bring is to address your invitations correctly by specifying each name. Again, if you still find some loved ones are RSVPing with more than expected, give them a call and explain the situation to them.
10. Where does the return address go on the envelope?
Traditionally the return address is placed on the back flap of the envelope, addressed to the person who is considered to be the wedding's "host." That could be either you or your parents, but whoever is hosting is typically responsible for the response cards. Friendly reminder that the RSVP card envelope should have this information printed on it as well, and don't forgot to include postage!
We hope these tips help answer some of your questions that you've always wondered but have been too afraid to ask! One final piece of advice, be prompt with your thank you notes!
Infographic Image by Lauren Carnes Photography