Wedding Invitation Etiquette 101Zoey
First, let’s get the easy questions out of the way. You totally don’t need to send Save the Dates at all – especially if you are still in doubt about your guest list. Believe it or not, some brides even use it as a tactic to deter some guests from attending and to keep the headcount down. Less warning = Estranged Aunt Susan who lives in Boca is that much less likely to make the trip. But if you do decide to send Save the Dates, aim for 6 to 8 months ahead of time, followed by formal wedding invitations three months out from the big day.
How Do I Address My Wedding Invitations?
When in doubt, always lean formal – this is your wedding, not a backyard barbeque, after all. Keep it classic and leave out nicknames or abbreviations. Traditionally, envelopes are addressed the following ways:
- Mr. & Mrs. John Smith (married couple)
- The Future Mr. & Mrs. John Smith (engaged couple)
- Mr. & Mrs. John Smith and Family (married couple with children)
- John Smith & Ms. Jane Doe (unmarried couple)
- John Smith and Guest (single with plus one)
Keep in mind, primarily using the male name is super old-fashioned and traditional – so if you want to change it up and include your female guest names first, we’re all for it!
Pro tip: Hiring someone to address your envelopes in calligraphy is as elegant as it gets, and we love that – but be prepared that a few invites could get lost in the mail. These days, the mail is so automated and computerized that a funky script font (that’s tough to read) could delay your invites…or worse – they could end up in the Post Office black hole forever.
Other Necessary Enclosures
Along with the actual wedding invitation, an RSVP card and smaller pre-stamped and addressed envelope is traditionally included too. Make sure to include the options for dinner entrees if your caterer requires a head count per dish prior. Get even more creative and add a fun section to request a song that you want to get down to on the dance floor.
Most couples also include a card with information about the hotel or other accommodations as well as any day-of logistical details, so that out-of-town guests can get the lay of the land. However, keep in mind that since wedding invitations are typically sent only three months in advance of the wedding, it might be worth considering sending this information out earlier – possibly even with your Save the Dates. Sometimes, hotels will be fully booked before the formal invitations are even mailed, especially in popular wedding destinations or rural venues that don’t have many options for accommodations. Don’t let your guests get stuck in a pickle – let them know where to reserve a room (which is usually free, BTW) way ahead of time.
Should My Single Friends Get a Plus One?
Okay, let’s face it: Weddings are expensive, and cuts will have to be made to your guest list. And most likely, you at least have a few single friends. So should you spend an extra $100+ per plate and allow them to bring a brand new guy from Bumble (that may not even still be around by the time you get back from your honeymoon)?
Here’s our advice: If the single friend in question will be the only guest in a group of friends without a date, you won’t want them ninth wheeling at their table. Or say, for your coworker bestie (who’s never actually met most of your other friends or family) it would be considerate to allow them a guest so that they aren’t alone out on the dance floor. But keep in mind – it’s YOUR day, and you certainly don’t want to walk into a room full of strangers that you’re meeting for the first time at your reception. And there’s nothing wrong with sticking all of your single friends with your fiancé’s single friends together at one table…near the bar.