I know, wedding invitation etiquette is probably something you never even considered outside of wedding planning! When you said “yes!” to your person, you probably didn’t think planning a wedding would be full of so many rules. I mean, formal events like this are truly another level when it comes to etiquette.
So to help you out, I wanted to answer some of the most common invitation etiquette questions I am asked. Now you’ll know what will be expected of you and you’ll be able to avoid some awkwardness with sticklers!
When should I send my invitations?
Wedding invitations should be sent out 6-8 weeks before your wedding date if you’ve already sent out save the dates. If you didn’t send save the date cards, you may want to send your invitations closer to 3 months in advance of your wedding.
If you’re having a destination wedding or you know many guests will be coming in from out of town, a few weeks earlier is better so they have time to make travel arrangements.
When should my save the dates go out?
If you’re sending save the dates (which I definitely think you should!), you can send them up to a year in advance and no later than 6 months ahead. Basically, you can send them as soon as you know your wedding date and location. This gives your guests plenty of time to make arrangements.
What should I use as my RSVP date?
For RSVPs, you want to strike a balance between giving enough time to respond and not letting your guests forget about getting back to you. So, generally I recommend if you’re sending invites at around 6-8 weeks, to ask for responses about 2-4 weeks before the wedding. Plenty of time for a response and plenty of time to get a head count for your vendors.
What information should I put on the invitation?
Your invitations, as gorgeous as they will be I’m sure, don’t need to be packed with information. In fact, all you need will be: the hosts, the couple (that’s you!), the venue and the start time. Anything more than that can be included on details/enclosure cards or on your wedding website. If you’re struggling with what to write on your invitations, check out my wedding wording guide from the wedding planning resource library!
How many pieces of paper am I sending in this invitation?
I always recommend you send a main invitation, an rsvp card (and envelope) and at least one enclosure card, which will provide supplementary information about accommodations, dress code, parking information and your wedding website. If you have a lot of information, you can include as many cards as you like and leave the rest to your website. This is usually a good balance between too many things to keep track of and a nice robust invitation.
Should single people get a plus-one?
In a word, no — single guests do not require a plus-one. If your guests are not married or in a serious relationship, it’s acceptable to invite them alone. However, you might consider offering plus-ones to guests who might not know many people at your event so they feel more comfortable. This is also nice if you know most of your guests will be coupled up.
If someone comes to my shower should I invite them to the wedding?
Yes! Anyone who was invited to your bridal shower or engagement party should also be invited to the wedding. And everyone invited to the ceremony should be invited to the reception. Otherwise, you’re sending the message that you want their support but you don’t care enough to pay for their plate — not a great look!
Should I invite people I know won’t or can’t come?
If it’s a close family member you want with you but who’s ill or unable to travel, yes! It’s a nice gesture to send them a save the date and invitation and to help them feel more included and know you want them there.
How do we tell our guests the wedding is adults-only?
Adults-only weddings are becoming more and more common — not only can everyone feel free to party, but parents can enjoy a night off as well! It’s a great idea for some couples, but it can be a bit tricky to navigate, especially when it comes to wedding invitation etiquette rules. Here are a few guidelines I like to follow:
- Address your invitations by naming the specific people invited rather than “The Smith Family.” This is usually enough to send the message, but not everyone picks up on it.
- Don’t write it on the invitation card — it’s considered tacky.
- Do include a message on a details card and add it to your website.
Should I put gift information on the invitation?
Kind of like with a no kids policy, it’s considered tacky to include gift registry information on an invitation. You may even want to keep it off of your details cards if your family are particular about that kind of thing. Your wedding website is a great place to include registry information — or you can just leave it to your family and wedding party to spread around.
Hopefully now you feel a bit more comfortable with wedding invitation etiquette and the unspoken rules around how, when and to whom you’ll send your invitations. Yet another wedding planning task to check off your list!