Answers to Your Etiquette Questions

 

 

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 
                                     28 East Tulane Road

                                     Columbus, Ohio  43202
                                       or (614) 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 Wedding Invitation Wording

 

These days, many different people-including the bride and groom - can (and do) host the wedding and issue the invitation. Today's complex family structures (parents are divorced, widowed, remarried, and so on) only further complicate matters when it comes to invitation wording. It's also important that the content of your invitation is clearly organized. It should give guests the following detail: who, what, when, and where.

 

Brides parents are hosting:

Mr. and Mrs. Donald Marks
request the honour of your presence
at the marriage of their daughter
Ilene Michelle
to
James Albert Michaels
Sunday, the fourth of November
Two thousand and sixteen
At half after six o'clock
Jefferson Country Club

Columbus, Ohio
Reception immediately following

 

 

Bride’s parents, who are divorced and remarried, host the wedding together:

Mr. and Mrs. Ronan Fleischer

and

Mr. and Mrs. Michael Goldberg

request the honour of your presence

at the marriage of their daughter

Kelly Grace

and

Mr. Edward Michael Goldberg

Saturday, the twenty-second of March

two thousand seventeen

at six o’clock

Temple Isreal

5419 East Broad Street

Columbus, Ohio


Bride’s mother and stepfather host:

Mr. and Mrs. Robert Buchenberg

request the pleasure of your company

at the marriage of her daughter

Kelly Grace Buchenberg

to

Mr. Garrett John Hanna

Friday, the seventeenth of May

two thousand sixteen

at seven o’clock in the evening

Trinity United Methodist Church

1581 Cambridge Boulevard

Columbus, Ohio


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 in the afternoon

Jersey Baptist Church

13260 Morse Road

Pataskala, Ohio


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 in the evening

Northwest Chapel Grace Brethren Church

6700 Rings Road

Dublin, Ohio

 

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 in the afternoon

The Palm House

Franklin Park Conservatory

1777 East Broad Street

Columbus, Ohio


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 in the afternoon

Columbus Art Museum

480 East Broad Street

Columbus, Ohio


Bride and groom host:

Miss [or Ms.] Kara Armae Dinn

and

Mr. John David Kneidel

request the honour of your presence

at their marriage

Saturday, the tenth of July

two thousand seventeen

at half after four o’clock

The Park of Roses

Clintonville, Ohio

 

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 past four o’clock in the afternoon

Christ Lutheran Church

2314 East Main Street

Bexley, Ohio


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 six o’clock in the evening

The Germania Sing and Sport Society

543 South Front Street

Columbus, Ohio

Reception and dinner immediately following


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 in the afternoon

home of Janet and Jeffrey Evans

19 Blossom Road

Pataskala, Ohio

 

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 in the afternoon

Grove City Church of the Nazarene

4770 Hoover Road

Grove City, Ohio


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 Humphries
       - Inner envelope reads: Mr. 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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