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Wedding Invitation Etiquette

Special to OneWed by Kara Horner of

Perplexed about wedding invitation etiquette? With so many rules to keep track of, it’s easy to get confused. While invites can be less formal today, here’s a quick list of invitation tips and tricks.

  • Do I need save-the-dates? Send out save-the-dates if you plan on a long engagement (nine months or more), a destination wedding or will invite several out-of-town guests who’ll need to make travel arrangements. Skip save-the-dates if you plan on a short engagement or your wedding date is less than six months away.
  • When should I order invites? A good rule of thumb is to design and order your invitations at least three to six months prior to your wedding date.
  • Order extra envelopes. They’ll come in handy if you make any address or spelling mistakes.
  • What basic info should I include? The hosts’ names (parents, the engaged couple or both, including titles, first, middle and last names), date and time of the ceremony, location city/state, reply cards and the RSVP deadline.
  • Proofread, proofread, proofread before ordering or printing. Have your fiancé or a friend review your invitation as well to help catch any mistakes or omissions you may have missed.
  • How should envelopes be addressed? Address outer envelopes with your guests’ formal titles first and last names (Mr. and Mrs. John Robert Smith). Address inner envelopes with your guests’ titles and last names (Mr. and Mrs. Smith). Then list children’s names by first and last name.
  • Married couples vs. single guests. Address invitations to unmarried couples to both people’s titles, first and last names. For single guests, address their inner envelopes with the person’s title, first and last name and the phrase “and Guest”.
  • Include reply cards, so you can keep track of your guest count. Your RSVP date should be two to three weeks from your wedding date, so you can update your venue on the final headcount beforehand.
  • Make sure to include postage with reply cards (choose Forever stamps, if possible, to avoid unforeseen postal rate increases). Also ensure that your reply envelope size doesn’t require any special extra postage.
  • When should I mail them? Mail out your invitations six to 10 weeks prior to your wedding date. Make sure to weigh your completed invitation beforehand to determine the correct postage.

For some creative save-the-date and invitation ideas, check out these gems from Pinterest.

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